3 Things To Check When Your System Restore Is Not Working [Windows]

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system restore not workingWhen your computer works smoothly, don’t you wish it would always stay this way? Even if you exercise caution with the programs you download, regularly perform defragmentation and do other things to ensure your system runs at its best, problems may still arise without warning.

System Restore may work wonders and save your behind in those cases. If however you find system restore not working, there might be a number of things to check before you reinstall Windows. If you’re sure System Restore is turned on, but it’s still not working properly, try the following.

Run System Restore From Safe Mode

If you get any problems while running System Restore, or System Restore did not complete successfully, try running System Restore in Safe Mode. To run Windows in Safe Mode, restart your computer and press F8 (if you have Windows installed only). If you have a dual-boot configuration, select Windows and press F8 before the Windows logo appears. You can also make the system go into Safe Mode by typing ‘msconfig’ in the Start search box and enabling Safe Boot in the Boot tab.

system restore not working

When you’re on the desktop in Windows Safe Mode, type ‘System’ in the Start search box and press Enter when System Restore is highlighted. You should be able to run System Restore at this point. If System Restore works in Safe Mode, then perhaps your antivirus program or a corrupted file is preventing it from starting. You may need to adjust your antivirus program (like turn off Norton’s Tamper Protection feature) or perform scans before attempting to run System Restore again.

Sometimes, your System Restore files may also have become corrupted. You may have to use an earlier restore point (especially if you’ve tried the more recent ones without success), but if that doesn’t work, you may need to switch System Restore off (this will delete all your existing restore points), restart your computer and turn it on again.

Configure Disk Space Usage (300MB)

If you still can’t get System Restore to run properly, try adjusting the disk space allocated for System Restore since you might have run out of it. Microsoft recommends at least 300MB of free hard disk space and since System Restore might actually use up to 15% of space, you might look into increasing the allocated space or deleting old restore points.

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To adjust disk space for System Restore, type ‘create restore’ in the Start search box and press Enter when Create a restore point is highlighted.

system restore does not wor

Now click on the Configure button and move the slider in the next dialog.

system restore does not wor

system restore does not wor

To delete old restore points, you can use the option below the slider to delete all restore points and previous versions of files (which I would not recommend), or only delete older restore points while still keeping the last, most recent one. To do the latter, type Disk Cleanup in the Start search box, right-click on the first item and choose Run as Administrator.

system restore disabled

Now click on More Options, and then on Clean up.

system restore disabled

Try System Image Backup Programs

System Restore may have always worked for you, but if you’ve tried a lot of things and System Restore just doesn’t work at all, try performing system image backups. These will create an image of your system when it’s stable and performing smoothly so you can restore your machine to that state in case it runs into problems. Windows 7 already has a function for you to create system repair disks and images. Just type ‘repair’ or ‘system repair’ in the Start search box and follow the instructions to create a repair disk.

system restore disabled

To create system images, type ‘back up’ in the Start search box.

Click on Create a System Image on the left of the window.

You’ll be prompted to choose somewhere to save your system image so you can start saving the backup. To restore image backups, read this.

You can also use Clonezilla, Paragon’s Drive Backup Express or any of the excellent 5 tools in this list.

If you would rather reinstall Windows, read Jorge’s guide for reinstalling without losing your data.

Additional Consideration: Make Sure Restore Points Are Being Created

Just to be on the safe side, check regularly that restore points are being created because the last thing you want is to find out your System Restore function doesn’t work after your computer has gone awry. Type ‘rstrui’ in the Start search box. Click Next on the dialog and on the next screen, make sure there are recent restore points.

system restore not working

How do you deal when System Restore is not working? Let us know in the comments!

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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Comments (8)
  • Javier Moreno-Pollarolo

    Oh I’m struggling with this one hard. I even did the repository reset, the volume shadow copy, and NOTHING. Now, I wonder if system restore itself conflicts with the Backup creation service…

  • Robert

    Oh thank you so much for that. My system crashed and reverted the OS to Japanese but the keyboard stayed in English so I was limited to what I could type into the Start menu.

    Safe Mode restart then an earlier restore worked for me. That saved me hours of ballache.

  • Jamie

    I used system restore and it said it was successful, but the bad image message still came up after I restarted my computer. Now what?

  • vishwesh

    Same problem here gursharan do u find any solution?

  • Gursharan Pannu

    It shows ” there was unexpected error in property page
    The volume shadow copy service used by system restore is not working
    .for more information view the event log (0*81000202)
    Please close property page and try again”

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.