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System Restore helps you restore your computer's system files to an earlier point in time. It's a way to undo system changes to your computer without affecting your personal files, such as e‑mail, documents, or photos.

Sometimes, the installation of a program or a driver can cause an unexpected change to your computer or cause Windows to behave unpredictably. Usually, uninstalling the program or driver corrects the problem. If uninstalling doesn't fix the problem, you can try restoring your computer's system to an earlier date when everything worked correctly.

System Restore uses a feature called system protection to regularly create and save restore points on your computer. These restore points contain information about registry settings and other system information that Windows uses. You can also create restore points manually. For information about creating restore points, see Create a restore point.

System image backups stored on hard disks can also be used for System Restore, just like the restore points created by system protection. Even though system image backups contain both your system files and personal data, your data files will not be affected by System Restore. For more information about system images, see What is a system image?

System Restore isn't intended for backing up personal files, so it cannot help you recover a personal file that has been deleted or damaged. You should regularly back up your personal files and important data using a backup program. For more information about backing up personal files, see Back up your files.

  • Open System Restore by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button. In the search box, type System Restore, and then, in the list of results, click System Restore. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

For more information about system protection, see What is system protection?