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Disable System Restore in Windows 7 or Vista

The Windows 7 / Vista System Restore feature will make sure that software installations, drivers, and other updates can be rolled back. The only price to this feature is some disk usage. If you want to disable System restore, which is a bad idea, it’s really pretty simple.

Just to make sure you understand… There are bugs. Things will crash. Disabling System Restore will keep you from rolling back changes.

So, you’ve read this far. Now let’s disable it. Right-click on the Computer icon, and choose Properties:

Click on the System Protection link on the left-hand side:

Once you’ve done so, the steps are different depending on your OS.

Disable on Windows 7

Click the Configure button below the list of drives:

Now simply click the radio button to disable System Protection. (Note again that this is probably a bad idea).

That should be all you need to do.

Disable on Windows Vista

Once you’ve clicked the System Protection link in Control Panel, you’ll see the checkboxes next to your different disks:

Once you uncheck the drive, click the “Turn System Restore Off” button.

Now you’ve got system restore disabled. Living on the edge, eh?

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/13/07

Comments (53)

  1. HENRY FIELDS

    “D” Drive is full.
    How can I stop pop-up saying “free up disk space?
    If I have to turn off sys. restore for “D” drive, how can I do that.
    I am a senior citizen, and have just recently purchased a new Compaq PC. VISTA PREMIUM.
    NeedHelp.

    Thank You

  2. Wayne London

    Two simple queries –
    1. After replacing my Vista hard drive under warranty, it now requires me to “press F2 to continue” during startup. Annoying.
    2. Suddenly, after every session, I’m faced with every webpage and window viewed sitting right on my desktop. To see the desktop I have to use F4 to clear all. What am I doing wrong?
    Any solution? Thanks, Wayne

  3. learninlady

    HP told me to do this to free up my overfilled D drive:

    1. Click Windows Start button and in Search type “Recovery Manager”
    2. Click on Recovery Manager Program listed
    3. Now the Recovery Manager Program will be opened
    4. Click on Advaced Options button
    5. Select “Remover Recovery Partition” and click Next
    6. Now Select “Yes”and click Next
    7. Select “Recovery discs already Created”
    8. Click Finish.

    Now the Recovery Partition will be removed and added to the C:
    partition.

    Now I dont have a D partition. only C. Im staggered… all I wanted it for the low memory on a brand new machine to stop!…lol..

  4. learninlady

    oh one more thing to add is that I do have the recovery discs so its not like Ive deleted and lost the recovery information.

  5. Wayne London

    Make sure that if you disable S.R. you have an excellent anti-virus. One in particular – Avast- has a type of restore feature called VRDB. My previous anti-virus – AVG – let a virus through twice and I successfully used System Restore.
    But S.R. was gobbling up 1 GB every few days to its max of 35 GB. I couldn’t spare 35 GB so I did the research and found Avast, which is free online. I then disabled S.R. and saw my C drive instantly regain 35 GB.
    Avast has stopped a virus a number of times and you can view its progress as it happens.
    My computer runs quieter now also. AVG appeared to strain its resources.
    My suggestion – don’t just disable SR. Find a good anti-virus and have only one per all the advice.
    Good luck, Wayne

  6. Wayne London

    An update to my previous notes – After failing to succeed in reducing System Restore disc usage, I disabled it. On another attempt just on a hunch, I had success in reducing to 10GB. The previous failure was due to my not entering the command exactly as the renowned Geek prescribed. Now I have System Restore at an acceptable limit plus a good anti- virus. Disabling SR leaves one with no recourse if the worse happens and anti-virus isn’t enough. Thanks, Wayne.

  7. Wayne London

    This is an old thread I know, but if anyone is still following, you may be interested. Having resisted the advice to totally disable System Restore, I did follow the Geek’s tip on reducing it ( in my case from 35GB to 10GB). My comp runs perfectly, and I know I have backup. I have had a need for it twice since, so my advice – reduce, but don’t disable. As the old saying goes – “better to have and not need than to need and not have” Wayne

  8. The Geek

    Glad to hear you got it working…. There’s such a crazy volume of comments on this site that I can’t keep up with them all =(

    This article gets a ton of daily pageviews, though, so your comments will definitely help somebody else.

  9. Rocky

    I have 160GB HDD, 3 partitions, c-97.6GB, D-29.2GB and E- 22GB. I have Vista ultimate installed in ‘C’ drive and XP pro in D’ drive. My issue is I want to install server 2003 in D drive by removing XP existing. I want server 2003 OS to install SAP R/3 4.7 IDES that needs approx 100GB.
    I know this shrink volume feature in Vista. I tried to see how much can I get out of this I got only 38GB out of 97GB (but free space is 77GB).
    1) I want to make 3 partitions, C-30GB, D-100GB, E-20GB…
    2) But the condition is I dont want to remove Vista and format HDD
    3) Without harming Vista how can I do this…

  10. Tim

    I’ve got an interesting situation where the list of drives and check boxes doesnt come up when I click system protection. Instead I see the computer name screen. What other way is there to solve this same issue?

