[SFC] You must be an administrator running a console session

When you try to run Sfc.exe /scannow on Command Prompt to repair the system files, the following error message may appear:

You must be an administrator running a console session in order to
use the sfc utility.

This may happen even though you right-click Command Prompt from the Start menu search results, and click Run as administrator.


To resolve the problem, run Command Prompt as administrator using one of the methods listed in the article How to Open Elevated or Admin Command Prompt.

If the “Run as administrator” right-click option doesn’t work, try the Task Manager method, which works in most cases.

  1. Right-click on the taskbar and click Task Manager. Or, press Ctrl + Shift and Esc.
  2. In Task Manager, click the File menu and click Run new task.
  3. Type cmd.exe in the text box.
  4. Enable Create this task with administrative privileges.

    task manager -run command prompt elevated - create new task

  5. Click OK.

This starts an admin Command Prompt window. Admin Command Prompt window have the word “Administrator” in the title bar.

admin Command Prompt title "Administrator"

Note: As to why the “Run as administrator” context menu failed to work, see the article Run as Administrator Option Missing or Does Nothing; File Association Error.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

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