Home Operating Systems Windows Vista

How do I run sfc /scannow to check system files ?

by KenB

If sfc /scannow is used at the command prompt it will check on the Windows System Files.

It also checks the Dynamic Link Library ( .dll )
It can correct corrupt / missing / changed System Files.

This is useful for correcting problems with the system but be aware that any changes you have made to default system settings [ in Explorer.exe for instance ] will revert to the default settings.


For VISTA and Win7 the method is the same:

Start > Run ……..type in …..cmd …….DO NOT hit ENTER at this point

NOTE – XP is different. After typing cmd simply hit ENTER to get to the command prompt.

Now right click on ……cmd.exe ……that appears at the top of the panel on the left of your screen.

Click on Run as Administrator

Win 8 and 8.1 users would need to open the SEARCH option > type “cmd” > right click on “Command Prompt” and click on “Run as Administrator

At the prompt type sfc /scannow NOTE – there is a space after “sfc”

[This is the same for all systems]

Run SFC /scannow

The scan will take a little while to complete.

run sfc /scannow  2


If the scan did not fix all problem files then run it again.


It is possible to scan the system without making changes.
This option will just verify the files and will not correct any errors found.

If you want to do this type in – sfc /verifyonly > ENTER


How to see the sfc scan results.

To do this you will need to open an Elevated Command Prompt [ Run as Administrator ]
XP users just need to use the cmd > ENTER method.

The command below needs to be copied and pasted at the command prompt:

findstr /c:”[SR]” %windir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log >”%userprofile%\Desktop\sfclog.txt

The normal Paste options ( CTRL + V ) may not work at the command prompt.

There is a small black icon in the top left corner of the screen:

run sfc /scannow 3


Right click on the black icon > EDIT > PASTE

The text file will be created on your desktop.
The contents will look something like this:

2012-02-17 11:27:40, Info CSI 00000006 [SR] Verifying 100 (0x00000064) components
2012-02-17 11:27:40, Info CSI 00000007 [SR] Beginning Verify and Repair transaction
2012-02-17 11:27:46, Info CSI 00000009 [SR] Verify complete
2012-02-17 11:27:47, Info CSI 0000000a [SR] Verifying 100 (0x00000064) components
2012-02-17 11:27:47, Info CSI 0000000b [SR] Beginning Verify and Repair transaction
2012-02-17 11:27:55, Info CSI 0000000d [SR] Verify complete
2012-02-17 11:27:55, Info CSI 0000000e [SR] Verifying 100 (0x00000064) components
2012-02-17 11:27:55, Info CSI 0000000f [SR] Beginning Verify and Repair transaction
2012-02-17 11:27:58, Info CSI 00000011 [SR] Verify complete
2012-02-17 11:27:58, Info CSI 00000012 [SR] Verifying 100 (0x00000064) components
2012-02-17 11:27:58, Info CSI 00000013 [SR] Beginning Verify and Repair transactio

If you need more information on how to run sfc /scannow please ask on the Free PC Help website – click here

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Take Ownership of a File or Folder – written by KenB


How to Take Ownership of a File or Folder – the simple way.

This guide was written for Vista. The method is the same for Win7 – the boxes may look a little different.

Before you read on – you are advised to make a backup of your Registry.
The process below makes changes to the Registry and it is always good practice to make a backup.
I have never heard of any problems with the TakeOwnership software – but it does no harm to be careful.

Click on the link below:
How do I backup the Registry?

To continue …..

If you are unlucky, you may experience the problem of not being able to access; save; change or move a file or folder.
The access permissions may have been altered.
This can sometimes happen if you move data from a hard drive to a CD then to a hard drive again.
Sometimes there is just no logical explanation.

Taking ownership of a file or folder in Win7 can be a complicated process.
There is, however, a small piece of software that makes this a lot easier.

Download the software from here:
Click here to download

You will see this download box:

Take ownership of a file or folder


Click on OPEN.

Take Ownership of a file or folder


Then click on “Install TakeOwnership.reg”
The software makes changes to your Registry.
Before it installs you will see this message:

Take Ownership of a file or folder


Click on “RUN“.

When the software is installed all you need to do to take ownership of a File or Folder is to Right Click on it.
You will see something like this:

Take Ownership of a file or folder


Click on “Take Ownership” and you are done.

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Reset Windows Password

Tutorial written by KenB

If you are reading this ( How do I Use my Password Reset Disk ? ) – hopefully you have not locked yourself out of your system. If you have, and you have produced a[b][color=blue] Password Reset Disk ,[/color][/b]( a Flash Drive ) then you can use it to reset your password and gain entry to you locked system.

