Windows operating systems can break down at any time. System files can get corrupt, too. And when any of these scenarios happen, you need to fix them and bring them back to their functional state. This is when in-built utilities like the DISM tool come into play.
In this article, we will discuss everything about the DISM tool, how to run DISM exe, when to use it, and more!
SFC Vs DISM Vs CHKDSK
Before we delve deep into everything about the DISM tool, let us first differentiate it from other tools it is often confused with: System File Checker and Check Disk.
System File Checker (SFC)
Windows saves a cached copy of your protected files as a backup, and the SFC utility uses these cached versions.
System File Checker is a tool designed to scan your PC for any missing system file and restore a working version from the cache. It is the quickest way to assess your PC’s integrity and find problems with Windows updates and installations.
To run a basic SFC scan, you need to have administrator access to the Command Prompt utility and enter the sfc /scannow command.
When your device suddenly turns off because of a power-related issue, incorrect file system entries are created. And these incorrect entries can create bad sectors in your drives, causing your system to crash more often or slow down. The CHKDSK command locates those bad entries and repairs them.
Check Disk (CHKDSK)
Check Disk or CHKDSK finds bad sectors in your drive and fix any error it has caused in your file system. It is often the first step in troubleshooting Windows errors.
The fastest way to run the CHKDSK command is to type chkdsk into the search box, right-click on the top-most result, and select the option that allows you to run it with administrator privilege.
Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM)
Deployment Image Servicing and Management is used to deal with problematic Windows images and repair them by getting a replacement from the Windows server. It uses some modifiers to repair a damaged Windows image.
Like the CHKDSK and SFC commands, DISM can be executed using the Command Prompt utility. However, you need administrator access to run the command.
The DISM Exe Tool
DISM online cleanup-image restorehealth is probably the most advanced scan you can do in Windows. It is often used when the SFC and CHKDSK commands don’t work.
This command scans the core files of your system and finds any that behave oddly. In order to complete its task, this command may require a stable internet connection.
The DISM online cleanup-image restorehealth command is often referred to as the ultimate fix for system crashes because it targets the core files in your OS. It even helps in resolving other issues that cause the CHKDSK and SFC tools not to work normally.
What’s New with Windows 10’s DISM Tool?
According to Microsoft, the DISM tool on Windows 10 supports the following:
- Full Flash Update – The tool supports the .FFU format, capturing partition information. Because of this, deployment is made easier and faster.
- Capabilities – You can use the tool to locate multiple sources like corporate servers and the Windows Update server itself to download the latest Windows versions.
- Compress Operating System – This allows you to save space on your Windows image because it runs your OS or other system files through compressed files.
DISM’S Three Options
This command-line tool has three options that can be used to repair a damaged Windows image. These include CheckHealth, ScanHealth, and RestoreHealth. Normally, these options are used in the mentioned order.
We’ll go into more detail about these options below.
This option allows you to identify any corrupted files in your local Windows image. As its name suggests, it does not repair corrupted files.
To use this option to check for Windows image issues, follow these steps:
- Launch the Windows Start menu by pressing the Windows key or icon. You can also click the Windows icon in the lower right part of your desktop.
- Click on type here to search the section and input “command prompt”.
- Right-click on the top-most result.
- Choose the Run as Administrator option.
- Next, type this command to do a quick health check: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth.
- Hit Enter.
- Once the steps are done, the DISM tool will let you know what corrupted files may need to be fixed.
Compared to the previous option, ScanHealth does a more advanced check to know if the image has more serious problems.
To run the DISM ScanHealth option, here’s what you should do:
- Press the Windows key on your keyboard to see the main menu.
- Type command prompt into the blank search field.
- Right-click on the most relevant result.
- Next, choose Run as Administrator.
- Now, input this command into the command line: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth.
- Hit the Enter key.
- The scan will now begin, and this may take a few minutes for the DISM tool to check if the Windows image requires fixing.
If problems are detected with the system image, the RestoreHealth option is used. It automatically scans and repairs common issues, so you don’t have to.
To use the RestoreHealth DISM command, follow these steps:
- Click the Start menu.
- Input command prompt into the search box and right-click on the top result.
- Select Run as Administrator.
- After that, input the RestoreHealth command: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth.
- Hit Enter to repair the damaged Windows image.
- Don’t worry if the progress gets stuck somewhere in the middle. It’s completely normal. After several minutes, this will be complete.
- Eventually, the DISM tool connects to the Windows Update server to download and replace any damaged file.
How to Run a DISM Online Repair
For the command to run properly, you need to connect to the internet. Otherwise, you will get an error telling you that the tool was unable to complete the process because it cannot find the source file.
