Find out if System Restore is enabled on Windows 11 Devices

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 2, 2022
Windows 11 Help
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System Restore is a built-in backup and restore feature of the Windows operating system. It is part of Microsoft's Windows 11 operating system and can be used to restore the system to a previous state, provided that snapshots were created in the past.

System Restore is useful in certain situations, for instance to roll back Windows updates or resolve critical issues on the system that did not exist previously.

System Restore may not be enabled by default on Windows 11 PCs. It is a good idea to check the feature to find out if it is enabled or not. Users who use third-party backup software regularly, e.g., Paragon Backup, to create system backups, may have less need for the feature.

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Note: System Restore can also be managed from the command line.

Check if System Restore is enabled on Windows 11

system restore off

On Windows 10 devices, you could open the Advanced System Settings that are part of the Control Panel. Microsoft removed the link from the Control Panel, which means that users need to go through the Settings application to find out if System Restore is enabled.

Here is how that is done:

  1. Open the Start menu and select the Settings application.
  2. Open System if it is not open already.
  3. Select About, an option at the bottom of the System Settings page.
  4. Activate the "System Protection" link on the page that opens.

Windows 11 opens the System Properties window, a classic Windows that has not been migrated to the Settings application yet.

Check the Protection Settings in the window; if you see "Off" next to the main drive, or other drives, then System Restore is not turned on. You will also notice that the System Restore button on the page is not active as well, meaning that you can't use it to restore the system to a previous state.

How to enable and configure System Restore on Windows 11

system restore windows 11 configure

Select the Configure button in the window after making sure that the main drive, drive c: usually, is selected, to activate System Restore or change parameters. The page that opens displays three core options:

  • Turn System Restore on or off by switching between "Turn on system protection" and "Disable system protection".
  • Change the percentage of disk space that System Restore may use for its functionality.
  • Delete all restore points for the drive.

Repeat the process for other drives if you want to. Once turned on, you may use the create button to create a new system restore snapshot right away.

Windows 11 will create snapshots automatically if system restore is turned on, for instance, when updates are installed.

You may use the option to create manual system restore points regularly.

Closing words

System Restore is a useful feature of Windows 11 and previous versions of Windows. It is unclear why it is not enabled by default, at least on some systems. One explanation is the required storage space that it uses when enabled.

The solution is not perfect. While it works well when it comes to the installation of updates, usually, it may fail in other situations, e.g. accidental deletion of system files or malware attacks.

Now You: do you use System Restore?

Summary
Find out if System Restore is enabled on Windows 11 Devices
Article Name
Find out if System Restore is enabled on Windows 11 Devices
Description
Find out if System Restore is enabled on a device running Windows 11, and how to configure the feature.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. VioletMoon said on January 2, 2022 at 7:45 pm
    Reply

    Not so sure System Restore is enabled by default in Windows 10 or 11. Not to worry.

    Use GodMode on the desktop to make it super simple to find/configure the feature.

    Recommended size to allocate to restore points based on drive size.

  2. beemeup5 said on January 2, 2022 at 8:24 pm
    Reply

    System Restore can maybe help in a pinch, but it’s no substitute for full system backups using something like Aomei Backupper.or Hasleo System backup (free). Sadly most don’t bother having a backup until they experience the deep regret that comes from needing a backup, and not having one.

  3. ULBoom said on January 2, 2022 at 8:54 pm
    Reply

    Not having it enabled by default is crazy. What it makes is called a Restore Point, btw. This is a very valuable utility especially if you like to fiddle with things.

    Dumb thing is lots of software automatically or with a prompt, makes a Restore Point before doing its thing.

  4. boris said on January 3, 2022 at 5:32 am
    Reply

    Fore more than 25 years I had not had any luck with System Restore. When I needed it, it always give me some error. Now I put copy of all my programs installers, browsers’ backups and personal files on external hard drive.

    1. tinwheeler said on January 3, 2022 at 2:18 pm
      Reply

      Thank you, I’m glad I’m not the only one who does that. I hope more people read this and follow suit

    2. ULBoom said on January 3, 2022 at 4:02 pm
      Reply

      I’ve never had it not work. Why the difference, IDK but I rarely use restore points anyway. Windows seems to work differently for every user, weird. I do external backups, too, with AOMEI. I don’t see a restore point as a backup replacement (they’re on the device, backup no-no #1), more of an extensive undo for when things go wrong: updates, software installs, bad drivers, etc.

  5. Sebas said on January 3, 2022 at 2:59 pm
    Reply

    I have used it a good deal of times over the years and it did never cause any problem. One of the really useful features of windows. Advantage over Macrium system image is it does not touch your files. Though system images are still necessary, if only after a new W10 version all your restore points have been vanished.

  6. Software Tester said on January 5, 2022 at 1:17 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for the info martin , I usually check it by using “SystemPropertiesProtection” in Run dialog.
    You can also use the “System Restore Tool” to manage System restore
    https://www.portablefreeware.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=24394

  7. matthiew said on January 7, 2022 at 2:50 am
    Reply

    As an IT Helpdesk technician System Restore was a lifesaver in Win95-Win7. In Win8 and Win10, however, it has become completely unreliable. I have seen so many systems where every single restore point fails to apply, and so many more systems where System Restore is disabled, and disables again even after I have enabled it. Hopefully they fix the problems in Win11, but I’m not holding my breath.

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