If you have not produced a Password Reset Disk then you need to take a look at this tutorial first.
click here – Create a Password Reset Disk

This is how to use the Password Reset Disk.

Switch your system on and enter what you think is your password.
If it is wrong you will be prompted and see something like this:

Use my Password Reset

Reset Password

If you cannot remember your password – click on “[b][color=orange]Reset Password[/color][/b]”

Password Reset 2 (1)

Reset Password Stage 2

You will be prompted to insert your Memory Stick that holds the Password Reset File.
You will be told where the Memory Stick is located. You need to make no changes.

Password Reset 3

Reset Password Stage 3

You will be asked to type in a new password and to re-type it to confirm.
You can also add a password hint.

Password Reset 4

Reset Password Stage 4

You will then have re-set the password and be able to gain access to Windows and your files.

Password Reset 5

Reset Password Stage 5

You will be able to re-use the Reset Flash Drive ( if necessary ) without making any changes to it.

Details on [size=15][color=blue]How to Create a Password Reset Disk [/color][/size] can be found here:
[color=red]click here[/color]

If you require further information use the Free PC Help site – click here

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Tutorial written by Sho-Dan

Some users may want to disable or turn off Windows Defender because they are using a third party anti-malware real time protection program.

Leaving  real time protection enabled may create a conflict or interfere with the third party anti-malware program working correctly.

This software is installed by default in the Vista OS, it can not be uninstalled or remove (via Add/Remove) from the Vista OS. A better option would be to Disable it  instead.

Here is how to safely disable it in Windows Vista, there are two ways to stop it from auto starting when Windows is booted up.

A. How to disable the Windows Defender service completely:

1. Advanced

  • Go to Start > Run and type services.msc
  • Now look for the service named Windows Defender,
  • Double click to bring up the Properties window.
  • Click the “Stop” button and set the Startup type “Disabled”
  • Click Apply and then click OK.
  • Close Services/Local window

Re-enabling :

  • Re-visit Services > Windows Defender
  • Set the Startup type to Automatic
  • Click Apply then click Start
  • Click OK and then Close Services/Local window

It will not show up in Windows updates after the Stop/Disable method.


B. How to stop Windows Defender

2. Novice

  • Launch Windows Defender and go to Tools -> Options.
  • There will be a list of configuration options.
  • Scroll down to the end of the list to Administrator options.
  • Deselect the Use Windows Defender box and press the Save button.
  • Now you will receive a notification saying that “Windows Defender is turned off”.
  • Click on Close and you are done.

To re-enable  in Vista, run Windows Defender from Start Menu and turn it on again when prompted.

Defender 1

Defender 2

Defender 3


If UAC is turned on, you will need to confirm that you want to continue with the changes.

Windows XP users can uninstall Windows Defender in Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs.

Additional information is available on the Free pc help website – click here

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Print Wireless without a Wireless Printer

How do I print wireless without a wireless printer

This tutorial assumes that you have a desktop machine attached by a cable to the printer.
It is also assumed that you have a wireless network via a router.
( this is a standard set up )

Your first job is to make sure that the appropriate printer drivers are installed on both machines.
The Desktop machine will, no doubt, have the corect drivers already.
If the laptop does not have the same Operating System as the desktop then you will need to visit the printer manufacturers website and download the drivers for your laptop.

Please be aware that if your Printer is an older one and your laptop has Windows 8 on it – you may be unlucky and there may not be drivers available.

Do not be tempted to use drivers that are not designed for your operating system.

On the Desktop go to Control Panel > Printers ……right click on the printer icon > Sharing > Share this Printer.

Give it a Name …………… and make a note of this.
[Let’s assume you call it Epson }

Find the Full Computer Name for the Desktop.
Start > Right click on “Computer” > Properties.
It should be here. Make a note of this ………..exactly as it is written including capitals.
[Let’s assume the full name is MyDesktopComputer ]

You will need this noted information next.

Print Wireless without a Wireless Printer continued …..

Now on the Laptop:

Start > Control Panel > Printers > Add a Printer …….[ this is in the toolbar at the top ]
Create a New Port …..this should be “Local Port

You will be asked to type in the Port Name. This is important and you need the information from above.
The Port Name looks like this:

\\MyDesktopComputer\Epson ……. ( obviously put in your own names that you noted earlier )

You may be prompted to install the Printer Drivers. ( I know you have already done this )

You will be prompted for a Printer Name. This will be attached to the icon produced on the Laptop in “Printers”

You should then be able to print a test page.

