As most of us are aware, most of the Windows problems arise due to various aspects of the Windows operating system. System Restore is one of the helpful utility available for the Windows users, and it could be of great help when used in early troubleshooting stages. System Restore is a Windows feature that will help the user fix enormous computer problems.
As per the latest developments, we have explained how to use System Restore in Windows 10. Except for the minor differences, this method works well for every other version of Windows. Follow these instructions for Windows 7, 8, and 10 to gain complete benefits of System Restore.
What is System Restore?
Every user deals with his/her share of system issues in their day-to-day life. Whenever something unpredictable happens on your Computer due to irrelevant software or the app you installed, it can be challenging to fix it. System Restore is a feature of Windows, will allow the user to revert their computer’s state to its last working state.
Reverting the computer’s state is usually achieved by creating the “Restore Point”. Restore Point can be created manually by the user or automatically. Restore points store your Windows system files, certain program files, registry settings, and few hardware drivers. These Restore points can be explicitly created by the user whenever he/she thinks it is necessary, but for the user convenience, the system automatically creates a restore point once per week.
Windows even creates a restore point just before any major system process happens like installing the device drivers or updating Windows. In the future, if any of the issues arise due to these newly installed applications or drivers then you can run System Restore to reverse the changes by pointing it to a recent restore point. It will erase the newly installed drivers and various programs except for documents, pictures, and music.
Furthermore, System Restore will reinitiate your system settings, files, and drivers, reversing your Windows system to an earlier state. This is the reason why it is widely recommended as the best recovery method to use the System Restore as the preliminary fix for the system problems. For instance, if you have downloaded any media drivers for your system but it has given rise to a few problems shutting down a few of your computer processes.
Now you might have uninstalled the driver to resolve the issue, but in some cases, it might have not been uninstalled properly or it could lead to system files damage when you uninstall it. Instead of installing, if you use System Restore and select a restore point that was created before you installed the driver, then your system files can be restored to a previous state.
Not just the newly installed drivers or applications, Windows restore can also undo the damage caused by the recent Windows updates. Uninstalling an application or erasing its files might not able to fully resolve the issue, but restoring it to a stable restore point will often clear the issue.
How Does Using System Restore Affect My Personal Files?
System Restore isn’t the same as backing up your personal data. System Restore specifically works on the underlying Windows system rather than your hard drive. As mentioned earlier, System Restore does not save copies of your personal files in the system.
It is assured to you that System Restore doesn’t delete or replace any of your personal files when you perform the restoration. System Restore’s job is to revert your system to the previous state. Devoid of Your personal documents, pictures, and music your System Restore will erase every other application or driver you will recently install.
Hence, if you are expecting System Restore to work as a backup. It is informed to you here that backup is not included while using the System Restore feature. However, it is recommended that you maintain and follow a good backup procedure to safeguard your personal files.
How Does Using System Restore Affect My Apps?
Usually, when we restore our computer to an earlier restore point, any applications or drivers we installed after creating a restore point will get uninstalled. However, applications installed before creating a restore point will remain still. Adding to that, whichever apps you have uninstalled after creating a restore point will be restored, but with an extreme caveat.
It is noticed that even though the System Restore only restores certain type of files, programs that are restored often doesn’t work properly or work efficiently until you re-run their installers. Even though Windows allows its users to see the number of programs and their details, it will be affected when the restoration process occurs. It is a good practice to restore your system to the most recent restore point possible to minimize any upcoming issues.
If you are worried about specific applications being erased along with the ones you want to uninstall, we recommend you to create manual restore points before you perform the newest updates or settings changes so that you are in charge of reversing your system to a recent restore point whenever you feel necessary.
Can System Restore Remove Viruses or Other Malware?
System Restore is not a suitable feature to get rid of Virus/Malware found in your system. This is because malicious pieces of software are usually found underlying most of the places on the system.
So, you cannot entirely depend on System Restore to remove all areas of malware. Instead, it is in your best interest we advise you to install a quality antivirus that scans your system often and keeps you up-to-date about your system safety against malicious software and viruses.
How to Enable System Restore
In most of the systems, System Restore protection is turned on by default for your main drive (C:) and not for other drives. While for few, System Restore is not enabled by default on any system drives. There isn’t a specific reason behind this.
For instance, whether Windows were newly installed or recently upgraded, the size of the disk space remaining in your system, or the types of drives available in your system, these aren’t related to why it happens. If you wish to enjoy System Restore Privileges provided by Windows, then enable System Restore Protection for any of the drives.
To Turn on System Restore and enable it for specific drives of your choice, follow the instructions given below.
Step 1: Click on the Start menu found at the bottom left corner of the screen or press the Windows key on your keyboard.
Step 2: Now, type “restore” in the search bar, and from the listed options, select “Create a restore point” and click on it. No need to panic, as this step alone does not create any restore point.
Step 3: A dialog box named as System Properties is visible to you. In the horizontal menu bar, select the “System Protection” tab, now under Protection Settings, you can find drives available in your system and whether the protection is enabled for each drive. In case it is the protection is turned off for all of the drives, select a drive of your choice from the list and click on the configure button found below the protection settings.
Step 4: Then, from the “System Protection” dialog box, under Restore Settings you can see two radio buttons. Select the “Turn on System Protection” option and adjust the “Max Usage” slider to how much amount of that hard drive space you want System Restore to use. Finally, click OK.
