How to Use System Restore on Windows 10 Computers

 
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How to Use System Restore on Windows 10 Computers

Highlights

  • System Restore lets you reset Windows 10 to when it was working
  • Restore points are created around app or driver installs
  • It's turned on by default for system drive only

If something goes wrong with your Windows 10 computer, due to a new app installation or a recent driver upgrade, simply trying to uninstall or roll back the driver doesn’t always work. That’s where Windows 10 System Restore comes in, as it essentially lets you jump back to a previous time, when Windows was working just fine.

But how does that work, you ask? Well, it does that by creating “restore points” from time to time, generally when you install a new piece of software, or a Windows 10 update. Plus, it creates one every week anyway, and you can do so manually anytime.

Windows 10 restore points are effectively an image of the important Windows stuff, your system files, registry settings, and hardware drivers themselves. It doesn’t take any of your personal documents into consideration, so this isn’t a backup by any means. Depending on your system settings, a small part of your hard-drive is dedicated to storing these restore points, which automatically clears out the old to make space for the new. You'll still need to back up all your personal data yourself, but Windows 10 restore points can help troubleshoot software issues on your Windows PC.

When you open System Restore, you’ll be presented with the available restore points, which will allow you to return to a specific time in the past. In short, Windows 10 System Restore allows you to revert to a state when your computer was working just fine.

Before you use the feature, you should know how it impacts your computer. Since Windows 10 System Restore doesn’t make a backup of your personal documents, restoring your system won’t change any of them. Instead, it keeps a track of all the apps you had, so once you choose a point, any apps that were installed after that will be gone, and the uninstalled ones will come back.

Once the process is done, you will need to re-run the installers/ uninstallers to properly get rid of the ones you don’t want. Thankfully, Windows 10 does present you with a list of affected programs, making this process simpler.

How to set up System Restore on Windows 10

By default, the Windows 10 System Restore option is only turned on for your primary drive, which contains all the necessary Windows files. If you’d like to extend that coverage, follow these steps:

  1. Hit Start, and type in “restore”.
  2. Choose Create a restore point.
  3. In the System Protection tab, under Protection Settings, you’ll see a list of available drives on your computer, with an On or Off label next to them.
  4. Choose the appropriate drive, and click Configure.
  5. Select Turn on system protection to enable System Restore. It should be on by default for C:.
  6. On the same dialog box, adjust the Max Usage slider as you prefer. The more room you make, the farther back you can choose to go later.

How to create a restore point on Windows 10

In some cases, you might want to create a restore point yourself, for example, if you’re about to install an app or a new driver from an unconfirmed source. Here’s how to go about that:

  1. Hit Start, and type in “restore”.
  2. Choose Create a restore point.
  3. In the System Protection tab, under Protection Settings, click Create.
  4. Then, give it a memorable name, and hit Create.
  5. After less a minute, you’ll be presented with a success message. Click Close.

How to use System Restore on Windows 10

Hopefully, you’ll never actually have to bother with this. But should that troubling day arrive, here’s how you can restore your system to an earlier point:

  1. Hit Start, and type in “restore”.
  2. Choose Create a restore point.
  3. In the System Protection tab, under System Restore, click System Restore.
  4. A new dialog box will give you a brief description of System Restore. Choose Next.
  5. On the next page, you’ll see the available restore points, with a date next to each of them. Select the desired one, and click Scan for affected programs.
  6. In a new dialog box, you’ll have two different lists – the top one shows programs that will be deleted, and the bottom one shows programs that will be restored. Once you’ve noted the important ones, click Close.
  7. If you’re ready, choose the appropriate restore point, and click Next.
  8. Windows 10 will ask you to confirm. Go through the details, and then click Finish.
  9. In a final dialog box, System Restore will inform you that it “cannot be interrupted”. Click Yes to begin.

The Windows 10 restore process will take over your computer, and finish in about 15 minutes, more depending on your CPU and hard-drive speed. Once it restarts, you can login to see if everything is working fine. If it didn’t have the desired result, you can revert to your latest system settings instead, since System Restore always creates another restore point before starting itself.

Do you have any questions regarding Windows 10 System Restore? Share them via the comments below. For more tutorials, visit our How To section.

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Further reading: System Restore, Windows 10
Gadgets 360 Staff

The resident bot. If you email me, a human will respond.

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