System Restore Not Working? 12 Proven Ways to Fix it

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System Restore is a great method to resolve minor or major system issues. You can backup your registry and other important settings as restore point snapshots before making any changes to your system. So, there’s seldom any reason to worry about potential issues as long as you have appropriate restore points.

However, there are some cases when System Restore doesn’t work. It happens if some essential services or System Restore itself is not enabled. So, troubleshooting those issues should easily help System Restore start working again. The worst-case scenario is a drive failure, for which you need to replace the device anyway.

Why is System Restore Not Working?

Here are the potential reasons for System Restore not working as it should on Windows:

  • Corruption of the restore point.
  • System Restore is disabled on your PC.
  • System file or drive sector corruption.
  • Interference by third-party apps or antivirus.
  • Necessary services not working properly.

How to Fix System Restore Not Working?

Depending on the nature of your issue, you can apply various possible methods to fix your issue. Execute the methods we have provided below and check if they prove useful.

Try Another Restore Point

Sometimes sudden power failures or other issues can corrupt your restore points. So, first, try reverting to other restore points. If using other restore points also fails, move on to the subsequent solutions.

Create Restore Point Manually

As we mentioned earlier, your restore points can become defective due to various causes. If none of your preexisting restore points work, you need to create a new one. Your system can also delete the current restore points if you turn off System Restore. So, you can’t use them even after you re-enable this feature.

To create a restore point manually,

  1. Press Win + R to open Run.
  2. Type systempropertiesprotection and press Enter.
  3. Select your system drive (usually C:) and click Create.
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  4. Enter a name or a description and hit Create.
  5. After the process finishes, click Close.

Check System Protection Settings

If you can’t even create restore points, you’ve likely disabled System Restore. You can check and enable this feature from your System Protection settings. Here’s how you can do so:

  1. Enter systempropertiesprotection on Run.
  2. Click on Configure.
  3. Tick Turn on system protection and set appropriate Max Usage (at least 300 MB). Also, ensure that enough space is available on your system drive.
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  4. Click Apply and Ok.

If the Turn on system protection option is missing or grayed out, follow the steps below:

  1. Type powershell on Run and press Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  2. Enter the command Enable-ComputerRestore -Drive C:

Now, check the option again.

Check Group Policy Settings

Your Local Group Policy also offers a way to disable System Restore. Group policies have higher priority than your system settings. So, enabling the system protection settings is useless if the System Restore policy is off.

Here’s how you can configure such a setting:

  1. Open Run and enter gpedit.msc.
  2. Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > System Restore.
  3. Double-click on Turn off System Restore.
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  4. Check Not Configured or Disabled and click Ok.

Restart your PC and check if System Restore starts working.

Check Some Registry Entries

Users can also disable System Restore using registry entries. So, you need to check the relevant entries using the Registry Editor. Here are the necessary steps:

  1. Enter regedit on Run.
  2. Navigate to the following locations:
    • ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMControlSet001ServicesVssDiagSystemRestore
    • ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionSystemRestore
  3. Check for DisableConfig and DisableSR entries and delete them if present.
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Restart your PC and check if the issue resolves.

Disable Third-party Security Software

Many third-party security applications are responsible for stopping some of your system and app processes. They can also abruptly stop the System Restore if they determine any program or file you are restoring to be problematic.

It is often a case of false positives. Windows already includes a fantastic antivirus program, the Windows Defender. So, we recommend disabling or uninstalling third-party security software programs.

If you are still hesitating over it being a case of malware infection, you can perform a full scan with the Defender. Enter %ProgramFiles%Windows DefenderMpCmdRun.exe” -Scan -ScanType 2 on Command Prompt to do so.

Use System Restore From WinRE

Not only third-party antivirus but other incompatible programs also often interfere with your system activities. You can try restoring your system in safe mode to avoid such conflicts.

However, the better solution is to perform System Restore from Windows Recovery Environment. To do so,

  1. Access WinRE using one of the following methods:
    • Click the Restart button on the Power menu while pressing the Shift key.
    • Force reboot your PC three times in a row. On the third boot, click on Advanced options in the Repair screen.
    • Boot your PC with a Windows Installation media and select Repair your computer on the Install screen.
  2. Go to Troubleshoot and then Advanced Options.
  3. Select System Restore to initiate the process.
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Perform Clean Boot

The above method prevents interference by third-party apps. But you might want to disable or remove those incompatible apps altogether to avoid future issues.

First, boot in safe mode and check System Restore to be sure that third-party interference is responsible. Then, make a restore point and clean boot your system using the instructions below:

  1. Enter msconfig on Run.
  2. Go to the Services tab.
  3. Check Hide all Microsoft services and click Disable all.
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  4. Go to the Startup tab and click Open Task Manager.
  5. Select each process and click Disable.
  6. Restart your PC to boot in clean mode.
  7. Enable individual processes and services and restart your PC again.
  8. Try using system restore to revert to the restore point you just made. If you can’t do so, disable/uninstall the program you enabled.

Performing these steps for all the processes and services should help isolate conflicting apps.

Check Some Services

You need some services running on your PC to perform a system restore. If your system doesn’t allow running them automatically, they may cause issues with the process. Some services handle the automatic creation of restore points, and some handle manual system restore processes. Follow the steps below to check the relevant services:

  1. Launch Run and enter services.msc.
  2. Look for the following services:
    • System Restore Service
    • Volume Shadow Copy
    • Task Scheduler
    • Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider Service
  3. Double-click on them and set their Startup type to Automatic. You need to stop the service to change their Startup type.
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Now, start these services and restart your PC.

Repair Corrupt System Files

Another method you should apply is to scan for and repair corrupt system files. System Restore is an executable process on the %systemroot%system32 directory, and any errors with the process or surrounding files can cause issues.

Here are the necessary steps for this method:

  1. Press Win + R to load Run.
  2. Type cmd and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open the Elevated Command Prompt.
  3. Enter the following commands to check corrupt files:
    • dism /online /cleanup-image /scanhealth
    • sfc /verifyonly
  4. If they show any errors, enter the following commands:
    • dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
    • sfc /scannow

Check Disk Drive

Corruption of the disk sector containing the necessary files can also adversely affect the System Restore process. 

To repair such errors, open the Elevated Command Prompt and enter chkdsk C: /f /x /r.

If your drive is failing, you won’t be able to fix it. We recommend using disk health monitoring applications to check its health.

If there are any bad sectors due to slight physical damage, you might be able to fix them by formatting the disk on a Linux system and reinstalling Windows on the disk.

For serious drive fails, you need to replace the disk. We recommend asking for help from a hardware expert for the replacement.

Repair, Reset, or Reinstall Windows

If none of the previous methods work, you can try repairing Windows OS. To perform an in-place repair,

  1. Download and Windows ISO file that matches your system’s build and language.
  2. Mount it on your PC and run setup.exe inside the installation drive.
  3. Select Change how Windows Setup downloads updates.
  4. Tick Not right now and select Next.
  5. Click Accept and follow the on-screen instructions.
  6. On the final page, click Install and wait for the process to complete.

If you still can’t use System Restore, your last resort is to reset Windows to factory settings or make a clean reinstall.

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