Step 5: Also exit the System Properties by clicking OK on that dialog box. The users need to keep in mind that whenever Windows create a restore point (or you create it manually), System Restore will automatically create a restore point on all the drives to which you have enabled System Protection.
How to Create Restore Point
After Enabling the System Restore, you need to know about Restore points; how and when are they created. As explained above, System Restore creates a restore points in a specific period of time as long as a week.
Also, whenever major processes events like the application or driver installation take place. Users can also conveniently create restore points by themselves. To do so, sequentially follow the steps mentioned here.
Step 1: Click on the Start menu either by pressing the Windows icon found on the bottom left of the Windows screen or the Windows key found on the keyboard. Type “Create a restore point” in the search bar and select it from the listed options.
Step 2: As seen earlier, the System Properties dialog box is available for you. Click on the “System Protection” tab from the menu and click on the Create Button found below.
Step 3: Next type a description you wish to give for your restore point. Make sure to remember it and Click Create again.
Step 4: This process shouldn’t take more than a minute to execute and create a restore point. As soon as the system has created your restore point, System Restore will alert you. Click Close to exit smoothly.
How to Restore Your System to an Earlier Restore Point
We applaud as you have successfully enabled the System Restore as well as diligently created a restore point of your own. Of course, most of the users face issues when it comes to system applications/drivers. This is when the restore point you created comes in handy.
Now, remember that when you perform System Restore it takes you back to that particular day when you created the restore point of your choice. Now we will help you to restore your system to an earlier point.
Step 1: Even here, the restore process begins from the same System Protection tab where you configure System Restore options. Select the Start menu and type “restore” in the search bar. Now click on the “Create a restore point” option.
Step 2: On the System Properties dialog box, select the “System Protection” tab from the menu and click on the “System Restore” Button.
Step 3: Next, the welcome page of the System Restore window will provide a brief explanation of the on-going process. Click the Next button to proceed.
Step 4: The next page will display the list of available restore points in your system. However, by default, only a few restores points are displayed which are automatically created every week or the ones which you have manually created. In case you want to view the entire automatic restore points created before any new installations, tick the checkbox found with the text “Show more restore points”.
Step 5: Now select a restore point of your choice, it is however recommended to choose the most recent restore point. Now click on the button named scan for affected programs, so that the System Restore will automatically detect any programs that is uninstalled during the process.
Step 6: System Restore will finally display to you the two sets of lists along with the description and Date. The first list shows you the programs and drivers that are most likely to be deleted if you select the Windows Restore Point. The second list displays the programs and drivers that are proven to be restored after the process. Furthermore, it is not guaranteed that the apps or drivers which are restored at this point will function efficiently until a reinstallation is performed.
Step 7: So, if you have chosen the restore point you wish to proceed with, select it and click the Next button.
Note: It is not necessary to click on the scan for affected programs button, you can skip this particular function and continue with the Next regardless. However, it is a wise choice to keep count of the apps or drivers that are going to be affected before rushing over to begin the process.
Step 8: At this point, you should be sure that you have selected the correct restore point. So when you are asked for confirmation, click Finish.
System Restore will warn you saying that once started, System Restore cannot be interrupted. Click “yes” to Start. Now all you have to do is sit back and watch as your part of the job is done. Windows will restart your computer and initiate the restore process. The time duration is estimated to be around15-20 minutes as the System Restore needs time to reinstate certain files and applications.
As soon as the PC revives back, you will be running at your selected restore point. The final step is to verify whether it has indeed resolved the issue you were facing. Windows being a reliable operating system even creates a restore point before going forward with the restoration process. So, in case you regret you can undo the actions by following the same instructions and selecting the newest restore point.
How to Fix System Problems by Different Ways
If the System Restore isn’t capable of solving your issue do not worry, there are enormous ways that you can follow to resolve your issue. If you believe your system files are corrupted or if you want to double-check for safety purposes. You can try using System File Checker to scan and fix the corrupt system files.
Since most of us download various drivers for our needs, if you have installed an update or any hardware driver and issues started to emerge after that then try uninstalling the driver or update, even block them from being automatically installed again.
If your system Windows aren’t booting properly which is creating a hassle for you to perform any of the above functions, then you can boot into safe mode. Therefore, go to the “Advanced Startup Options” they will appear automatically if Windows 10 cannot boot normally, and feel free to use the options over there.
There is a countable number of reasons why sometimes System Restore cannot restore your computer to a specific restore point. This is where safe mode comes in handy; you can boot into Safe Mode and then try to perform System Restore again. However, as it was noticed by a reader Straspey that once you revert to a restore point after booting in safe mode; your System Restore doesn’t create any new Restore points. Resulting in not providing any undo options for you to restore.
Even if every other method mentioned above has failed, there are still two ways left, which might help you. The Reset your PC feature can restore Windows to its factory default condition or run a clean installation of Windows while holding your personal data intact.
By the end of the article, you should have acquired a huge number of solutions for your system troubles. System Restore isn’t the cure for all of the system troubles. However, it can still fix a countless number of issues.
It is quite unfortunate that System Restore has been degraded in recent years compared to Windows advanced recovery tools. Before you rush off to the technician or System Manufacturer with your troubles, we advise you to give System Restore a try.