How to fix "sfc.dll is either not designed to run on Windows or it contains an error"?

Issue: Hi, I have recently updated Windows and now I can no longer open my browser because I receive the “sfc.dll is either not designed to run on Windows or it contains an error” message. Any tips would be appreciated.

Solved Answer

Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs) are foundational elements in the Windows operating system, serving as modular libraries of executable functions or data. These libraries are used by Windows applications to perform various functions without the need to incorporate these functions into the application itself. This design promotes efficient use of system resources and code, as multiple applications can share the capabilities provided by a single DLL file, reducing redundancy.

The “sfc.dll” file is a specific type of DLL that plays a critical role in the Windows environment. It is associated with the Windows File Protection (WFP) service, which is essential for maintaining the integrity of system files. WFP is designed to prevent programs from replacing critical Windows system files.

If these files are modified or replaced by unauthorized means, the WFP service uses the “sfc.dll” file to restore the original, correct versions of these system files. This process is crucial for the stability and security of the operating system, as it helps prevent system crashes and ensures that the system operates smoothly and securely.

Despite their importance, DLL files like “sfc.dll” can encounter issues, such as the error “sfc.dll is either not designed to run on Windows or it contains an error.” This error can occur due to a version mismatch between the DLL file and the Windows version in use, corruption or loss of the DLL file, malware infections altering the DLL, or software conflicts on the system. When this error arises, it indicates a failure in the functioning of the “sfc.dll,” potentially leading to application malfunctions or system instability.

How to fix "sfc.dll is either not designed to run on Windows or it contains an error"?

Addressing this error typically involves identifying the underlying cause, such as restoring the correct version of the DLL, running malware scans, resolving software conflicts, or performing system updates.

For individuals less familiar with manual troubleshooting, or for a more comprehensive solution, using a PC repair tool like FortectMac Washing Machine X9 can be beneficial. Such tools are designed to automatically diagnose and rectify issues within the Windows operating system, including those related to crucial DLL files, thereby ensuring the system's efficient and secure operation.

Fix 1. Run SFC and DISM

Running System File Checker and Deployment Image Servicing and Management tools can effectively resolve the sfc.dll error in most cases. SFC scans for and repairs corrupt or missing system files, while DISM fixes Windows corruption errors that might prevent SFC from functioning correctly. Together, they offer a comprehensive solution to DLL-related issues.

  • Type cmd in Windows search.
  • Right-click on Command Prompt and pick Run as administrator.
  • User Account Control window will show up – click Yes when prompted.
  • Then, copy and paste the following command, pressing Enter after:
    sfc /scannow
  • Wait till the scan is finished. If Windows finds system file integrity violations, it will attempt to fix them. After this, use the set of the following commands, pressing Enter each time:
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  • (Note: if you get an error executing this last command, add /Source:C:\RepairSource\Windows /LimitAccess to it and try again).
  • Close down the Command Prompt and restart your device.

SFC and DISM

Fix 2. Perform a malware scan

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Malware can often corrupt or modify DLL files, causing errors. Running a full system scan with reliable antivirus software can identify and remove malicious software that might be causing the issue. If you don't have a third-party anti-virus, you can rely on Microsoft Security Scanner, or the built-in Microsoft Defender:

  • Type Windows Security in the Windows search bar and hit Enter.
  • Select Virus & threat protection.
  • Pick Scan options.
  • Choose Microsoft Defender Offline scan and click Scan now.
  • Your PC will immediately reboot and begin a deep scan.

Scan for malware

Fix 3. Reinstall the affected program

If a specific program triggers the 'sfc.dll' error, reinstalling the program can replace the damaged DLL file and resolve the issue.

  • Open the Control Panel and go to Programs > Uninstall a program.
  • Find the program causing the issue in the list and select Uninstall.
  • Follow the prompts to remove the program.
  • Restart your computer.
  • Reinstall the program from its original installation source.

Reinstall the program

Fix 4. Try Clean Boot

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Performing a Clean Boot in Windows can help identify if background applications or services are causing the 'sfc.dll' error. A Clean Boot starts Windows with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs, which can eliminate software conflicts that occur when installing or running an application, or when running certain services.

  • Type msconfig in Windows search and hit Enter.
  • Go to the Services tab and tick the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox.
  • Select Disable all.
  • Go to the Startup tab and click Open Task Manager.
  • Here, right-click on each of the non-Windows entries and select Disable.
  • Close down the Task Manager.
  • Go to the Boot tab and tick the Safe boot option.
  • Restart your device.
  • If you find that the problem is resolved, you should enable half of the services and restart your system, eliminating the culprit this way.

Clean Boot

Fix 5. Update Windows

Outdated Windows versions can cause compatibility issues with DLL files. Updating Windows can resolve these issues by installing the latest DLL versions and patches.

  • Type Updates in Windows search and press Enter.
  • Here, click Check for updates.
  • Wait till Windows downloads and installs all the files.
  • If optional updates are available, install them as well.
  • Reboot your device.

Scan for malware

Fix 6. Resort to System Restore

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Fortect Mac Washing Machine X9.

System Restore can revert your system's state to a previous point in time when the sfc.dll file was not corrupt. This can fix the error without affecting personal files.

  • Type Create a restore point in the Windows search bar and open it.
  • Click on System Restore.
  • In the new window, click Next or Choose a different restore point.
  • If available, mark the More restore points checkbox.
  • Select the point in time when the issue did not exist and click Next.
  • Finally, click Finish.

System Restore

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Jake Doe is the news editor at UGetFix. Since he met Ugnius Kiguolis in 2003, they both launched several projects that spread awareness about cybercrimes, malware, and other computer-related problems.

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