How to Configure The Way System Restore Works & How to Disable It

restoreWhile having the ability to restore your system from a restore point is one of Windows' most useful features, it may be that some people will want to turn it off for all or part of their partitions. Others may want to change how much space it is used for System Store. To help you out, we have created this guide that shares how to configure in detail how System Store works, how much space it uses and how to enable it or disable it for a partition or another.

How to Configure System Restore in Windows 7 & Windows 8.1

First of all, if you are not familiar with System Restore, you will want to read our tutorial: What Is System Restore & How to Create a Restore Point in Windows. You may also find some of our other articles useful as well, but opening System Restore is the essential part. The process is the same in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Illustrations here are from Windows 8.1.

Open System Restore and you will see a list with all the partitions that are available on your Windows device. If you have only one partition, you will see it with the System Restore protection turned on by default.

System Restore, Configure, Enable, Disable, Windows 7, Windows 8.1

If you have more than one partition, then you will see that System Restore is turned off for all of them except the one where Windows is installed. That's because this tool backs up system files and settings like drivers, registry keys, installed programs and so on. Programs, drivers and system files are generally stored on the partition where Windows installed.

System Restore, Configure, Enable, Disable, Windows 7, Windows 8.1

You won't get any benefit from turning on System Restore on other partitions except the one(s) where you install programs, drivers and so on.

Configuring how System Restore works is done on a partition by partition basis. You can turn it on for one or more partitions or turn it off for all. But, you have to turn it off individually, for each partition that exists on your system.

Select the partition for which you want to configure System Restore and press the Configure button beneath the list of available drives.

System Restore, Configure, Enable, Disable, Windows 7, Windows 8.1

You have the following settings available:

  1. Options for turning On or Off System Restore for the selected partition.
  2. A slider for setting how much space is used for System Restore points, from the total space on that partition. To change the space you want to use for this feature, move the slider to the left (if you want to decrease it) or to the right (if you want to increase it).
  3. A button for deleting all System Restore points on that partition.

System Restore, Configure, Enable, Disable, Windows 7, Windows 8.1

When you are done setting things up, press OK.

Flipping the Switch - How to Disable System Restore

Open System Restore, and click or tap on the drive or partition for which you want it turned off. Then click or tap the Configure button. From the next window, click or tap on "Disable system protection" and then OK.

System Restore, Configure, Enable, Disable, Windows 7, Windows 8.1

You will get a warning that if you turn System Restore off, your existing restore points will be deleted and you won't be able to create new ones. Click or tap Yes.

System Restore, Configure, Enable, Disable, Windows 7, Windows 8.1

It may take a minute or two while Windows deletes your existing restore points for that drive or partition. From then on, no further restore points will be created on that partition. On the other partitions where it is turned on, System Restore will keep doing its job. If you want to disable it for all partitions, follow the same procedure for those where it is still turned on.

Flipping the Switch the Other Way - How to Enable System Restore

If you later change your mind about turning System Restore off, it's very easy to turn it back on again. Open System Restore and select the drive or partition for which you want it turned on. Then click or tap the Configure button.

In the System Protection window, select "Turn on system protection".

System Restore, Configure, Enable, Disable, Windows 7, Windows 8.1

Click or tap OK and System Restore is back in business. You may want to create a manual restore point at this time. Again, our tutorial will show you how that's done: What is System Restore & How to Create a Restore Point in Windows.

Conclusion

While System Restore is one of the most useful built-in Windows utilities, it is limited in the protection it provides. You will want it turned on only for those drives where you install apps, programs, games and drivers. And, obviously, on the partition where Windows installed. For other partitions, it is best turned off. Hopefully this guide has achieved its mission of sharing how best to configure System Restore.