Run System File Checker *without* WinXP install CD? (branded PC has no WinXP CD)

By wordsmith1776
Jan 8, 2005
  1. Run "sfc /scannow" *without* WinXP install CD? (branded PC has no WinXP CD) ...

    I've run into several "branded" PC systems, that have no WinXP OS CDs (shame on the manufacturers!), and wondered if there is *any* way to run Systerm File Checker (sfc /scannow) on these systems, to check the system files...


  2. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Hello and welcome to Techspot.

    Unfortunately I don`t think there`s much point in running the sfc because if it does find any errors it would just ask for the Windows cd, and since you don`t have one it`d be a pointless exercise.

    Regards Howard :wave: :wave:
  3. wordsmith1776

    wordsmith1776 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Re: running System File Checker w/out WinXP CD....just thought of something...

    The computer is a HP 563W, that has the "restore" partition for Win. XP on the hard there a *chance* that the necessary files to have "sfc/ scannow" pick from to do System File Checker are there?

    The ONLY other option is to do a non-destructive recovery of Win.XP, which HP *claims* will not destroy user-documents....

  4. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    SFC assumes the original files are in the location stated in registry value

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Setup \ SourcePath.
    Michael Kanir likes this.
  5. wordsmith1776

    wordsmith1776 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Re: running System File Checker w/out WinXP CD....just thought of something...

    Ok but how do I tell "sfc /scannow" to look at the files in i386, on the Win XP Home PC (HP Pavilion 563w, that does NOT ship with a Windows XP Home Ed. CD; shame on HP!)? I'm also not in front of the HP 563w PC, so am not sure where the i386 folder is....

    (HP Total Care <HP Pavilion E-mail Support []> sent me the following e-mail in response to my above query):

    << Dear Richard,

    Thank you for writing back.

    I understand from your e-mail that you are unable to perform the "sfc /scannow" command.

    I apologize for the inconvenience caused.

    However, by way of information, you can still run this command without using the Windows XP CD. While running the "sfc /scannow" command if it prompts for the Windows XP CD for the path of the system files, please provide the following path:


    This should resolve the issue. If you have any more queries, please feel free to write to us. We are always there to assist you.

    Have a wonderful day.


    HP Total Care


    Understandably, I wrote Ankur (evidently HP is using India as both call-center and e-mail center support--sigh...why don't they move Customer Care back to the United States? I won't hold my breath!) back for clarification, as he did NOT give me any idea of exact command to type in the "RUN" window, to get "sfc /scannow" to look at the i386 folder on the hard drive....

    Thanks for any assistance on this.
  6. elainetm

    elainetm TS Rookie

    Did you ever receive a response from anyone that would enable someone to sfc /scannow without a CD relying solely on the partition containing the backup application(s)? Is there a way to point to that partition that works?

  7. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    As I understand it when you run sfc /scannow if it doesn't find \i386 which is normally on C: then it asks where it can be found. With my Thinkpad this is on E:\, but there may be a problem if the partition is hidden.

  8. patio

    patio TS Maniac Posts: 482

    I would contact HP...i'm sure they have the process documented. While you're at it ask them to ship you a new XP CD. They might be unwilling to but the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    patio. ;)
  9. wordsmith1776

    wordsmith1776 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Re: Running SFC /SCANNOW without Win. XP CD; finally a solution.

    Elaine, I was directed by an HP Tech. to the site,
    at, for a lengthy
    technical (!) solution to running sfc /scannow without the Windows XP CD.

    It takes quite a while to read and understand, but it did work on the HP
    PC I worked on :)

  10. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Most manufacturers put the XP installation files inside a folder named I386. The location is unknown, since it varies so often, but you might find it on a seperate partition of the drive or even in the C:\Windows folder.

    If you can burn the contents of this folder to a CD, then you may be able to substitute it for the real thing.
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