How to create a restore point in Windows 10 and fix problems

Don't get caught out without a backup plan

Let’s face it, sometimes things go wrong in Windows and one day it is working fine, but the next it is not. Here’s how to create a restore point in Windows 10 and use it to solve problems.

System Restore is a key feature in Windows, but it can be hard to find. Here's your guide

A restore point is a sort of backup. It is not a backup for your personal files like those in the Documents, Music, Videos and Pictures folder. Files in those folders and ones with common extensions like .docx are not changed.

It is a backup for some important Windows system files.

You still need a backup program to save your personal files and File History or Backupper are good choices, but if Windows is not working as it should be, System Restore can sometimes come to the rescue.

It puts back Windows configuration files as they were when the restore point was created.

If System Restore is enabled, and there is no guarantee it is, but we'll see how to check, then Windows will automatically save restore points from time to time. It does not always create enough and so it is a good idea to manually create restore points yourself too.

A good time to create a restore point is just before installing software. Then if the software changes some key Windows settings and the PC is not running right, you can put the system back as it was before the software was installed.

System Restore can sometimes remove software that was installed, which is useful if it turns out to be incompatible.

Create a restore point

1 Start here

Right click the Start button in Windows 10 and select Control Panel in the menu that is displayed.

Right click the Start menu to open the Control Panel in Windows 10

2 Search for restore

The easy way to find where System Restore is in the Control Panel is to search for it. Type restore into the search box and then click Create a restore point.

Search for settings in the Control Panel in Windows 10

3 Create a restore point

In the System Properties window, make sure that Protection is on for the C: drive - that is where Windows is installed. If it is not, then turn it on.

Click the Create button to create a restore point.

Create a restore point in Windows 10

4 Name the restore point

You can give the restore point any name you like. ‘My Restore Point’ isn’t a particularly good one. A better choice would be ‘Before installing program X’.

Click the Create button to continue. That's it, you now have a restore point.

Allocate more disk space

5 Set the maximum size

Restore points require disk space and the more space that is allocated, the more restore points can be saved. Check the space that is allocated.

Back at step 3, select the Windows disk (C:) and click the Configure button. A simple slider lets you choose how much disk space to allocate to restore points.

If you have lots of free space on the disk, then 5 to 10GB is a useful amount of space. It won’t necessarily use all of it, but it is there is it needs it. (If you are seriously short of disk space you can delete all the restore points and disable system protection to recover the space.)

Restore a restore point

6 Start System Restore

If there is a problem with Windows and you want to put back the system before the prolem started, how do you use the restore point?

Back at step 3, there is a System Restore button near the top. Click it. At one time System Restore was on the Start menu, but that does not seem to be the case these days.

System Restore startup window in Windows 10

7 Pick a restore point

All the restore points are listed and you can see 'My Restore Point' created earlier. It can be useful to click Scan for affected programs, which tells you if any software will be removed by the restore.

Select a restore point and click Next.

System Restore shows a list of restore points saved

8 Last chance

This is your last chance to back out. If you are sure you want to restore this restore point, click Finish.

Restore a Windows restore point

System Restore is not the answer to every Windows problem, but it sometimes helps to turn back the clock and restore the system to the way it was when it was working.

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