What to do when Windows won't create new restore points

Tweaking system restore for better PC protection

System restore should back up the Registry and many important system files frequently and automatically in Windows XP and Vista. But various conditions can prevent System Restore from creating backups or (as it calls them) restore points:

Tight drive space: To create a restore point, you need about 200MB of free space on the system drive or partition (usually the C: drive). When this space is unavailable, your PC may stop creating restore points and may delete existing ones.

No Task Scheduler: System Restore uses Windows' Task Scheduler to create system restore points automatically every day. To make sure Task Scheduler is active, select Start, Run (or Start in Vista), type services.msc, and press Enter. Scroll to and right-click Task Scheduler, and choose Properties. If 'Service status' isn't set at 'Started', click the Start button. And make sure that 'Startup type' reads 'Automatic' before you click OK.

No rest for the OS: System Restore creates restore points automatically only when your PC is turned on but idle. If the system is always off, hibernating, or in use, you get no automatic restore points.

Even when System Restore works properly, not all restore points are usable. Restore points aren't complete backups. Each holds only the changes since the previous restore point, and System Restore may need to use all the restore points on your hard drive so as to revert to any one of them. In that case, if one restore point is corrupted, they're all useless.

If you can't get any of your restore points to work, remove all of them so you can start over; to do this, turn System Restore off and then on again. In Windows XP, select Start, Run, type sysdm.cpl, and press Enter. Click the System Restore tab in the System Properties dialogue box, check Turn off System Restore, click Apply, uncheck Turn off System Restore, and click OK. In Vista, click Start, type sysdm.cpl, and press Enter (or select System Restore from the list of programs that appears as you type). Click the System Protection tab (or choose open System Protection), and uncheck Local Disk (C:). The exact name of this option varies, but it should end with '(System)'. You may have to wait a few seconds for it to appear. Select Turn System Restore Off in the System Protection pop-up, click Apply, recheck Local Disk (C:), and click OK.

See also .

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lincoln Spector

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?