12 Tips to Fix Windows System Restore

Brad Jones 18-05-2016

System Restore is a Windows feature that allows your computer to revert back to an earlier state What You Need To Know About Windows System Restore Imagine the trouble you could find yourself in, if your system failed! The Windows System Restore feature could save your butt. This article explains how to create and use Windows restore points. Read More . This can be a real lifesaver — so long as it works.


If System Restore decides not to cooperate, it can add an extra layer of frustration onto your existing issues. Many different factors can affect its performance, but these pointers should help you get to the root of the problem.

1. Create a System Restore Point Manually

Your first port of call during System Restore irregularities should be to manually create a System Restore point. While this is unlikely to solve the problem outright, you may well be presented with an error message that makes it easier to diagnose what’s wrong.

restore point

To get started, type Restore Point into your search bar and click on the result titled Create a restore point. Click the button labelled Create and choose a name, then wait for the process to complete and see if an error message pops up.

2. Check System Restore is Active on All Volumes

System Restore may simply not be activated on your computer. This is particularly relevant if you’re using more than one drive, or have recently swapped your system storage from one volume to another How To Shrink & Extend Volumes Or Partitions in Windows 7 In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, resizing your volumes or re-partitioning your hard drive has become a lot easier than in previous Windows versions. However, there are still a few pitfalls that will require you... Read More , as drives can have their protection turned on and off individually.


restore point protection

Type Restore Point into the search bar and click on Create a Restore Point. You’ll see the Available Drives listed under the Protection Settings subheading, alongside a column telling you whether or not they’re protected. To change this setting, click on the desired drive to highlight it and then click on Configure. A radio toggle will allow you to turn System Restore protection on or off.

As with almost any other technical issue, turning System Restore off and on again is well worth a try.

3. Disable Antivirus Software

Using a reliable piece of antivirus software 3 Things Your Antivirus Doesn't Take Care Of Antivirus softwre should be installed on every computer, but what doesn't it take care of? Which aspects of your antivirus could leave you or your business exposed, even when you've installed and updated? Read More is a great way to keep your system protected against malware and other undesirable installs, but sometimes this kind of utility can cause problems for other tasks. If you’re facing difficulties with System Restore, briefly disable your antivirus software early on during your troubleshooting — it may well fix things.


4. Check Your Disk Space Allocation

Your Restore Points will fail if there isn’t enough space Save Tons of Disk Space on Windows 10 With This Quick Tip Disabling this particular feature in Windows could free up gigabytes of disk space instantly. Read More allocated for their storage. To see how much space you have assigned to this task, enter Restore Point into the search bar and open the entry titled Create a restore point.

configure storage allocation

Click the Configure button and you’ll be able to tweak your Disk Space Usage. Try using the slider to increase your allocated space, then create a new Restore Point to see whether it has had the desired effect.

5. Confirm Essential Services are Running

System Restore relies on a few different services to do its job; without them, it can’t function. Fortunately, it’s very easy to check whether or not they are active by typing Services into the search bar and opening the app.


You’ll be presented with a long list of all the services that are loaded onto your computer, but you’re just looking for three:

  • Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider Service
  • Task Scheduler
  • Volume Shadow Copy

Make sure the Name column is sorted alphabetically, then skim through the list to find these three services. You need to confirm that all of them are Running and are set to Automatic in the Startup Type column.

services running

6. Run Check Disk via Command Prompt

Check Disk is a system tool built into Windows that can verify the integrity of a file system, and fix logical errors. The utility is accessed via the command prompt A Beginner's Guide To The Windows Command Line The command line lets you communicate directly with your computer and instruct it to perform various tasks. Read More — for the uninitiated, you can do this in Windows 10 by right-clicking the Start Button and selecting Command Prompt (Admin).


command prompt

To run Check Disk, input the following command:

chkdsk /f /r

You might also want to try the similar System File Checker tool with this command:

sfc /scannow

7. Boot Into Safe Mode

Problems affecting System Restore can often be traced back to services and drivers from a source other than Microsoft. Safe Mode strips your computer’s abilities back to the bare essentials, meaning that those processes won’t interfere with your procedure. You’ll still have to find the culprit if you want to fix the issue permanently, but dropping into Safe Mode can be a useful stopgap if you’re in a bind.

