How to configure the way System Restore works on your Windows PC

While having the ability to restore your system from a restore point is one of Windows’ most useful features, it may be that some people will want to turn it off for all or part of their partitions. Others may want to change how much space it is used for System Res tore and assign more or less . To help you out, we have created this guide that will show you how to configure in detail how System Res tore works, how much space it uses and how to enable it or disable it for one partition or another:

How to access System Restore’s settings

If you want to launch System Restore and change its settings, you need to log in as an administrator and open the Control Panel. If you need some help with that, read these guides:

There, go to System and Security and click or tap System. In the System window, click or tap the “System protection” link on the left. If your user account is not an administrator, at this point, Windows will ask you to enter the administrator password.

System Restore, Windows, settings

The System Properties window is opened, where you can see the drives on your computer and whether System Restore is turned on for each of them. If you have more than one partition, then you will see that System Restore is turned off for all of them except the one where Windows is installed. That’s because this tool backs up system files and settings like drivers, registry keys, installed programs and so on. Programs, drivers and system files are generally stored on the partition where Windows installed. However, you may have organized things differently.

System Restore, Windows, settings

How to turn on System Restore for a specific drive

You won't get any benefit from turning on System Restore on other partitions except the one(s) where you install programs, drivers and so on. If you have such a drive where you want System Restore enabled, select it in the list of available drives and click or tap Configure. The System Protection window is opened for the selected drive.

System Restore, Windows, settings

To enable System Restore for that drive, check the box that says “Turn on system protection” and click or tap OK. Now it is also a good time to create a first restore point, manually. To do so, follow the instructions in this guide: What is System Restore and how to create a restore point in Windows.

How to change how much space System Restore takes on the disk

You may want to save some space on your computer’s storage and allow less space for System Restore to store its restore points. Or, on the contrary, you may want to allow more space, so that more restore points are stored, so that you can use them later.

In the System Properties window select the drive for which you want to change how much space System Restore is using and click or tap Configure. The System Protection window is opened for the selected drive. Here, in the Disk Space Usage section, you can see how much space System Restore is currently using on the disk and you can set how much you want it to use.

System Restore, Windows, settings

Move the Max Usage slider to the level you prefer and click or tap OK. You also have a button for deleting all System Restore points on that partition, so that you can save some space. If you press it, you are informed that all restore points on this drive will be deleted and you won’t be able to undo unwanted system changes using the lost restore points. If you want to go ahead, click or tap Continue. Otherwise, press Cancel.

System Restore, Windows, settings

How to disable System Restore in Windows

If you don’t want to use System Restore to protect your system, you can turn it off and save some storage space. Select the drive for which you want to turn off System Restore in the list of available drives and click or tap Configure. The System Protection window is opened. Select “Disable system protection” and press OK.

System Restore, Windows, settings

You are asked whether you are sure you want to turn off system protection on the selected drive. If you disable it, existing restore points will be deleted and new restore points won’t be created, meaning that you won’t be able to use System Restore to recover your computer. If you want to go ahead press Yes.

System Restore, Windows, settings

Close the System Properties window and you are done.

Conclusion

While System Restore is one of the most useful built-in Windows utilities, it is limited in the protection it provides. You will want it turned on only for those drives where you install apps, programs, games and drivers. And, obviously, on the partition where Windows installed. For other partitions, it is best turned off. Hopefully this guide has achieved its mission of showing you how best to configure System Restore.