Why and How to Enable System Restore in Windows 10
Hello My Fellow Windows 10 Users,
If you didn't know, system restore is disabled in Windows 10. I strongly
suggest that you enable this time-tested feature as you never know when you
may need it.
On a personal note, although I've been using Windows since version 2.0, it
wasn't until last month when, attempting to do something rather
unconventional on my primary Windows 7 PC, that I found myself in an
application driver quagmire. I can honestly say, were it not for Windows 7
system restore, I would have had to completely reinstall Windows. In all
these years, I only needed this tool, once but, when I needed it, it was
The following article, at the end of which you will find its direct URL,
describes how and why to enable System Restore, in Windows 10.
Enjoy and Good Luck,
Why and How to Enable System Restore in Windows 10
By Jim Tanous posted on July 27, 2015
Although considered an improvement in most respects over Windows 8,
Microsoft's upcoming Windows 10 - set to launch Wednesday, July 29th -
curiously changes course on a relatively useful and important feature:
System Restore. Read on to find out why System Restore may be one of the
first things you'll want to enable after upgrading to Windows 10.
Getting to Know System Restore
First introduced more than 15 years ago as part of Windows ME, System
Restore tracks software installations, driver changes, and software updates,
and allows a user to revert their PC to a prior state if one of the
aforementioned events causes a problem. For example, System Restore can make
a backup of a PC's graphics card driver just before a new driver is
installed. If that new driver causes an issue - e.g., distorted colors,
reduced resolution, or a blank screen - the user can initiate a System
Restore procedure that will revert Windows back to the original working
An early version of System Restore in Windows ME.
By default, Windows will create a record of the changes introduced by a
system or software event - something called a restore point - automatically
as changes occur on a user's PC. Users also have the option of manually
creating restore points at any time, and are advised to do so before
performing major upgrades or changes to the system.
Although sometimes likened to features like Time Machine in OS X, it's
important to note that System Restore isn't a "backup" utility, at least not
in the usual sense. It's true that System Restore backs up important files
related to Windows, such as registry files, drive and boot configurations,
and hardware drivers, but the feature won't back up your user data such as
documents, music, or movies. Think of System Restore as backup for your
computer - the files that keep the system functioning, regardless of user
data - rather than backup for you.
The feature wasn't perfect, of course, didn't always work as intended, and
required users to reserve a portion of each drive on which System Restore
was enabled, but it was a handy and relatively easy to use safety measure
that saved countless Windows users from bad drivers and botched upgrades.
But the true beauty of System Restore, as many computer repair technicians
will attest, was that it was enabled by default on all recent versions of
Windows. This often made software repairs for novice users much easier, as
these users didn't even know that System Restore was enabled on their PC,
silently protecting them when they made the mistake of thinking that
deleting their chipset drivers was a good idea.
As we've recently learned, however, that changes in Windows 10.
System Restore in Windows 10
The good news first: System Restore is available and fully functional in
Windows 10. As we mentioned above, however, the bad news is that this
feature is turned off by default. Even worse, the interface to enable and
manage System Restore is relatively hidden in the legacy Control Panel, and
isn't something that a typical user will stumble upon while browsing the new
Windows 10 Settings app. That leaves users on their own to eventually
discover the feature, hear about it from colleagues, or find an article like
this one on the Web.
While there are new update and restore features built in to Windows 10,
including the option to roll the system back entirely to the previous
version of Windows, System Restore may still be a good choice for many
users. Here's how you can enable System Restore in Windows 10.
The easiest way to find the System Restore configuration window in Windows
10 is to simply search for it via the Start Menu. Just click on the Search
or Cortana icon in your desktop taskbar, or tap the Windows Key on your
keyboard, and type System Restore.
You'll see a search result appear labeled Create a restore point. Click it
and you'll be taken directly to the System Protection tab of the System
Properties window, which is where System Restore options are located.
Alternatively, you can navigate to this same location via Control Panel >
System > System Protection.
If you've used System Restore in a previous version of Windows, you'll
recognize the interface. All eligible drives will be listed in the
"Protection Settings" portion of the window, and you'll need to manually
enable System Restore on each drive you want protected. Due to the nature of
System Restore, however, most users will only need to enable it on their
primary C drive to gain adequate protection.
To enable System Restore in Windows 10, select your desired drive from the
list and click Configure. In the new window that appears, click the option
labeled Turn on system protection.