Be aware that the machine connected to the printer will need to be turned on.

If you need more information on how to print Wireless without a Wireless Printer ask on the FreepcHelp site = click here

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Recycle Bin Missing from the Desktop by KenB

If you have somehow deleted the Recycle Bin and find the Recycle Bin missing and it is not showing on the desktop try the following:

Right Click on a blank section of the Desktop.
Then click on Personalize.

You will see this:

Recycle Bin Missing

Click on Change Desktop Icons

Recycle Bin Missing 2

Then, if there is no check mark in the box next to Recycle Bin, click the box > Apply > OK


You could also try the following:

Edit the registry to restore the Recycle Bin

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
To edit the registry to make the Recycle Bin icon reappear on the desktop, follow these steps: 1. Click Start, and then click Run.
2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
3. Locate the following registry key:


4. Right-click the registry key that you located in step 3, point to New, and then click Key.
5. Type {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}, and then press ENTER.
6. Click the new {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E} key that you created in step 5.
7. In the right pane, double-click the (Default) entry.
8. In the Edit String dialog box, type Recycle Bin in the Value data box, and then click OK.
9. Close Registry Editor.

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Making a cloned hard drive using Macrium Reflect

by PlasticNev

As well as a system image which can be created and stored on an external hard drive for later or rescue use, a different approach is to clone your existing drive completely onto another different hard drive.
You would do this either as a fully exchangeable drive to be put to one side, so it can be swapped in at any time of major trouble such as a failed drive, or as could happen with the latest malware, and find all your files encrypted.
You can also make a clone from an existing small drive when it is getting too full, and put the clone on a larger hard drive for fitting in its place..

Please read through everything and please be sure you understand each stage of making a cloned hard drive before continuing.

You will need a spare hard drive either as big as the system one, or larger. and of the same type, either IDE or SATA.
One of these three, an adapter from IDE or SATA to USB, an enclosure for the spare drive to USB, or a hard drive docking station.
For now we will assume an enclosure with the spare drive fitted to it.
It is a good thing at this point to plug it in to the computer and allow Windows to see it and install drivers for it. Once that is done unless you are going to continue straight away, use the “Safe to remove” system to disconnect it from the computer.

OK, start up the computer and once fully booted up, (If it isn’t already) plug in the USB enclosure complete with the new drive in it. Autoplay may open a window for the new drive, if it does dismiss and close it as it isn’t needed. (Make sure no other device is plugged into any other USB ports or card slots, other than keyboard and mouse if they are USB.)

Next is to open the Macrium reflect program.
You should see this page open, if not click the “Disk Image” tab to open it.

Area “A” will be your existing drive, it may be slightly different from mine here as it depends on the number and sizes of partitions.

Area “B” should be your new drive in its enclosure, unlike mine it should show as empty. (Mine is a previous clone as I am showing my rescue drive)
It should also show the model number of the new drive, make a note of that in case you need to search for it.

Click on the Making a Cloned Hard Drive images to enlarge.

making a cloned hard drive _10

Click anywhere in area “A” to make sure that is selected, underneath it you should then see as in my picture as ringed “C” and click on “clone this disk.”

You should then see this next page open. check that there is a tick in all the boxes as you can see here, to be sure all will be copied as the clone.
Click on the “Select a disk to clone to”

making a cloned hard drive_11

Hopefully you should see something like this, if not you may get the system window open and you will need to search for the new drive, hence why I said to make a note of the new drive model number.
Otherwise Macrium normally knows which it is and shows this providing no other storage medium is plugged in to a USB port or memory card in a slot.

making a cloned hard drive_12

As shown click anywhere to select it and the next should be as here.

making a cloned hard drive_13

If there are any partitions, which in your case there should not be, click on the red crossed item “Delete existing partition” and in your case with no partitions it should then look like this.

making a cloned hard drive_14

Make sure there is a tick in the box for “copy selected partitions when I click next”, it usually is by default, but no harm to make sure.
If all is as above at this point, click the next button on the bottom right, and you should then see a list similar to mine which is listing the existing partitions to be cloned to the new drive in its enclosure.

making a cloned hard drive_15

Click the “Finish” button bottom right and it will then start to create the first stages of the clone, it may show a box asking to either format or over write the contents of the destination drive, accept it by clicking yes or whatever it says to mean yes, and it will carry on.
Depending on how much data is on your drive it will take some time, mine being fairly large does take a few hours, yours may be less than that.

