Bumping into trouble with Windows? If you have a restore point ready, you may be able to fix the problem.
Has Windows been acting flaky? It could be a specific piece of software that’s wreaking havoc on your system. Maybe you’ve installed a new application or driver. Perhaps Windows is crashing or blue screening and you have no idea why. Don’t worry because all is not lost if you have a system restore point waiting to roll your PC back to functionality.
A restore point is essentially a snapshot of Windows at any given time. You can create restore points on a regular basis, and if Windows ever breaks, you can bring it back to a point from before the problem occurred. The best part of using this method over a Recovery Drive is that only system files and settings will be affected, while all your documents and personal files will be left untouched.
Windows automatically creates a restore point at key moments, such as when you install certain software programs and drivers or apply Windows updates. However, you should manually create these points yourself on a regular basis, perhaps a couple of times a month, to ensure that your system can be restored to a recent state in the event of a mishap. You should also create one before you attempt any type of major change to Windows that could inadvertently lead to unstable behavior or other issues.
The Restore Point feature is available in Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7. It works the same in all three versions, but the way you get to the feature differs slightly. Here’s how to create and use a restore point in any of these versions of Windows.
Find System Protections
Windows 10 users can go to Settings > System > About and click the System Protection link. In Windows 8.1, right-click the Start button and select Control Panel. With Control Panel in icon view, click the System icon, then click System Protection.
If you’re still running Windows 7 (you shouldn’t be), click on the Start button and Select Control Panel. Click the System icon and then select System Protection. From here on, the process is virtually the same in Windows 10, 8.1, and 7.
Configure System Protection
The System Protection tab in the System Properties window displays your primary hard drive and any additional drives. If System Protection has not yet been enabled, the Create button is grayed out. In this case, select the drive you want to protect and then click the Configure button. At the next window, click Turn on System Protection. In Windows 7, you’ll also have to choose between restoring system settings and previous versions of files or only previous versions of files. In general, the first option is your safest bet.
You’ll then need to decide how much disk space you want to devote to all your restore points. If you run out of space, the oldest restore points will start getting deleted. If you have ample free space, then you may want to devote more storage for the restore points. Otherwise, you can stick with the suggested percentage, usually anywhere from 1% to 3% depending on the overall size of the drive.
Click OK and restore points will be created automatically at certain key moments. You can repeat these steps if you have a second drive that you wish to protect. You can also return to this screen in the future to delete all existing system restore points if you’re running low on disk space. To do this, click the Delete button and click Continue to confirm the deletion.
Create Manual Restore Points
create restore point
If you want to create a restore point manually, return to the System Protection tab under System Properties. Click the appropriate drive and hit the Create button. Type in a name for the restore point. Since the current date and time will automatically be added to the name, you might want to include a note about the action you’re about to take or another reason for the restore point.
name restore point
The current date and time will automatically be added to the name, so you don’t have to add those yourself. Click Create and Windows will tell you that the restore point was created successfully. You can repeat these steps if you want to create a restore point for a second drive. When done, click OK to shut down the System Protection window.
Now, if you have an issue, you can return to the System Protection window and click the System Restore button. At the Restore system files and settings screen, Windows explains what System Restore does. Click Next to view the system restore points for the drive you selected. Select a specific restore point, then click the Scan for affected programs button.
Windows scans for any applications that were added since the last restore point in order to delete them and looks for any that were removed in order to restore them. It also scans for any programs and drivers that might be restored but may not work correctly and may need to be reinstalled. Note the results if Windows finds anything important. After the scan completes, close the current window to return to the previous System Restore window.
Make sure the restore point you want to use is selected and click Next. At the next screen, Windows will ask you to confirm that this is the restore point you wish to apply. Click Finish to confirm and you will be told that System Restore cannot be interrupted. Click Yes to continue.
Windows will bring your system back to the restore point you selected and reboot, telling you that your files and settings are being restored. Once Windows is back up again, you can log in.
You should receive a message telling you that System Restore completed successfully. You may now need to reinstall any applications, drivers, or other software that were removed. You’ll also want to play around in Windows to see if the problem that prompted you to restore it has been eliminated.