Windows System Restore
Updated 12/17/2019
What it's good for and why you should use it regularly

    System restore is not a highly hyped feature of Windows - but it should be.

    System restore was introduced along with Windows XP. But that version almost never worked as it should have. With the introduction of Windows Vista System Restore was revamped into a tool that could work to save your system and your files.

    In Windows 7 System restore really became a powerful tool to recover your PC from mishaps caused by malware attacks, bad or improperly installed software or just about any error that could happen to a Windows PC.

    PC experts have a constant refrain - backup, backup, backup. And that is very good advice. But when your PC goes haywire reaching for your backup disk or reinstalling a saved system image is not necessarily the first thing you should try.
    First open System Restore!
    Restore your PC back to a time when it was running like a Swiss Watch - without losing your files!

    For more detailed information concerning Windows System Restore try this Microsoft link: What is System Restore?

What you can (or should) do

Be sure System Restore is turned on: Open System Protection: (If you have installed Classic Start or Start 10)

  • Click the Start Button
  • Then right-click This PC
  • Then choose Properties - a system window will open
  • Choose System Protection (listed on the left). Note: This window shows if System Restore is on and also shows which drives it's protecting.

Open System Protection (If you have not installed Classic Start or Start 10)

  • Click the Windows 10 Start Button.
  • Start typing System Protection. (A search box will appear, as will best matches)
  • Click on Create a Restore Point. Note: The System Protection/Properties window contains the controls for System Restore.
  • Click the Windows 10 Start Button
  • Start Typing Control Panel. (A search box will appear, as will best matches)
  • Choose Control Panel app.
  • In the Control Panel Window find the System icon then right-click it and choose either to pin to start or create a shortcut.
  • Double-click the System icon to open the System window.
  • In the System window Choose System Protection. (listed on left) Note: This window shows if System Restore is on and also shows which drives it's protecting.

For maximum protection: Use the link created in steps above to get to the System Protection/Properties window, shown above.

  • Be sure System Restore is ON and protecting your System Drive - Local Disk(C)
  • If protection is off click the Configure button then click the Turn on System Protection radio button
  • You can create a new restore point on a regular basis - perhaps once a month. Name it Clean System or whatever you will remember.
  • Create a new restore point just before installing new programs and especially new Windows device driver software.
It's a really good idea to create a new restore point before installing new software. Then if you have a problem you can roll the changes back and undo any damage done or errors introduced into your system - all the while preserving system integrity and your important personal files.

Windows System Restore is NOT a backup tool. To be sure your irreplacable files are protected it is always a good idea to make regular backups. A simple way is to use a free cloud service such as Dropbox or Microsoft Onedrive or get a USB flash drive to save local copies of your files. Note: Microsoft Onedrive is installed by default in both Windows 8 and 10. However, on a new PC or New Windows install, it must be turned on to use it for backup. (5GB Free)

For more information concerning backups see my file Back Up Your PC.

Some virus/malware may, in order to protect itself, disable some system tools such as System Restore. If that is the case the malware must be removed by other means. Then, if any problems persist, use System Restore to recover from them.