Also, you need to enable this utility first then proceed with running it. Here are more detailed steps:
- Launch the Local Group Policy Editor by clicking on the search box and typing gpedit.msc into it. Press Enter.
- Then go to Computer Configuration and select Administrative Templates.
- Select System and then double-click on the option that allows you to specify the settings for any option component repair or installation.
- In the window that opens, enable the process.
- Find the Option section and tick the box next to the Contact Windows directly option.
- Now, close the window.
- At this point, we can now run the DISM command. First, launch an elevated Command Prompt and enter this command: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth.
- Next, hit Enter and wait for it to complete.
- If the tool did not find any corrupted file, proceed to check your drive’s health. Type this command to do so: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth.
- If the previous step throws an error message, simply rerun the same command. This will force the DISM tool to fix the problem by connecting to the Windows server and downloading any files required. The process often takes around 15 to 20 minutes.
- Once done, apply the fixes by typing this command: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth.
- Press Enter.
- You will now be asked to restart your Windows device.
Frequently Asked Questions About DISM
At this point, you may still have questions about the DISM exe online cleanup image restorehealth command. Fret not because we will try to answer them below.
Can I Use the DISM Restore Health Command Offline?
Yes, you can still use this command even when you are not connected to the internet. Here’s how:
- Connect any working Windows 10 installation media to your computer.
- Next, use the Windows + X shortcut to launch the WinX menu.
- Select Windows PowerShell (Admin).
- Run this command: Get-WindowsImage -ImagePath “D:\sources\install.wim”.
- Then locate the image index that is compatible with your Windows version and take note of it.
- Now, run this command: DISM /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth /source:WIM:D:\sources\install.wim:X /limitaccess
- Note: Change the value of X in the command to the image index you have taken note of earlier.
- Wait for the offline DISM scan to complete.
When Can You Use the Offline DISM Scan Command?
The command can be used if the online DISM scan has failed. Many Windows users use this trick when they encounter the “DISM source files could not be found” issue.
How Long Does a DISM Scan Take?
It usually takes several minutes for a DISM scan to complete. The reason it takes that long is that it has to compare any damaged files with working ones. It also generates a log on your system.
When it comes to the exact time, it really depends. However, some users say that the fastest time it takes for the scan to complete is about 2 minutes. But again, that may still vary depending on the total number of affected files.
Is It Safe to Run the DISM Tool?
Yes, it is safe to use DISM exe because it is a legitimate tool created by Microsoft.
What If the DISM Tool Causes More Problems?
The Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool rarely causes problems. In fact, it is designed to fix them. However, if it is unable to replace damaged files for some reason, you may have to find another source.
This source can be a working install.wim file from another device or one from bootable installation media. It can also be the Windows 10 ISO file. What’s important is that you get the files that are supported and compatible with your Windows 10 edition, version, and language.
Use a Fresh Copy of the Windows 10 ISO File
If you need a fresh copy of the Windows 10 ISO file, download it using these steps:
- Visit the official Microsoft support website.
- Hit the Download Tool Now button.
- Once the file is saved on your device, double-click on it to begin the setup.
- Press Agree to proceed.
- Choose to create installation media option.
- Hit Next twice.
- Choose ISO File.
- Click Next again and choose a destination to save the ISO file.
- Press Save.
- Now, click the link to open the highlighted file location via File Explorer.
- Then hit Finish.
- Next, double-click on the Windows.iso file to start mounting the image.
- Navigate to the This PC section and choose the appropriate drive letter.
Use an ESD Image
If you cannot find an install.wim file but have an install.esd image instead, you can still use it to repair damaged files with DISM.
Here are the steps:
- Click Start and run Command Prompt with complete administrator access.
- Into the command line, type this command: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\install.esd.
- Note: You need to replace C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\install.esd with the actual path where the install.esd file is saved.
- Now, type this command to prevent the use of the Windows Update tool: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:\$Windows.~BT\Sources\install.esd /LimitAccess.
- Hit Enter.
- And then, proceed by typing this command to use the install.esd file in your drive: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:D:\Sources\install.esd.
- Note: change D:\Sources\install.esd to the actual location of the install.esd file.
- Press Enter.
Windows operating systems have improved by leaps and bounds. But we cannot ignore the fact that issues still trouble users. That is perhaps the reason Microsoft has kept the DISM utility to allow users to troubleshoot problems by themselves.
And today, Windows 10 users who have encountered system file errors will agree that DISM is indeed a powerful tool. To use it, you only have to launch Command Prompt and enter the right command, and that’s it. And in case you aren’t familiar with such commands, you can always pull up this guide as your reference.