For many users, the ability to restore the system to a previous point is something of a panacea, and it can really be a very effective method of making your PC stop giving you problems in some situations. However, it is not a miracle remedy that will save you from all ills, so let’s see how it works and when you should use it and when not.
This is how System Restore works in Windows 10 and 11
Regardless of the version of Windows you have on your PC, “System Restore” is an inherent tool in Microsoft operating systems for many years, and it is also enabled by default. For users who are not very computer savvy, it can be a quite effective lifesaver, since it has the particularity that, while it is active, it starts up every time a substantial change is made to the PC, such as after installing a program, after updating Windows or after installing some new drivers.
How it works is quite simple: in essence, System Restore creates an image of your system configuration every time an important change is made, which, as we have said, can be when installing a program, a driver, or after updating Windows. The system image is created BEFORE the installation, since the idea is that you can revert the changes if something goes wrong. However, you can also create restore points manually (we’ll see how soon).
For this to work, you need to reserve a portion of your computer’s storage to accommodate these “images,” which are not system images as such, but rather a copy of the entire configuration. In this way, a lot of space is saved, since if they were total images of the system we would be talking about, at the very least, you would have to reserve a portion of the storage equal to everything you have occupied at any given time, something that would obviously be too much.
When necessary, users can use this utility to try to restore the system to a previous version. To do this, from Windows you can click on Start and type “System Restore” (you will access “Create restore point”, that does not matter), and from the window that opens you can both start the restoration process and access the configuration, as well as creating a restore point manually as we have mentioned before.
In the image that we have put above you can see the options you have:
- This option will take you to the System Restore wizard. Here you can choose between the available restore points, where you will also be told which programs will be affected (for example, if you have installed software that has given you problems, it will appear there so you know that the system will be restored to a point before install such software).
- In this option you can configure the behavior of the tool. Essentially, it will let you turn its automatic operation on and off, and you’ll also be able to set how much percentage of your storage you want to set aside to save those “images” we mentioned earlier. It is advisable to reserve at least 1% of your storage.
- This option is used to create a restore point manually, nothing more and nothing less.
Is it advisable to leave this option activated?
As always, everything has its pros and cons, and System Restore is no exception. The biggest advantage is clear, and it is that it allows you to have a second chance when you install something (whatever) on the PC that spoils its operation, something that can come in handy, honestly, for the vast majority of users. .
The downside is that it doesn’t always work well, or rather we should say that it doesn’t always solve the problem. There are times when the PC stops working well not because we have installed something or because we have updated Windows, but because we have made a bad configuration or any other reason, in which case this tool will not help us. There are also times when it just fails, and we don’t really know why this happens, but it usually has to do with corrupted files (in which case we’ll have to find another solution).
Apart from that, and although the impact is quite minimal, it must be taken into account that we need to reserve a small portion of the storage to save the system images (as we have said, it is usually 1%, which is really very little). Also keep in mind that it has a slight impact on system performance, since when we install something, a new image is created.
Actually, none of the “downsides” that System Restore has are too noticeable, and having a kind of life saver in return makes it well worth it. Therefore, we personally recommend that you do not disable this feature, as it does not do any harm or have a big impact on the system, and it can save you many times from having to format the PC.