Windows 10 msconfig

To boot into Safe Mode on Windows 10 How to Boot in Safe Mode on Windows 10 Facing Windows booting problems? Safe Mode is a built-in Windows 10 troubleshooting feature you should try first. Read More , type msconfig into the search bar and open System Configuration. Head to the Boot tab and tick the checkbox marked Safe boot, with the radio toggle set to Minimal. Then try running System Restore from Safe Mode.

8. Try Selective Startup

Selective Startup is a similar tool to Safe Mode, in that it reduces the amount of processes running on your computer to make it easier to diagnose problems. Type System Configuration into the search box and open the top result to get started.

selective startup

You can check and uncheck the Load system services and Load startup items boxes to customize how your computer behaves at startup. For more information on using Selective Startup to troubleshoot, refer to Microsoft’s guide to the process.

9. Consult the Event Viewer

You might be able to find some clues about errors pertaining to System Restore processes by delving into the Event Viewer. Search for the utility and open it up to get started — you’ll need to expand the Windows Logs folder, then click on Applications.

event viewer

Scroll through the results to find anything with Error in the Level column. Click on an individual event to display its description, and see if that offers up any reason that it might be connected to System Restore. You can do a Google search 3 Google Search Easter Eggs You Didn’t Know About Here are a few Easter eggs in Google's search engine that you might not have known about. Read More for any related errors that you find to see what the best course of action is.

10. Check Your Timing

As simple as it might sound, your System Restore strife might be caused by something as straightforward as your computer being asleep when it’s scheduled to create a new image. Your PC won’t be able to wake itself up to do the job — unless you have a handy tool called Restore Point Creator.

restore point creator

Among a host of other advantages, Restore Point Creator offers users the opportunity to schedule the task for the future, and instruct their system to wake up at that specified time. This option is available by navigating to System Restore Point Utilities > Schedule creation of System Restore Points and then checking the box labelled Wake computer if the system is sleeping.

One point to remember is that Restore Point Creator uses Task Scheduler to implement this feature 7 Nerdy Things You Can Automate with the Windows Task Scheduler The Windows Task Scheduler can automate almost anything. If you can make it happen in a command line or a Windows script, you can schedule it with the Task Scheduler. Let us demonstrate. Read More . As such, you’ll have to check that your computer is compatible with the tool.

11. Employ a Third-Party Alternative

If you really can’t fix System Restore, you could always try a different solution. This won’t help anyone in the midst of a crisis right now, but for those readers that are just setting up their defenses, a backup plan could pay dividends down the line. Deep Freeze is one paid program that fulfills a similar role to System Restore, but there are also other free alternatives.

You might also check out these rescue and restore disks for your Windows System Restore The 5 Best Rescue and Recovery Disks for a Windows System Restore Here are the best Windows rescue disks to help you access your computer for making repairs and backups, even when it won't boot. Read More .

12. The Last Resort

If you’ve tried everything else, you’re probably ready to resort to desperate measures — and it’s best to consider all your options Should You Refresh, Reset, Restore, or Reinstall Windows? Ever wanted to reset Windows 7 without losing personal data? Between a factory reset and a reinstall, it was tough. Since Windows 8, we have two new options: Refresh and Reset. Which one is right... Read More before doing so.

However, at a certain point, you may well decide to do a complete factory reset How to Factory Reset Windows 10 or Use System Restore Learn how System Restore and Factory Reset can help you survive any Windows 10 disasters and recover your system. Read More . This is a bold move, as it will return your PC to the state it was when you bought it. Make sure to back up any personal data you might need, so long as you’re able to.

Still having trouble with System Restore? Ask for help in the comments section below!

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  1. Joe Mabry
    March 24, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    March 24, 2017
    I have tried all these things, nothing works.
    System Restore goes thru the motions and then says it couldn't
    restore. I'm lost.

  2. Anonymous
    May 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    I'm glad to see that people are starting to ackowledge that WSR is flawed. I've had problems going back to Win 7, but at the time there wasn't an alternative. With programs like Rollback Rx and Comodo Time Machine it's proof that you can easily do what WSR does but a lot better.

    I will try some of these ideas though, because while I use Rollback Rx, I do want to better understand WSR and perhaps my past issues with it could be fixed.

    Great article none the less!