Home > Think Tank > How to Restore Your System to an Earlier Restore Point
October 13, 2016

How to Restore Your System to an Earlier Restore Point

You have System Restore enabled, and you’ve been diligent about creating restore points whenever you mess with your system. Then, one fateful day, the inevitable happens–something goes wonky with your system, and you want to restore to an earlier restore point.

You’ll start the restore process from the same “System Protection” tab where you configure System Restore options. Hit Start, type “restore,” and then click “Create a restore point.” On the “System Protection” tab, click the “System Restore” button.

The welcome page of the System Restore wizard just gives you a brief description of the process. Click “Next” to go on.

The next page shows you the available restore points. By default, the only thing showing will probably be the automatic weekly restore point and any manual restore points you’ve created. Select the “Show more restore points” option to see any automatic restore points created before app or driver installations.

Select the restore point you want–remember, the most recent working restore point is ideal–and then click “Scan for affected programs” to have System Restore detect any programs that will be uninstalled during the process.

System Restore will present you with two lists. The top list shows you programs and drivers that will be deleted if you restore Windows to the selected restore point. The bottom list shows programs and drivers that might be restored by the process. Again, even programs and drivers that get restored might not function properly until you do a full reinstall.

When you’re ready to restore, click the restore point you want to use and then click Next. Note that you can skip the scanning step and just click Next anyway, but it’s always good to see what apps will be affected before you start the process.

Next, you’re asked to confirm the restoration. Make sure you’ve selected the right restore point and click “Finish.”

System Restore informs you that once it starts, the restore process cannot be interrupted. Click “Yes” to start.

Windows will restart your PC and begin the restore process. It can take a while for System Restore to reinstate all those files–plan for at least 15 minutes, possibly more–but when your PC comes back up, you’ll be running at your selected restore point. It’s now time to test whether it resolved whatever problems you were having. And remember that System Restore creates an additional restore point right before performing the restore process, so you can always undo your actions by performing this same process and selecting that new restore point.
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