Once the clone has been completed, and it does tell you, close everything concerned with Macrium, then have an explore of everything that is on the new drive to check it out.

If happy all is as it should be, use the safe to remove system to disconnect the external USB enclosure.

The next is a good thing to do to make sure the clone was fully successful.

Shut down and then remove the power plug and battery from the laptop or if a desktop disconnect the mains power at the wall.

Remove the now cloned drive from the enclosure, adapter, or docking station. If a laptop, you will have to remove the drive from it first and then install the clone drive.
If a desktop, you only need to remove the cover, then the plugs from the existing drive and temporarily connect the clone drive.
Replace the battery and power plug if a laptop, or reconnect mains power if a desktop.

If everything went correctly, the laptop or desktop should now boot up from the new drive.

If all is correct, it is maybe a good idea to check the full system at this point by running the System File Checker, or sfc /scannow as it is called, to verify the integrity of the operating system.
It may also correct any slight corruption if any has occurred during the cloning process.

This concludes the tutorial on making a cloned hard drive.

If you need more information on Making a Cloned Hard Drive please ask on the FreePChelp website – click here

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Control Panel – Change how it is Viewed ………. written by KenB


Do you get a little frustrated when you are searching for something like “Mouse Settings” for instance.
It can, sometimes, be difficult to find what you are looking for.

Control Panel normally looks like this:

Control Panel change appearance


Not very helpful in many cases.
If you click on the down arrow next to “View by” ( red arrow ) and select “Large Icons” it will look like this:

Control Panel appearance


I find this much easier to find what I am looking for.

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Reset Windows Password

Tutorial written by KenB

In this article I am going to show how to create a Password Reset Disk for Windows 7 and Windows Vista. If you are using a login password to access your computer how disastrous would it be if you forgot it ?
No access to your files, folders or data.

The simple “solution” to this is to be prepared for the unlikely event.
Do this now – and don’t wait until you get locked out.

It is possible to create a Password Reset Disk by doing the following:

[size=15][color=blue]Start …. Control Panel …. User Accounts[/color][/size]

Top right of the panel you will see [b][color=blue]”Create a Password Reset Disk[/color][/b]”
Click on this.

You will be prompted to insert a USB Flash Drive ( Memory Stick )

[b][color=red]You need to be aware that if anybody gets hold of your memory stick they will be able to reset the password too.[/color][/b]

Password Reset Windows 7

There are no decisions to make – simply click “[size=15][color=blue]Next[/color][/size]”

Password Reset Windows 7 - 2

You will need to type in your present password.

If you change this at a later date it doesn’t matter – you will still be able to use this [b][color=blue]Reset “Disk”[/color][/b]

Forgotten Password Wizard


Now just click on “[b][color=blue]Next[/color][/b]” again and the[b][color=blue] Password Reset Disk [/color][/b]will be created.

Create Password Reset Disk


Completing the Forgotten Password Wizard

Don’t forget to [b][color=blue]label the Memory Stick [/color][/b]and keep it in a safe place – and hope you never need it. 🙂 In the future we will be covering more articles about Creating a Password Reset Disk for Windows 8.

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Written by maynardvdm

Here on Free PC Help we occasionaly use terms that may be unfamiliar to you, here is a description of acronyms and what they mean

BIOS – Basic Input Output System
BSOD – Blue Screen of Death
CD-ROM – Compact Disk – Read Only Memory
CMOS – Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor
CPU – Central Processing Unit
DDR SDRAM – Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory
DIMM – Dual In-line Memory Module
DOS – Disk Operating System
DRAM – Dynamic Random Access Memory
DVD – Digital Video Disk or Digital Versatile Disk
EMI – Electro-Magnetic Interference
EMP – Electro-Magnetic Pulse
ERD – Emergency Recovery Disk
EULA – End User License Agreement
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
FAT – File Allocation Table
FTP – File Transfer Protocol
FF – FireFox
GUI – Graphical User Interface
GPU – Graphics Processor Unit
HDD – Hard Disk Drive
LAN – Local Area Network
LCD – Liquid Crystal Display
LED – Light Emitting Diode
Mbps – Megabytes per second
MS – Microsoft
Mobo – Motherboard
MSN – Microsoft Network
NIC – Network Interface Card
NOS – Network Operating System
NTFS – New Technology File System
OS – Operating System
OE – Outlook Express
P2P – Peer To Peer
POST – Power On Self Test
POTS – Plain Old Telephone System
RAM – Random Access Memory
ROM – Read Only Memory
SVGA – Super VGA
USB – Universal Serial Bus
VGA – Video Graphics Adapter

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