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How to Enable or Disable System Restore in Windows

System Restore is a feature built into Windows that periodically creates “restore points” or backups of system files and / or user files so that you can restore your system to a previous state in case something goes wrong.

Typically, Windows creates these system restore points automatically before certain events, such as installing new software, updating a driver, installing Windows updates, and so on. If none of these events occur, Windows creates a restore point every seven days. P>

For files, System Restore will keep a copy of the file or folder when it changes, but only when a restore point is created. Then you can restore the previous version of the file or folder simply by right-clicking the file or folder.

Don’t think of System Restore as a solution to backing up your files and folders because it’s not as reliable as using Windows backup or a third-party backup program.

Enable System Restore

By default, System Restore should already be enabled in Windows unless you manually disabled it. To enable System Restore, we need to open the System Protection tab. You can do this in one of two ways. Please note that the instructions below will work on Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10.

Click the “Start” button and type “System Restore”. You will likely have several different options and want to select Create a restore point.

If System Restore is disabled, the Protection column for each hard drive partition will display Off.

Please note that if you have multiple hard drives on your computer, you can see them all listed in the Protection Settings section. Windows usually installs under C: (System), so click on it to select it. Then click the “Configure” button.

Click the Enable System Protection radio button and set the Disk Space Usage slider to a value between 3 and 5 percent. Please note that this value will be based on the size of the partition, not the size of the hard drive.

Recommended disk space usage for system recovery

Use the recommended disk space to restore the system

This means you can have a 1TB hard drive, but partitioned into partitions C and D. C is the system partition that Windows is installed on, it can be as small as 100GB and the rest is in partition D If you enable System Restore on drive C, then 3% will be 3 GB and 5% will be 5 GB.

If you only have one huge C partition that is the size of the entire drive, then 3% of 1 TB would be a whopping 30 GB, which is a lot. In such cases, just set the value to 1% or 2%.

Whichever percentage you use, just make sure the value is greater than 1000 MB or at least 1 GB. Please note that each GB can contain from 1 to 3 restore points, depending on what you have on that partition.

I recommend a value between 3 GB and 10 GB for system recovery as it can be very useful in certain situations. The more you have, the more likely you are to be able to recover your computer from a malfunction.

If you want to reduce the amount of space used by System Restore on your system, just set the slider to a lower percentage. Alternatively, you can click the Delete button to remove all current restore points for the drive. This way, you can leave system protection enabled, but free up space if you are running out of hard disk space.

Disable system restore

Turning off System Restore is as easy as turning it on. Click “Start”, type “System Restore” and then click “Create a restore point”.

Select the hard drive for which you want to disable protection from the list and click “Configure”. On the next screen, select Disable System Protection or Disable System Protection.

Click OK and System Restore will be disabled. You will also receive a message that all restore points will be removed from the disk and no new ones will be created.

As mentioned earlier, I don’t recommend disabling system protection unless you know what you are doing and already have another backup solution. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave comments. Enjoy!

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