System Restore in Windows 11: how to and what for

Windows 11 System Restore
Written by Wilbur Woodham

Like all previous versions of the Microsoft operating system since Windows Millenium Edition, the 2021 Windows 11 features an option of restoring a last viable system condition. We have already published a tutorial on creating a restore point in Windows 10. In this article, you’ll get a short but essential manual on turning this function on in Windows 11, using it in its auto-mode, setting restore points manually, and making a restore.

Why do you need a system restore at all?

It is hard to overestimate the presence of the system roll-back option. Like any other safety measure – it seems to be overkill until you need it. Then, if something happens to your system, you thank heavens and developers for the feature. System restore is of great help if system or program updates you install turn out to be glitchy or entail software conflict for some reason. The same goes for system settings that you can even forget that you’ve changed.

System Restore vs In-Place Repair

What’s the difference between the system restore procedure and system repair install, you may ask1. The latter replaces current system files with the well-working variant of these files previously saved by the user or with the files provided by the Microsoft cloud. However, repair-install relates to system files only. Moreover, if you execute the in-place repair locally, the updates you are getting will date back to the time of your last reservation.

System Restore acts a little differently. Firstly, it affects not only system files and settings. It also restores the programs and files of many types. Secondly, you can have as many restore points as you want. Automatic mode allows you not to bother making saves by yourself but rely on automatic restore point creation before every update.

Enabling Windows 11 System restore

Why is Windows 11 System Restore off by default if it is that good? Legit question, actually. System restore is turned off by default because it requires reserved space on your hard drive and uses system resources for real-time monitoring and saving system states.

The quickest way is to type in the Start Menu search line “create a recovery drive” and click the found item.

Search for Restore Point

Type ‘restore’ in the search bar and you will get the needed item at once.

You will find yourself in the System Properties, in the System Protection tab. You will see Protection Settings section a little lower, where you will be able to choose the drives that you want to protect by restore points. Then proceed by clicking Configure.

System Protection

System Protection tab of the System Properties. This is the main place to start all restoration-related operations.

In the next window, switch the System Protection On and press Apply.

Configuring restore points

As you configure your restore point settings, decide how much disk space are you ready to dedicate to restoration needs.

By this, you will have enabled the automatic creation of restore points before any installation of updates.

Creating a restore point manually

You might want to create a restore point by yourself whenever you wish to. Use the same path shown above to access System Properties and press Create – the button at the bottom of the System Protection tab. You will be offered to name your restore point. Then proceed by clicking Create.

Does it restore everything? Not really. First of all, System Restore affects only certain types of files. Moreover, restoration is possible only on the drives you have previously chosen to be protected (in the System Protection tab of System Properties).

Recovering your Windows 11

If something happens to your system, you either can or cannot boot Windows normally.

If you can boot the system

— the scenario is simple.

Access System Properties, System Protection tab (you already know the way there), and click the System Restore button at the upper right. In the next window, you’ll be told that none of your personal files will be affected by the restoration procedure, but some updates may be rolled back and recently installed programs uninstalled. Not many choices here.

The next window asks you to choose a restoration point. You need the System Restore feature previously turned on to have any restore points in this list. If you have manually created any restore points – you will see the titles you gave them in this list too.

You can press Scan for Affected Programs to see which software will be uninstalled or somehow rolled back to its former state.

List of restore points

In the list of restore points you will see your manually or automatically created restore points.

Proceed to the next dialogue Window to choose the drives that will undergo the roll-back procedure. The number of drives offered depends on how many of them you have previously put under protection (in the Protection Settings). However, the crucial thing is to restore the Windows-containing drive. Restoring any other drive except the system disk is arbitrary. Proceed. Read a check-info before pressing Finish in the next window, and the restoration process will launch. The PC will reboot and roll back to the better state of your Windows 11.

If Windows 11 won’t boot

— it will be a little more complicated.

First of all, you need to get into your computer’s advanced setup. To do that you either press the Power sign at the bottom right of your screen as if you were going to turn off your PC. There, in the appearing menu, you have to click Restart holding Shift button. Upon the restart, you will be taken into Windows Recovery Environment.

Windows Recovery environment

If your operating system won’t boot, but you do have restore points, you will need to get here.

An alternative way to get there is to switch your PC off when the Windows 11 loading screen appears. Do it several times and the computer will recognize this pattern as trouble and take you to the advanced setup.

As soon as you’re there, take this path:

TroubleshootAdvanced OptionsSystem Restore.

Advanced Options in Win RE

After you click System Restore you will be led through the same sequence of questions as if you were able boot your system.

After that, a System Restore window will appear and everything will be pretty much the same as in the previous case. Choose restore point, choose affected drives, confirm everything, and here you go!

Wait for Windows 11 to execute the rollback and enjoy your healed system.

Alternative Solutions

What can be a worthy alternative if your Windows 11 system behaves strangely? Yes, it might be a bad update, but it might also be a virus. If you aren’t up to spending your time rolling your system back, you might want to have a second option. Therefore, it is reasonable to have a decent anti-malware utility on your PC. GridinSoft Anti-Malware is one of the best solutions that can help effectively clean your PC of inhibiting agents. Malware can cause the system’s abnormal state, so why use a cannon against the sparrows.

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References

  1. If you wan’t to learn how to perform a repair install, you might want to read Part 3 in our article about Windows Defender updates troubleshooting.
System Restore in Windows 11: how to and what for
Article
System Restore in Windows 11: how to and what for
Description
Like all previous versions of the Microsoft operating system since Windows Millenium Edition, the 2021 Windows 11 features an option of restoring a last viable system condition. In this article, you’ll get a short but essential manual on turning this function on in Windows 11, using it in its auto-mode, setting restore points manually, and making a restore.
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HowToFix.Guide
 

About the author

Wilbur Woodham

I was a technical writer from early in my career, and consider IT Security one of my foundational skills. I’m sharing my experience here, and I hope you find it useful.

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