System Restore for Windows 7

Category: Windows-7

Sometimes Windows 7 suddenly starts to misbehave for reasons unknown. You could spend hours tracking down the subtle change that caused the problem, or you could just go back to an earlier, pleasanter time when everything worked perfectly. That latter option is possible with System Restore. Here's how it works...

Fix Windows 7 Problems With System Restore

Installing new applications, Windows updates, or software drivers can sometimes cause Windows to behave unpredictably. If un-installing the new software doesn't cure the problem, or you're not sure which recently installed software is causing the problem, then System Restore can undo all of the changes made to your system up to a specific "restore point" in the past.

System Restore can also help if a virus or spyware is causing you trouble. If your internet security software doesn't clean up the mess, a trip back in time with System Restore might do the trick.

Restore points are snapshots of your system's registry and system information settings taken at various times, and saved in date-stamped restore point files. Windows 7 creates restore points automatically right before new software packages are installed using Windows Installer, when Windows Updates are installed, and about once every 24 hours of computer use. Also, users can manually create a restore point at any time.
System Restore Windows 7

To create a restore point, click the Start button and type, "create a restore point" in the Search box. Click the "create a restore point" link in the search results and then click the "Create" button at the bottom of the System Protection tab that appears. There are other things you can do on the System Protection tab, too.

Managing Restore Points

Restore point files are kept in a reserved area of your hard drive. The Configure button on the System Protection tab lets you configure what System Restore can save and restore. The first option, "Restore system settings and previous versions of files" gives you the most protection, but the restore point files created are larger and so fewer are saved at any given time. You can control the amount of disk space reserved for restore points on this tab as well. When the reserved space starts to run out, the oldest restore points are deleted to make room for new ones. If you have hundreds of gigabytes of available hard drive storage, this may not even be an issue.

Back on the System Protection tab, you can click the System Restore button to start restoring your system to an earlier time. Alternatively, you can launch system Restore by typing "system restore" in the Start search box and clicking the "system restore" link.

The System Restore utility displays a list of system restore points available to you. I recommend that you click the "Show more restore points" checkbox to show all of the available restore points. Select one that you feel will restore your system to a state when it was working well. But first, you may want to click that button that says, "scan for affected programs." These are programs that will be lost or restored to states prior to their last update during a System Restore.

It's important to remember that your data files will not be lost. Documents, photos, spreadsheets, etc., created by application programs, and other files stored in the My Documents folder, are off-limits to System Restore.

System Restore is the "undo button" that can save you hours of trying to figure out which of many recent changes is causing Windows to misbehave. It's worth a try, especially since you can undo the System Restore!

Do you have something to say about using System Restore on Windows 7? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "System Restore for Windows 7"

Posted by:

21 Mar 2011

My system restore point on Windows 7 disappears after signing onto Windows XP SP3 on dual boot system.

How can I prevent this?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I wonder if XP is creating restore points that overwrite the Win7 ones. Or maybe your disk space is too tight for both to exist. Try turning off System Restore on the XP system, and delete anything you don't need if you have limited space.

Posted by:

Bill Armstrong
21 Mar 2011

I have tried to use it at 3 different restore points. Each time I get a message that says the restore did not work. Is there any way to get system restore to work again? Thanks for your help with this.


Posted by:

22 Mar 2011

I see from your excellent article that System Restore in Windows 7 has some nice features like choosing what to save in system restore.

However, I have a Vista computer. Are these options available for Vista also? I have been disappointed that System Restore will only save like a week's worth of backups and no more. Because each restore is a very large file.

Any tips?


Posted by:

22 Mar 2011

While accessing tech support at Microsoft, the tech was having difficulty correcting some issues. I asked him "how about system restore?" I got a very quick and firm "no". The problem is in Win 7 IE 8 and it's still not right after at least 2 hrs with two different techs. One at level 1 , one at level 2 in remote access.Neither could figure it out. What does that say about Microsoft Tech Support? Thanks Joe

Posted by:

23 Mar 2011

If you want to create a restore point any time in 2 clicks, restore one in 3 or delete any uneeded ones, check out this little free program:

This site has several utilities they have developed that are useful.

Posted by:

William Borne
23 Mar 2011

I had same problem Joe, Try this

Posted by:

23 Mar 2011

I had trouble using Restore on my XP Pro machine with Panda Security installed but when I went to Microsoft Security Essentials it started working fine.

Posted by:

29 Mar 2011

Does a system restore keeps current data? Say a system restore point was created on 01/01/10 and i need to restore my windows 7 on 30/01/10. Will data's created at this last 29 days (01-30/01/10) backed up as well ??

EDITOR'S NOTE: System Restore doesn't touch user data (files you create). Only system files and programs.

Posted by:

Bruce Snider
30 Mar 2011

Is it possible to back up Restore points in Windows 7? You already told me that I cannot back up my Restore points in XP. (The first thing a virus did was erase all Restore points.)

EDITOR'S NOTE: A full disk backup or image would capture all the restore points...

Posted by:

03 May 2013

What can I do if system restore freezes and doesn't finish? I am using Windows 7 and tried to restore from a point about a month ago. It started and froze. I waited several hours and finally did a hard shut down. Now I am afraid to turn it back on as I don't know what to do.

Posted by:

David W Haley
24 Sep 2013

Thanks for the info but I have ran system restore two times --each time I ran system restore I got a message that system restore was successful--and it did not help--anything else I may try--I tried to get help from Microsoft but they told me that Windows 7 HP SP1 64 bit was installed by the
computer manufactuer and I would have to contact them--all they did was tell me that my computer is out of warranty which I already knew that

Posted by:

03 Nov 2016

Why are you referencing Windows 7 ? Most are now using Windows 10.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The simplest reason is that I wrote that article several years ago. You can find the date of publication near the end of the text. And your premise is not correct. According to, Windows 7 dominates worldwide with 48% market share, while Win10 has only 22% at this time. See

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