Cannot Create a Restore Point

Category: Windows

Suddenly I'm not able to create a Restore Point. I have been getting error message 0x80042306. I have tried reboot, tried Safe mode, neither has helped. I am thinking of doing a complete recovery, but thought I would ask you before taking this drastic step. Any help would be appreciated.

Why Can't I Create a Restore Point?

Windows has a nifty feature called System Restore that lets you roll back changes that have been made on your system, to return to a previous point when things were working. Restore points are created automatically by Windows on a weekly basis, or when you install a new program. You can also create a restore point manually, if you're planning to make some changes and you want to make sure you can fall back to a known good configuration. See my related article Time Travel With System Restore to learn more about System Restore.

But sometimes when Windows tries to create a restore point, a cryptic error occurs. Here are some tips to help resolve the "Unable to Create a Restore Point" error.
System Restore

Let's start with the specific case mentioned above. Unfortunately, the error code 0x80042306 is not very helpful. The explanatory text from Microsoft simply says, "The restore point could not be created for the following reason: The shadow copy provider had an error. Check the System and Application event logs for more information." It turns out that the "shadow copy provider" is the Restore Point creator module of Windows, and a "shadow copy" or backup copy of your system files, is just another name for a Restore Point. In other words, "Something bad happened... Go away."

Sometimes just restarting your computer will solve this problem. Try again to create a restore point, either manually, or by re-attempting the software installation that was unsuccessful.

Defragmenting the hard drive may also cure this issue. It's possible that the Volume Shadow Copy service is stuck on some corrupted disk sectors. Checking the disk for errors and repairing them may work. See my article on Disk Defraggers for help with this task.

Some users have found that setting their Volume Shadow Copy service to "auto" instead of "manual" activation fixes this Restore Point problem. In Vista or Windows 7, type "services.msc" in the Search box and press enter. XP users, click Start, then Run, then enter services.msc. Find Volume Shadow Copy in the list of services and set it to "auto".

Some of the system files may be missing or corrupted. Try running a System File Checker scan to correct any such problems. The procedure is somewhat complex; you'll find it described here.

A "Clean Boot" will start Windows with a minimum of drivers and third-party software running. A clean boot can tell you whether the System Restore problem is likely due to a conflict with other software that has been installed recently. If the problem does not occur after a clean boot, you should begin eliminating third-party software until you can create a Restore Point again. The last program you removed was likely the culprit. Use Add/Remove Programs on the Control Panel to remove software from your computer.

Security software, including firewalls and antivirus suites, are sometimes the cause of restore point creation problems. You might try temporarily disabling such software one program at a time, to see if the problem disappears.

On final option is to disable System Restore and then re-enable it. I mention this last because it will remove all of your existing system restore points. To do this, open the System Properties window by right-clicking the (My) Computer icon on your desktop, then select Properties. Next, open the System Restore (XP) or System Protection (Vista, Win7) tab. Turn off System Restore, restart your computer, then re-enable it. Make sure System Restore is only active for the hard drive on which Windows is installed, usually the C: drive.

Do you have something to say about creating restore points, or using System Restore? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Cannot Create a Restore Point"

Posted by:

Sue Mignault
25 Oct 2011

System Restore and Norton Internet Security

If you have Norton Internet Security installed, then before you attempt to use System Restore in Vista, you need to disable the feature in Norton Internet Security that protects it from attack by malware. If you do not disable this feature, then System Restore will probably not work.

To disable this feature:

Open Norton Internet Security
Click on “Settings”
Click on “Miscellaneous Settings”
Go to section – “Product Security”
Go to “Norton Product Tamper Protection” - click this to off position.

Proceed to use System Restore.

Remember to reverse the above after restoration has taken place.

For the first time since I got my laptop with Vista on it I have never been able to do a system restore until trying this suggestion. It worked like a charm.

Posted by:

25 Oct 2011

The restore points continue to be saved and take up a significant volume of one's hard disk. When and how much can be deleted safely?

Posted by:

25 Oct 2011

Just Google blank system restore.calendar. Someone wrote a program that fixes it.

Posted by:

25 Oct 2011

I had this problem a while back.
It was caused by lack of disc space. The cause of the lack of disc space?
Dr Watson, no less. When I looked further, this waste of space de-bugger had amassed Gb's of records. These I deleted and purged from the recycle bin and wonder of wonders, I had system restore capability again.
Moral, don't just let the program run, it will eat your disc space.

