How to turn on system restore in Windows 10

In this guide, we explain what Windows 10 system restore is and why we have it. We will show you how to enable it, create a restore point and use it to recover your computer. As well as instructions on how to boot into system restore if all else fails.

How-to-use-system-restore

What is system restore?

Windows 10 comes with System Protection which has a great feature called System Restore. System Restore takes a snapshot of your computers system files at a specific point in time (known as a restore point).

Why we have system restore?

Well, if something goes wrong with your computer you can use this snapshot or restore point. To revert the computer back to a point in time where it was working. It is a bit like having a computer time machine.

Do I need to do anything to use system restore?

Yes, in Microsoft Windows 10, system restore is there but it is not enabled by default. You will need to enable it. Once enabled it will automatically create restore points for you. However,  we recommend that you turn system restore on and manually create your own restore points. Do this before installing new software or making any big changes to your computer.

How to turn on system restore in Windows 10

How-to-turn-on-system-restore-in-windows-10

  1. Press the Windows key to activate the text box on the taskbar.
  2. Type Restore in the text box on the taskbar 
  3. A list of options will appear select Create a restore point.
  4. The System Properties window will open
  5. Select the System Protection tab as shown below.
  6. In the Protection Settings section, highlight the (C:) drive.
  7. Click the button labeled Configure as shown below

system properties configure system restore

  1. This will take you to the Restore Settings see below.
  2. Click Turn on system Protection circled below and set the Disk Space Usage at the bottom by dragging the blue arrow. See note at end of instructions for how much space to select.

System protection restore settings

  1. Click Apply
  2. Then click OK to close
  3. Congratulations you have enabled System Restore.

Note: If ‘Turn on system protection’ is greyed out in the above system properties window. It may be because the wrong computer drive has been selected in the previous step. You can only turn on system protection on the drive which the system files are installed. This is often the (C:) drive and will have (System) next to the drive letter.

If you are using a work computer and you are unable to turn on system restore, it could be because your IT team have restricted access.

How much ‘Disk Space Usage’ should I set?

This will depend on two factors, how much disk space you have and how many restore points you wish to create. System restore will use the space you decide to allocate it to create restore points. Once that space is full older restore points will be deleted to create new ones. This means more space equals more restore points to revert to. We use 5% of disk size.

Instructions to create a system restore point in Windows 10

How-to-create-a-system-restore-point

  1. Press the Windows key to activate the text box on the taskbar.
  2. Type Restore in the text box
  3. A list of options will appear select Create a restore point.
  4. The System Properties window will open, (if you can not see it check the taskbar).
  5. Select the System Protection tab as shown below.
  6. Under the Protection Settings section, highlight the (C:) drive.
  7. Click the Create button

Create a restore point

  1. This will open a text box, where you should type the name of your restore point. We suggest naming it whatever you are about to do. For example “Before installing printer driver”

Create a restore point name

  1. Click the Create button and it will create the restore point
  2. An alert box will appear showing progress.

creating restore point

  1. Another alert box will appear confirming ‘The restore point was created successfully’. Click the Close button.

confirmation of successful restore point

How to restore your computer from a system restore point?

If the computer stops working and you are unable to fix it manually. Then using system restore to return to the last known good configuration point could be the answer.  There is no guarantee that it will fix the problem and if the problem is hardware related it might not help at all.

Important: System restore will return the computer to its previous state. Anything you changed/installed after the restore point was created will be lost. If possible back up all of your important files to an external drive. If you need advice backing up your files click here

  1. Make sure your computer is on mains power.
  2. Press the Windows key to activate the text box on the taskbar.
  3. Type Restore in the text box
  4. A list of options will appear select Create a restore point.
  5. The System Properties window will open, (if you can not see it check the taskbar).
  6. Select the System Protection tab as shown below.
  7. Under the System Restore section click the button marked System Restore as shown above.
  8. The system restore wizard will open, click Next.
  9. In the new window, select the latest Restore point by clicking once.
  10. With restore point highlighted in blue, next click Scan for affected programs
  11. The wizard will then scan for programs which might be affected by the restore.
  12. It will display any programs affected or advise none detected.
  13. If happy to proceed, click Close in the above window.
  14. Click Next as shown below.
  15. A confirmation window will open with information about the system restore point.
  16. Click Finish to confirm.
  17. The wizard will now return your computer to this chosen system restore point. Depending on the speed of your computer it could take a while, do not unplug or interrupt.

My computer won’t boot, can I use Windows restore?

If your computer will not start and you still need help. Please view our guide on how to restart the computer in safe mode and select troubleshoot or repair options. Please let us know if you experience difficulties and we will try to help.

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