Why is System Restore turned off in Windows 10? (And how to switch it back on again)

System Restore – a very useful tool when it comes to recovering from a bad program install or botched update is disabled by default in Windows 10.

What does this mean for you?

Hopefully not a lot – System Restore is only used when your computer is unable to start, bluescreens, or you experience random happenings in programs and can’t fix any other way. Therefore we hope you never need it! Having said that, the number of times I have visited clients and solved their issues with System Restore is uncountable!

Here’s how to turn it back on again!

  1. From the Desktop, in the search box type ‘System Protection’ and press enter when ‘create a restore point // control panel’ is displayed:

  1. Note under the protection column System (C:) (System), the status is ‘Off’
  2. Click the ‘Configure’ button
  3. Tick ‘turn on system protection’ and drag the slider to a reasonable amount of space.
  • The larger you make this the more restore points you have and the further back in time you can go.
  • For a drive that is larger than 250GB, I would recommend at least 10GB of space.
  1. Click Apply
  2. Click ‘Create’ and give the new point a name
  3. Wait for Windows to create the initial restore point and then click Ok

Here’s a quick video for these steps:

Why has Microsoft done this?

Nobody is entirely sure, but some current theories are:

  • On smaller devices (cheap tablets) with only 16 or 32gb of space, there isn’t enough room to have a system restore file as well.
  • Windows 10 has excellent ‘in-place upgrades’ from build to build, but this interferes with System Restore in some way, therefore they are turned off.
  • Windows 8/8.1 and 10 have ‘Reset/Refresh this PC’ which effectively reinstalls Windows whilst keeping all your files and programs installed. I love the idea of this, but still don’t trust it entirely!
  • System Restore is too complicated for end users (might be true, but it is very useful when troubleshooting a client’s computers!)
  • Users thought System Restore was a replacement for a backup – it’s not. System Restore is used to backup your computer’s settings, not your files.

If anyone has any more thoughts, or an official response from Microsoft, please let me know!

3 Comments

  • Dave Burton Reply

    My theory: they’re just stupid. When Bill Gates left Microsoft, the company’s average IQ declined so much that they now do idiotic things like disable System Restore.

  • Jim Murdock Reply

    Microsoft is preparing the public for another add-on app, “System Protection and Restore” that only costs $100.00.

  • Greg Reply

    I just got a massive update and it turned my system restore off. I did not like the update because it screwed up my monitor configuration and other nuisances and wanted to reverse it until I could get everything working like it did before the very sloppy, time-consuming and unwelcome ‘update’. Then I find system restore has once again been turned off. This is unacceptable! Microsoft thinks they know everything that is best for us and they take too much control. Google is even more guilty of the same thing. I prefer my own 30+ years at PC keyboards and building systems. I still think Windows XP was the best Microsoft OS ever (and Vista the worst). Why abandon the thing that works? This seems more like politics than computing and I find that thought disgusting.

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