Where is System Restore in Windows 10?

Fix problems iwith Windows using System Restore

The solution to some Windows problems is System Restore. Here's how to use it

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.

What is 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.

A system restore point 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 for configuration settings. 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 performs certain actions, like a Windows Update patch, or simply after a successful error-free startup, but you can also create your own at any time.

Some programs create restore points, 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 the registry back 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).

Where is System Restore in Windows?

The problem is that in Windows 10, System Restore does not have a tile on the Start menu. Even if you go to Start and look through all the 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 and enter system restore into the search box. It is not found but there is a related entry and Create a restore point is among the search results.

 Search Windows Settings for System Restore

Create a Windows restore point

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

 Windows System Restore

Click Create anytime you want to save a restore point.

Windows System Restore utility

There is also a System Restore button at the top. Click it to open the System Restore tool.

An alternative way to start the System Restore utility is to press Windows+R and enter rstrui.exe into the Run box.

There is an initial information screen that tells you System Restore fixes problems and doesn’t change your documents, pictures, videos or music. You might see a Recommended restore and this is often a good choice, but there is an option below to Choose a different restore point. Click Next.

 System Restore in Windows

If you want to choose your own restore point, they are 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.)

 Viewing all the restore points in Windows using System Restore

If you don’t see many restore points, tick the box in the bottom right corner, Show more restore points. Select the restore point you want to use and click Next to proceed with the restore.

Scan for affected programs

Before proceeding with a System Restore, 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.

 Scanning for programs that might be affected by 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.

 


3 Comments

  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. 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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