Windows 10: How to Use System Restore and Create a Restore Point

When something goes wrong with your Windows 10 PC, the first point of call should be to perform a system restore. Though a previously created restore point, you can bring your computer back to a previous point and likely fix many of its issues in the process.

A Windows 10 system restore can be helpful if you run into a faulty update or driver, or if you made incorrect changes to the registry. However, it’s worth pointing out that a system restore won’t affect your documents, pictures, videos, or anything else in the %UserProfile% folder.

As a result, the tool is not suitable for rolling back changes to an Office document, for example, and it isn’t a suitable solution to get rid of malware. Though it may help to remove some malicious files, they can easily persist in the folders that aren’t changed.

Whatever your use, we’re going to show you How to create a restore point in Windows 10 and how to perform a system restore from boot/Windows 10 recovery and via the usual desktop interface. Let’s get started:

How to Automatically Create Restore Points in Windows 10

You can create a restore point in Windows 10 manually or automatically. We’re going to cover the latter first.

  1. Open system restore

    Press the Windows key and type “system restore”. Click the first result under ‘Best match’.

    Windows 10 - Search - System Restore

  2. Configure system restore settings

    In the “System Protection” tab, chose the drive press “Configure…”.

    Windows 10 - System Restore

  3. Adjust your space allocation 

    Move the “Max Usage” slider until it’s at an amount you’re comfortable with. This largely depends on how much space you have to spare on your drive. As a rule of thumb, I wouldn’t go much over 10% of your drive space.

    Windows 10 - System Restore - System Protection for Local Disk C
    Press “OK”. Your Windows 10 will now automatically create system restore points after an update or other major changes.

How to Manually Create Restore Points in Windows 10

Often, you make changes to your system that Windows 10 doesn’t deem worthy of an automatic restore point. This is when a manual entry comes in handy.

  1. Open system restore settings

    Press the Windows key and type “system restore”. Click the first result under ‘Best match’.

    Windows 10 - Search - System Restore

  2. Initiate restore point creation 

    In the “System Protection” tab, click “Create…”.

    Windows 10 - System Restore - Create

  3. Name your restore point 

    In the ‘Create a restore point’ window, type a description. It may be tempting, but don’t call it “asdf”. Names should be descriptive so you can remember exactly why you made it. Windows saves the date and time automatically, so there’s no need to add that. Press “Create”.

    Windows 10 - System Restore - Create a Restore Point

How to Use System Restore to Return to a Previous Restore Point

The easiest way to restore from a point is via the system properites interface when already signed in.

  1. Open System Protection 

    Press the Windows key and type “system restore”. Click the first result under ‘Best match’.

    Windows 10 - Search - System Restore

  2. Open “System Restore…” 

    Windows 10 - Start System Restore

  3. Click “Next” 

    Windows 10 - System Restore - Assistant

  4. Select your restore point 

    The system restore wizard will now show a list of recent restore points. If you labeled correctly, it should be simple enough to find the one you’re looking for. Otherwise, go by the date and time on the left-hand column. Click on the correct Windows 10 restore point and choose “Scan for affected programs”.

    Windows 10 - System Restore - Select Restore Point and Scan for affected programs

  5. Check the affected programs list 

    Windows will now return a list of programs and drivers, including those that will be deleted and restored. If necessary, make a back up of the applications and remember that even restored ones may not function correctly. When you’re done, hit “Close”.

    Windows 10 - System Restore - Scan for affected Programs

  6. Continue the restore process 

    Once you’ve made any necessary backups, press “Next” in the system restore wizard.

    Windows 10 - System Restore - Start Restore

  7. Press “Finish” to initiate restore point recovery 

    Windows 10 - System Restore - Confrim your restore point

  8. Confirm warning message 

    You’ll now be asked if you’re sure you want to perform a restore. This is because the process can take some time and cannot be undone. If you move to an earlier point, you can’t retrieve your current data again. If you’re fine with that, click “Yes”.

    Windows 10 - System Restore - Confirm restoreWindows 10 will now perform the restore, restarting several times. You must ensure your laptop is plugged into the mains at this point and do not turn it off even if it looks stuck.

How to load System Restore at Boot from Advanced Startup Options

If your PC is experiencing serious problems, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to log in to Windows at all. There’s no need to fret, as you can perform a system restore from boot.

  1. Boot Windows 10 into Advanced Startup Options 

    When you boot your PC, enter Windows 10 recovery. If you’re unsure how to do so, refer to our guide here. Click “Troubleshoot”.

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup

  2. Choose “Advanced options” 

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup - Troubleshoot

  3. Click “System Restore” 

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup - Troubleshoot - Advanced Options (1)

  4. Press “Next” 

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup - System Restore

  5. Scan for affected programs 

    The system restore wizard will now show a list of recent restore points. If you labeled correctly, it should be simple enough to find the one you’re looking for. Otherwise, go by the date and time on the left-hand column. Click on the correct Windows 10 restore point and choose “Scan for affected programs”.

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup - System restore - Select restore point

  6. Note any possible changes to installed programs and drivers 

    The tool will inform you of any programs and drivers that will be uninstalled or restored. Even if you can’t boot into your OS, you may be able to back up these files via the command line if you want to save the data. Once you’re happy, click “Close”.

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup - System restore - Scan for affected Programs

  7. Choose your restore point 

    Back on Windows 10’s main system restore screen, click on your restore point and then on “Next”.

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup - System restore - Start restore

  8. Click “Finish” to initiate restore point recovery

    Double-check the time and date, before pressing “Finish”.

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup - System restore - Confirm restore point

  9. Confirm warning message

    Once you perform a system restore from boot, there’s no going back. Data outside of your user folder will be permanently changed and you could lose progress if you aren’t vigilant. The process could also take some time, so ensure you’re on mains power and don’t turn off the PC even if it looks stuck.

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup - System restore - Confirm your restore point

  10. Wait for files to be restored

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup - System restore - Restoring files
  11. Wait for the system to restart and configure 

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup - System restore - System Restore process (1)

  12. Restart your PC

    The system will now tell you that your restore is complete. Click “Restart” to complete the process and use your PC as normal.

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup - System restore - finished