How do I restore Windows back to an earlier copy?

Users who are running Microsoft Windows XP or later can use Microsoft System Restore and restore their computer to an earlier date by following the steps below. This will not erase any of your data. However, if any programs were installed since that date, the program settings may be lost.

Note: If you are unable to boot into normal Windows mode to perform the steps below, you may need to run the steps below through Windows Safe Mode. Additionally, you could try loading the last known good configuration.

If you cannot get into Normal or Windows Safe Mode restore system registry settings through the recovery console.

Windows Vista and 7 users

  1. Click Start
  2. In the Start search box type System Restore and press enter.

Windows XP users

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Programs, and then Accessories
  3. Click System Tools and open System Restore

If you're unable to find System Restore and have administrator rights try opening the System restore through the run line by following the steps below.

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Run
  3. Type: restore/rstrui
  4. Press enter

System Restore Window

Once in the System Restore window as shown in the example below, leave the option selected on the restore option and then click the Next button to start the Restore process. It's recommended you use the recommended restore point.

Windows System Restore

When I run system restore I get a message saying no restore points are available

A computers System Restore points could be deleted by any of the below possibilities. Unfortunately, when the system restore points are deleted or removed they cannot be recovered.

  1. The Microsoft Windows XP System Restore option was disabled on the computer.
  2. The computers hard drive is out of disk space or low on disk space.
  3. Microsoft Windows has been reinstalled.
  4. The restore point reached is maximum age of 90-days.
  5. The "Clean up" option under the Disk Cleanup has been ran. When this option is performed it will remove all restore points.
  6. The computers version of Microsoft Windows has been upgraded to a newer version of Windows. The Windows System Restore option is not designed to revert your computer back to an older version of Windows and when an update is ran it will disable any previous system restores.

Additional information