What Does System Restore Do in Windows 10?

Featured System Restore In Windows 10

System Restore is a handy feature to return your Windows PC to an earlier point in time. This can be a big lifesaver in many situations: for instance, when you are unable to uninstall an annoying program or the PC is slowed down/cannot boot up due to corrupted drivers. It’s considered best practice to create a number of system restore points from time to time.

While useful, System Restore can have a tangible impact on your Windows system, mainly due to installation failures or data corruption in a previous state. Therefore, we will find the best approach in using System Restore by sizing up its full impact on a Windows 10 PC or laptop.

What Does System Restore Do?

System Restore creates a snapshot of your working system so you can restore to it in the future if anything happens to your PC. With Windows 10, you can access the option from the Start menu in Taskbar by clicking “Create a Restore point.”

System Restore Win10 Launch

To enable System Restore, click the relevant icon in the popup window. In Windows 10, System Restore is turned off as a default and must be enabled by the users for it to work properly.

System Restore From System Properties

You can also create a number of Restore points from time to time. Using the Configure option, you can create automatic or daily restore points as needed.

System Restore Create A Restore Point

While doing System Restore, you will come across all the states before the selected date. The automatic restore points are arranged neatly date-wise, and you can select the required event for further action. Your PC discards old Restore points automatically to save volume on the disk, but you may choose to provide more space to this activity.

System Restore Select

How Long Does System Restore Take?

Depending on the number of files on your system and the complexity of any programs to be removed, System Restore can take variable amounts of time. On average, if the restore point was just a few days ago, you should be able to complete the entire activity within 25 to 40 minutes.

To get an idea of what you’re getting into, do a scan of all affected programs and drivers before hitting OK

System Restore Scanning Affected Programs

Once you have an overview of the programs that will be affected, confirm the restore point to proceed. The system will restart only once to complete the procedure.

System Restore Confirm Restore Point

Do remember that once you start this activity, you cannot interrupt it midway. If you get stuck, The only way to do that is to force reboot the system using the Power button.

System Restore Cannot Be Undone Message

The System will now restart, and you will see the following message: “Please wait while your Windows files and settings are being restored, System Restore is initializing.” If the activity is consuming too much time, you may have to give it a generous break as there may be many files it has to fix first.

System Restore Win10 Initializing

Does System Restore Delete Files?

System Restore, by definition, will only restore your system files and settings. It has zero impact on any documents, pictures, videos, batch files, or other personal data stored on hard disks. You don’t have to worry about any potentially deleted file. It will also not affect the standard programs you have been using for a long time.

Only the recently installed programs and drivers can be uninstalled. Its task is to repair the Windows environment by reverting to the previous configuration that was saved in the restore point.

System Restore Win10 First Screens

Before activating the System Restore option, an option is given to review the programs that will be affected. The only items that will be deleted are the latest browser updates or a few drivers of new programs that were installed. Windows updates after the Restore Point will be affected by the change, and your system will go back to a previous version.

System Restore Programs Drivers Deleted

What to Do If There’s Something Wrong with System Restore

If there are any issues with System Restore in a previous Restore point, you will get an error screen after the Restart. To solve this problem, you need to start an Advanced recovery which can only be achieved through Safe mode.

System Restore Win10failure

Go to “Start -> Change Advanced Startup Options -> Advanced Startup -> Restart Now.” This will take you to a blue screen where you can try System Restore in Safe mode.

Uefi Firmware Settings Windows 10

System Restore is a time-tested and frequently-used tool to go back to a definite state of optimal health for your PC or laptop. It helps you get rid of any unknown entity that infects your system.

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Sayak Boral Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over ten years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

6 comments

  1. I am leery of using any program such as this, but I have had to use it as a sort of last resort. Having said that, I am glad to have this option, as it has saved my bacon and ham on several occasions.

  2. Is there a setting available to retain the same system restore point after it is used? Once the restore occurs it is no longer available should I need it again.

    1. Hi Bromberg

      Sorry for the late reply. Windows 10 automatically deletes older Restore points. Therefore, you need to allocate more GB space to recall an older Restore point. It can be achieved from “Configure” setting (see screenshot in the article). Also, you can manually create Restore points with easy to remember names.

  3. What happens if I use an earlier restore point but don’t like the results. Would I be able to return my PC’s state to a later point? For example, if on 10/10/2020 I restored to 10/1/2020 but didn’t like it, could I restore to 10/5/2020 (assuming I had all these restore points to select from)?

    BTW, thanks for your reply to my previous question.

    1. If you want to allocate hat much space for previous restore points, then you can always go back to the one you liked the most. Use the “Create Restore point right now” feature (seen in screenshot )to frequently save the ideal states of your system. Give them an easy to remember name. The current date and time are added automatically.

      1. Space is not an issue – especially when it can save time by debugging a confounding problem.
        Good to know I can bounce around non-sequentially; just unfortunate I cannot tell Win10 to not delete the restore point in case I want to reuse it in the future.
        Thanks for your help!
        Dan

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