Where is System Restore in Windows 10?

Fix problems iwith Windows using System Restore

System Restore is a useful utility built into Windows that can fix certain types of problems. So why does Microsoft make it so hard to find in its latest operating system? Here’s how to fix Windows with System Restore.

Windows automatically creates restore points and saves them to the disk drive. Each of these restore points is basically a snapshot of Windows settings and certain files at a point in time.

It is not a complete backup that can be used to recover corrupted and lost photos or documents, and it is more of an undo feature. It undoes recent changes to Windows, such as changing settings, installing software which changes settings, Windows Updates, and so on.

Windows creates restore points automatically just before it installs a major Windows Update patch, but you can also create your own at any time.

Some programs create restore points too, such as registry clean-up tools, and uninstallers that remove all traces of a program. This is because one of the things System Restore does is to put back the registry the way it used to be.

If Windows or some function in Windows is not working as it should, then System Restore might be able to help. It isn't the first thing you should do, but if you have tried other solutions and they have not worked, try System Restore.

You can select a restore point when the computer was working properly and put Windows back the way it was (hopefully).

The problem is that in Windows 10, System Restore does not have a tile on the Start menu. Even if you go to Start, All apps, you still won’t find it. It used to be on the Start menu in earlier versions of Windows, but not anymore.

Press Windows+I to open Settings, or click the search box in the taskbar. Enter ‘system restore’ and it is not found. However, there is a related entry and Create a restore point is among the search results.

 Windows 10 Settings app

Click Create a restore point and the following window appears. There is a button to create a restore point – a system snapshot – and this can be useful if you plan to make changes to the system and want to be able to undo them.

 Windows System Restore

There is also a System Restore button at the top. Click it to open the System Restore tool. There is an initial information screen that tells you System Restore fixes problems and doesn’t change your documents, pictures, videos or music. Click Next.

 Windows System Restore

Restore points are then listed. The number that you see depends on several factors, such as the amount of disk space allocated. (Click Configure in the second screenshot and increase the disk space to store more points.)

 Windows System Restore

Select the restore point you want to use and click Next to proceed with the restore. Before you do that though, you might want to click Scan for affected programs. It tells you the programs that might be affected when restoring to an earlier point in time.

 Windows System Restore

After a few seconds of activity, it shows two lists. One is programs and drivers that will be deleted, and the other is programs and drivers that will be restored.

It doesn’t exactly restore software you have uninstalled and it only restores settings, not the full application. If you have deleted an application then System Restore won’t bring it back from the dead, but if you can put it back, such as by copying it from a backup, then System Restore will put the settings back.

Programs installed after the restore point you have selected are affected by the restore because changes to Windows are undone. If you want to continue using the software after using System Restore, you might need to reinstall the software.

System Restore isn’t perfect and it can affect software you recently installed and uninstalled. However, if your PC has a serious problem it might be worth it to get it working again. At least you now know where System Restore is in Windows 10.


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3 Comments on Where is System Restore in Windows 10?

  1. Does Windows System Restore have features to reduce on disk space usage by restore points for Win 10? I ask because I had to move to a 3rd party program called Rollback Rx because WSR couldn’t manage the space well.

    • Yes. Click the Configure button in screenshot 2 above. You can then set the disk space or even turn it off completely. I recommend giving it enough disk space to store half a dozen restore points.

  2. Cassidy Williams // 2016/02/03 at 23:33 //

    Was finally able to turn on the system restore feature on my computer but it failed. When I went to restore only points from the past week showed! My documents were gone 🙁 I just deleted it in the end but was unable to get my work back. Dunno why Microsoft doesnt make it full backup when others already do so

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