Common Issues with System Restore

by Jun 12, 2024computer repairs0 comments

System restore is a powerful tool that helps users recover from system crashes, malware infections, and other computer issues. It allows users to restore their operating system to a previous state, which can often solve problems that arise on their computers. However, like any technology, system restore is not perfect and can have its own set of issues. In this article, we’ll explore some common issues with system restore and how to troubleshoot them.

What Is System Restore?

System restore is a feature built into the Windows operating system that allows users to roll back their computer’s settings to a previous point in time. This feature creates restore points, which are snapshots of your computer’s settings and system files. These restore points can be used to return your computer to a previous state in case of any issues or errors.

Understanding Restore Points

Restore points are created automatically by Windows before significant system events, such as the installation of new software, driver updates, and system updates. Users can also create restore points manually if they anticipate making changes that could potentially disrupt their system. It’s important to note that restore points do not include personal files, so they cannot be used to recover lost documents or photos.

How Restore Points Are Created

Windows typically creates a restore point once a week and before major system events. However, this frequency can be adjusted through the system settings. For more precise control, users can create restore points manually. To do this, access the System Protection tab within the System Properties dialog and click the “Create” button. Users can then name the restore point for easy identification later.

Limitations of System Restore

While system restore is incredibly useful, it has limitations. It doesn’t cover every aspect of the computer. For instance, it won’t affect personal files, so it cannot be used to recover personal data. Additionally, restore points have a shelf life – they can be overwritten when the allocated space for system restore is filled up. Lastly, if a malware infection is present, it could potentially corrupt the restore points themselves.

How to Use System Restore?

common issues with system restore

To use system restore, follow these steps:

Accessing System Restore

  1. Click on the Start button and type system restore in the search bar.
  2. Select Create a restore point from the search results.
  3. In the System Properties window, click on the System Protection tab.

Initiating the Restore Process

  1. Click on System Restore and then click Next.
  2. Select a restore point from the list of available restore points and click Next.

Completing the Restore

  1. Review the restore point and click Finish to start the restoration process.
  2. Your computer will restart and the system restore process will begin.

After Restoring Your System

Once the system restore is complete, the computer will boot up as it was at the time of the chosen restore point. It is essential to check that the issue you were experiencing has been resolved. If the problem persists, you might need to choose a different restore point or seek alternative solutions. Additionally, you should immediately update your antivirus software and scan your computer for malware to ensure the system is clean.

Common Issues with System Stystem Restore

While system restore is an effective tool, it can also have its own set of issues that can prevent it from working properly. Some of the common issues with system restore are:

System Restore Disabled or Turned Off

system restore disabled

One of the most common issues with system restore is that it can get disabled or turned off. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as a virus or malware infection, a third-party software, or human error.

Checking if System Restore Is Disabled

To check if system restore is disabled, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Start button and type system restore in the search bar.
  2. Select Create a restore point from the search results.
  3. In the System Properties window, click on the System Protection tab.
  4. If the Protection column for your hard drive is Off, then system restore is disabled.

Enabling System Restore

To enable system restore, click on the Configure button and select Turn on system protection. You can also adjust the amount of disk space allocated for system restore by moving the slider.

Reasons for System Restore Being Disabled

System restore can be turned off due to various reasons. Some security programs disable it to use their own system protection methods. Additionally, system restore may be turned off when the disk space allocated to it is filled, or if there are errors within the system restore service itself. Identifying why system restore is disabled is crucial to prevent the issue from recurring.

How Long Does It Take to Do System Restore?

how long to do system restore

The time taken to complete a system restore process can vary depending on the size of the restore point, the speed of your computer, and other factors. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. During the restore process, your computer may restart several times, and it is normal for the progress bar to remain at a certain point for a while.

Normal Duration for System Restore

Under normal circumstances, system restore should take between 20 minutes to an hour. This is a rough estimate and can change based on system performance and the amount of data being restored.

What to Do If System Restore Takes Too Long

If you feel that the system restore process is taking too long or has stopped responding, you can try restarting your computer and running system restore again.

Signs of a Problem During System Restore

If the system restore progress bar doesn’t move for an extended period, or if there are error messages, these could be signs of an underlying problem. It might be necessary to perform additional troubleshooting steps or to seek professional help if the restore doesn’t progress.

Using System Restore to Recover a File I Accidentally Deleted

system restore to recover file

System restore can be used to recover accidentally deleted files, but it is not always a reliable solution. This is because system restore only creates restore points at certain intervals, so if the file was deleted after the last restore point was created, it cannot be recovered.

Limitations of File Recovery with System Restore

While system restore can revert system changes, it does not keep a backup of personal files. Therefore, if a file was deleted and is not included in a restore point, system restore will not be able to recover it.

Alternative Methods for File Recovery

If you need to recover a deleted file, it is best to use a dedicated data recovery software instead of relying on system restore. These software tools are specifically designed to recover lost files, even from emptied recycle bins or after formatting a drive.

Best Practices to Prevent File Loss

To prevent the need for file recovery, it’s recommended to regularly back up important files to an external drive or cloud service. Additionally, be cautious when deleting files and use confirmation prompts to prevent accidental deletions.

System Restore Greyed Out

system restore greyed out

If the System Restore button is greyed out in the System Properties window, it means that system restore is disabled for that specific drive. This can happen if the drive is not formatted with the NTFS file system or if the drive is not currently connected to your computer.

Troubleshooting a Greyed Out System Restore

To enable system restore for a drive, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Start button and type cmd in the search bar.
  2. Right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  3. In the command prompt window, type rstrui.exe and press Enter.
  4. The System Restore window will open. Follow the steps to create a restore point for the selected drive.

Causes for System Restore Being Unavailable

A greyed out system restore option could also indicate that there are system policy restrictions in place. Sometimes, group policies set by network administrators or accidental changes can disable system restore. Checking these policies might be necessary if the regular troubleshooting steps do not resolve the issue.

Ensuring Compatibility with System Restore

For system restore to work, your system drive needs to be formatted with the NTFS file system. If your drive is formatted with a different file system, like FAT32, you will need to reformat it to NTFS, which will erase all data on the drive. Ensure to back up any important data before proceeding with the reformat.

I Can’t Create a Restore Point

cant create a restore point

If you are unable to create a restore point, it could be due to various reasons such as:

Potential Causes for Inability to Create Restore Points

  • System restore is disabled for the selected drive.
  • The drive is not formatted with the NTFS file system.
  • Your computer is running low on disk space.
  • System restore is disabled on your computer.
  • The volume shadow copy service is not working.

Steps to Resolve Restore Point Creation Issues

To troubleshoot this issue, try the following solutions:

  1. Make sure system restore is enabled for the selected drive by following the steps mentioned earlier in this article.
  2. Check if the drive is formatted with the NTFS file system. If not, you can format it by right-clicking on the drive and selecting Format.
  3. Free up some disk space on your computer by deleting unnecessary files or programs.
  4. Check if system restore is disabled on your computer. If so, enable it by following the steps mentioned earlier in this article.

Checking the Volume Shadow Copy Service

  1. Make sure the volume shadow copy service is running by following these steps:
  • Click on the Start button and type services in the search bar.
  • Select Services from the search results.
  • In the Services window, locate the Volume Shadow Copy service and make sure it is set to Automatic.
  • If the service is not running, right-click on it and select Start.


System restore is a valuable tool that can help you recover from system crashes and other computer issues. However, it is not infallible and can have its own set of issues. By understanding these common issues and how to troubleshoot them, you can make sure that system restore is always available to help you when you need it.


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