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Computers

How to make Windows System Restore more reliable

Learn how to create manual restore points, or change when they are created automatically.

Nicole Cozma/CNET

Whether you're installing a lot of applications, drivers or just want to recover file system changes, you'll need an available restore point to make it happen. Unfortunately, as PCWorld points out, Windows is a bit relaxed with restore point creation, leaving you with data from last week, when you really need data from yesterday.

To make the restore points happen at more convenient times there are two choices: make restore points manually, or adjust the automated schedule. Here's how to do each:

Manual restore point creation

Undoubtedly the most reliable way to have a useful restore point is to manually create one. It's also not too complicated to do:

  • Type restore point in the Start menu search and press Enter.
Nicole Cozma/CNET
  • Select the drive you want to create a restore point for, then click Create.
  • Give the restore point a name and click Create again.

You can also click Configure to allot more than the default amount of space for these backups. The next time something goes wrong, you'll have more restore points to choose from.

Scheduled restore point creation

If you'd like a more hands-off approach to managing your restore points, then you'll want to schedule their creation at times that make sense for your computer usage. For instance, if you're slowly organizing your photo library, the restore points should be more frequent than once a month. Here's how to make that happen:

  • Type task scheduler into the Start menu search and press Enter.
Task Scheduler on Windows. Nicole Cozma/CNET
  • In the left-hand pane, head to Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > SystemRestore.
  • Double-click on the SR option in the top-middle window.
Set up Triggers and Conditions for the System Restore. Nicole Cozma/CNET
  • In the Triggers tab, you can create a new Trigger or edit an existing one for the best timing. On the Conditions tab, you can make further modifications to your Triggers.

Most users will have a default setting of once a week, but it's best to check that this Windows feature is both enabled and running at the best times (e.g., not during your online gaming at night or morning meetings at work).

How often do you create restore points? Do you prefer manually creating them, or letting the computer do it automagically?