System Restore is useless without drive space in which to store its restore
points, of course, so you'll also need to reserve a portion of your drive
for this purpose in the Disk Space Usage section of the window. As you drag
the slider to the right, you'll see the designated usage space represented
both in actual size as well as a percentage of your drive. The more space
you assign to System Restore, the more restore points you'll have at your
disposal in the event of a critical system issue. Assigning too much space,
however, limits what's available to you for applications and user data, so
be sure to strike a good balance. On all but the smallest of drives, we
recommend reserving at least 10GB for System Restore.
With your changes made, click Apply and then OK to save your new
configuration and close the window. System Restore will now be enabled for
your selected drive, and you can let it operate automatically in the
background or manually create restore points as desired. If you ever
encounter an issue and need to perform a System Restore, just head back to
this same window and click System Restore to launch the restore interface.
Of note, in the event of catastrophic issues where Windows is no longer
bootable, you can access your system restore points from the Windows 10
Why System Restore is Important in Windows 10
As we mentioned earlier, System Restore has served an important role for
many users over the past 15 years of Windows, but it may be especially
important for Windows 10 users in mission critical environments. In the lead
up to the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft has revealed that most Windows 10
users will be required to apply system updates via the Windows Update
Microsoft has long used Windows Update to deliver security patches, bug
fixes, and new features to users, and most users were strongly urged to
accept the updates as they became available. But a measurable number of
Windows users failed to update in a timely manner, and there was nothing
Microsoft could do to force these users to upgrade.
Some users had good reasons to delay or avoid applying Windows updates:
updates could potentially conflict with certain software or hardware,
particularly in large businesses where custom software and configurations
are common, and some updates were known to have bugs that caused crashes or
system instability. Other users simply neglected proper maintenance
procedures and chose to leave their PCs unpatched.
Whatever the reason for avoiding Windows Updates, large numbers of Windows
installations are currently running without the latest updates, a problem
that creates a significant security vulnerability and one that Microsoft
seeks to fix with Windows 10. Here's how the Windows 10 update situation
For all intents and purposes, there are three versions of Windows 10 that
will be running on PCs this year: Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, and
Windows 10 Enterprise. Most consumers will get their free upgrade to Windows
10 Home or Pro based on the version of Windows 7 or 8 they are currently
When it comes to Windows updates, Windows 10 Home users will be required by
the Windows EULA to accept and install all security and feature updates that
Microsoft releases. Some options exist to delay the installation of these
updates for a short period of time, but Windows 10 Home users will get all
Windows updates soon after they are released.
Windows 10 Pro users, on the other hand, have a little bit more flexibility,
but it comes with a pretty big catch. These users can defer Windows updates
for up to 8 months by electing to join the Current Branch for Business
(CBB), an update roadmap intended for businesses that need to manage and
schedule updates for large groups of mission critical systems. Beyond that
maximum 8-month staging period, however, Windows 10 Pro users won't be able
to receive any future security fixes or feature improvements until they've
accepted all previous updates.
Out of these three primary versions of Windows 10, only Windows 10
Enterprise users have the ability to truly defer updates, and they can do so
for years while still receiving support from Microsoft. This was a necessary
concession by Microsoft, of course, to ensure that enterprise customers have
the flexibility to accommodate their unique needs, and Windows 10 Enterprise
customers are paying for the privilege, as this version of Windows is
ineligible for the free upgrade offer.
This move by Microsoft to force most Windows 10 users to accept updates will
likely be a positive change overall - preventing and combating security
threats will be easier once the majority of Windows users are running the
latest version of the operating system - but it's sure to cause issues for
some users, especially in the early days. That's where System Restore comes
Chances are that you'll be running a version of Windows 10 covered by
Microsoft's mandatory update policy. In addition to proper user backups
(you're keeping good backups of your data, right?) and the recovery tools
included in Windows 10, System Restore can provide another layer of security
if one of these upcoming mandatory Windows updates has an inherent problem,
or at the very least causes a compatibility issue unique to your PC and
configuration. You'll need to give up a small portion of your drive for
system restore points, but it's likely that you won't give that small
sacrifice a second thought if a future botched update forces you to turn to
We hope that Microsoft eventually sorts out this new process for updating
Windows, and that future updates are extremely reliable. Until then,
however, it's almost a certainty that some Windows 10 updates will slip
through with potentially catastrophic bugs and compatibility issues. Absent
abandoning Windows entirely, users will be forced to accept this new
reality, and while the vast majority of users will be completely fine, it
won't hurt to have a handy System Restore point standing by in case of
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