Posted by:

Ken Gash
25 Oct 2011

I have no trouble creating Restore Points but I cannot Restore. Every time I try to restore to a previous state, it goes through the entire process, reboots and then tells me that the restore was not done and says it is because a needed file is missing. Windows 7 PRO 64x

Posted by:

Robb Thurston
25 Oct 2011

I recently lost System Restore on my XP home edition with Serv. Pk.3. I used Wise Registry cleaner,and it took out some links, despite the fact that I looked at every suggested deletion. Fortunately I keep a complete restore disk with all my recent data and a copy of my OS--everything--on it.
Somehow System Restore was destroyed by a registry cleaner,and I got everything back with a total backup disk. Of course I removed the registry cleaner.
System Restore has saved my neck sometimes,and if that fails,a total backup works.

Posted by:

25 Oct 2011

My first reaction for ANY problem like this including the inability to install Microsoft updates is to CLEAN BOOT. Do make sure readers understand this is different from a COLD boot.

This URL explains how to do a clean boot.

Posted by:

Tony Capezzali
25 Oct 2011

In XP the problem stems from a lack of space on the system drive and requires that enough files be moved to another drive to free up space.

Posted by:

25 Oct 2011

Thanks Bob, great article.
You already touched on several things that might interfere with setting a Restore Point.
From my own experience ,I found the following items interfering:As mentioned, AV-and anti-malware programs,also indexing programs, auto defraggers (running in background),open programs or applications, browsers,IM or Skype etc, software updating etc.
Really anything that causes a lot of activity can or will interfere with setting a reliable Restore Point.IOW, the "quieter" things are ,the more chance you have in setting a successful RP.
Conversely, restoring is also best done without a pile of programs loading on bootup.

Posted by:

25 Oct 2011

Hi Bob,
Seemingly, you frequently find nervs of Widows users. I had the same problem on my Vista, same messages and frustration as M$ overcomplicated single user home systems doubletalk at a problem.
For a few years it worked fine but once after an automatic update from the blue the nasty abrakadabra message you quoted poped up. I could not backup anything.Nothing helped yet. Will try your advices with little faith. My operating system was "factory" installed, unfortunately. Can not just reinstall, the vendor disappeared, lol.

Posted by:

25 Oct 2011

I had a problem with system restore and after a couple of days of trying everything I narrowed it down to the Security Essentials program. It had installed some sort of update program that for some reason screwed up my System Restore.After I uninstalled Security Essentials ( another momentous task that I finally had to use a Brute Force Unistaller to completely clean it up!!!))everything worked fine.I have not gone back to the Windows security products since and most likely never will!!.

Posted by:

Robert Kemper
26 Oct 2011

Thanks for another informative letter.

Posted by:

26 Oct 2011

I have found that, occasionally, rootkits and viruses are to blame for this error. Malicious code finds a way to shut down system restore and restore points and will not let you use it. Try Malwarebytes and SuperantiSpyware tools in safe mode. If all else fails try Combofix, but only as a last resort. If a rootkit is nasty enough, it will cause blue screen when Combofix is used and you will have to do an OS re-install. This is rare, but possible.

Posted by:

26 Oct 2011

Another culprit situation regarding ability to "Restore from" a Restore Point, may be a prior use of an anti-virus "if" the anti-virus identified an infection in one or more Restore points "and" was allowed to repair/delete/quarantine the problem. Restore Points are like a multi-linked chain. Remove one link in the chain, and the chain is effectively broken. Because of the "broken link chain" Windows will not be able to restore from that Restore Point, AND the process "may" affect some or all of the other Restore Points.
Solution: If you have run a security scan and allowed removals from System Restore,-- and once your machine is clean and functioning correctly -- you can purge your Restore Points at that time and create a new fresh Restore Point, which should work just fine for future Restore function.

Posted by:

27 Oct 2011

I had issues with System Restore so I went for ERDNT, which works just fine for me.
After several years of use I've had no problms

Posted by:

31 Oct 2011

Good article, thanks Bob.
I no longer rely on the unreliable System Restore and also use ERUNT manually prior to making any major changes. It is so quick, makes a complete registry backup, and is quick and easy to do a restore. Highly recommended.

Posted by:

05 Nov 2011

Well, I try to keep all data backed up to a separate drive so I don't lose anything.
For a few years it worked fine. What?!?! This is a recipe for "software rot"! You need to do a clean install every so often, or rot will creep in, slowing things down, causing problems, and generally creating a mess. I keep all photos, music, files and other stuff I don't want to lose on a Passport drive, and when Windows throws too big a rod, I just do a clean install, put everything back the way I want it, and go from there. Much better than a system with rot, bad drivers, errors, and other stuff.

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