In Windows, if something goes wrong with a driver update, or certain software installations run into conflicts with each other, it can be necessary to rely on the System Restore feature to get back to a working, functional desktop environment. Of course, System Restore is definitely not a complete back-up utility.
It doesn’t help against trojan horses, viruses, or other malware, for instance, and documents stored in your personal folders aren’t protected either. As well, if you’ve created or modified user accounts since the last time a System Restore point was created, and you need to use the function, all those changes will be lost.
Because of this, it can be nice to configure exactly how System Restore works, how much space it takes up, what types of files/information it protects, and whether or not it even gets used. Microsoft doesn’t make this feature very simple to find, but follow these steps for an easy way to configure your System Restore settings.
The first step is to open the Control Panel, so hit your Windows key (or click the Start orb), then choose Control Panel from the Start Menu’s sidebar.
Once the Control Panel opens, click the System and Security link.
When that loads, click System.
Finally, from the sidebar on the left, choose System Protection.
You’ll now want to select your drive from the list, then click the Configure button.
We now have several options. If you’re running a computer with a small hard drive, or just don’t want to use up a lot of hard drive space for System Restore, you can limit the percentage of your disk actually used to store the backup files.
You can also select which types of files are protected. You have the option to keep copies of both system settings and previous versions of files, only previous versions of files, or – if you like living on the cutting edge without any protection – turn off System Restore entirely.
Turning off System Restore will keep it from making any more Restore points, but will not get rid of already existing ones. To do that, simply hit the Delete key (as shown below), to save even more hard drive space, and yes, to take away any existing backups.
When you’re sure you’ve configured it to your liking, click the Apply button to save any changes you’ve made to System Restore.
You’ll need to confirm your changes, especially if you’ve turned off the System Restore function entirely.
And that’s it. System Restore is now configured (or turned off), according to your tastes. System Restore, as mentioned, is not a perfect solution. Microsoft Security Essentials is a big help, and a standard file backup solution or disk imaging program is even better. Still, System Restore has its uses, so turning it off should be seen as a drastic step. But if you need to know where the configuration options are and what you can do with them, now you know.