  11. Proper

    Tim,
    The System Properties window contain several tabs,
    You are on the Computer Name tab, but you need to go to the System Protection tab on the top of the window.

  12. Andrew

    I’m researching on how to rid the Vundo Trojan off my computer. Symantec suggests disabling System Restore (which will delete my restore points T.T ) and scanning my computer over with an updated anti-virus (which I have.) in Safe Mode. I have Vista, and Symantec only has suggestions relating to the trojan on XP and Me OSes.

    Would you guys think the process should operate the same on Vista?

  13. Tim

    Hi Proper,

    No actually there wasnt. This is precisely why I put this message in here to begin with. There was only ONE tab…the tab with Computer Name. Besides which, when you click on System Protection, it should have gone directly to the appropriate tab if it were there anyhow. Bottom line was, the system ended up getting wiped out because as it turns out, the default load from the manufacturer prevented even Administrators from doing some basic stuff including entering the Device Manager.

  14. mary

    I have the same problem, Tim. I cannot get the screen with the system restore checkboxes to come up. Sounds like it’s time for me to reload the system. Let me know what you found if anything.

  15. Sunny

    Same problem Tim, only 3 tabs and missing the crucial one!

  16. Raymond Christopher Wells Jr.

    Well, I have a problem with System Restore that’s been bugging me for a while. Whenever I try to run System Restore it returns to me saying “The filename, directory name,or volume label syntax is incorrect. (0x8007007B) System Restore will now close.” What should I do? Please help!

  17. john

    Hello Mr.’Geek’ Well I was having the same problems with my (D) drive.
    That is the “memory” part of your”storage” You don’t have to ‘shut down’
    Systems Restore. You nedd to go into computers off the start menu,and “format” disk (D), once you do that, youcan transfer the memory to disk (C). Once that is in place the system wil reload a portion of the transfered storage info back into the (D) disk.I took some “chances” (system WARNS you about “formating”, says could lose or delete information) Not true, at least on my end. Went back to check the disks
    and this procedure ‘Freed’up memory space my 90%. Check it out it WORKS!!

  18. john/chefydood

    One more thing don’t be afraid, HP can and will, fix or restore any problems you encur, contact them at HP help.

  19. Danielle

    Data Exeecution Prevention keeps showing up on certain programs.I cannot play Windows Media player anymore and some stuff I just can’t delete.

  20. john/chefydood

    Danielle, I was encountering the same problen with DEP. Turns out many have also found the same situation. I even called my (ISP) and they also was aware fo this problematic ocuurances. The solution is through HP. Make them aware of it and they will send you an “update” to “override” this annoyance. I believe under “help and support” in the main start menu, you will find some answers, But no solutions. So foward the query to HP and they will send you the automatic ‘update’ Hope this helps. It worked for me…… Chefydood

  21. Arda

    Hi, i tried following your steps but for some reason i cant uncheck the box. HELP! thats the only thing that is stopping me!

  22. mary

    Well, I finally wiped the drive and reinstalled. Everything seems to be available to me now. The installation from the Toshiba factory just didn’t allow me to uncheck the system restore box. You wouldn’t think that’s a big deal, but it prevented me from cleaning the virus off the machine. Hope this helps someone else.

    Mary

  23. Emily L.

    Hi.
    I want to turn System Restore off but it says is disabled by Group Policy… how can i fix that??

  24. JoshD

    Emily,
    You have to contact your IT System Administrator. They have set a superceeded policy that purposefully does not allow you to disable System Restore. It’s a common practice for managing systems that are tied to active directory.

  25. Emily L.

    Thanks, look :
    I have Windows Vista Home Premium.My Norton 36O detected a Trojan, and to remove it, one of the steps is turn off system restore, but its disabled by Group Policy, i just cant edit group policy , because isnt even there, cause the Home editions dont include Group Policy….
    Somebody Could Help Me Please???

  26. wolfen50

    Error 1935 error occured during installation of assembly conponent (97f81af10e47-dc99-a01fc83b9a1e18e) hresult: 0x8007054f

    Got any ideas on how to fix… I reloaded office 2000 without a problem on my Acer but when I try to install the newer version 2007 or 2007 project manager I get this error. i have gone through 5 Microsoft techs without this being resolved.. It also stopped doing control panel-windows updates as of 12/18/2008.. It goes into a loop till it errors out

    So I tried the up grade on my toshiba and it did fine.. Both are Vista windows next I guess a format C: restor points are 3 months past.

  27. chefyD

    To All, Listen to me…………DO NOT uninstall “Systems Restore” this is your best friend! This allows you to, bring your OS to an earler “point” in time”. This allows you to.go BACK, to “before” you encountred a “virus”. Bring it back to an earlier state of excellent performance…….(i.e) when your OS is running at it’s premium level. THEN “sick” your anti-virus on the issue. Once you bring “back” to BEFORE you had the virus, Then you can “clean” and “remove” any potential, so called “infection” you have. Try “booting ” in “SAFE MODE” this allows you to “set up” the virus. In essence what happens is., you bring back the OS to a point in time when your OS was running perfectly, and was “free” of infection! Then you can “attack” the virus! DO NOT “UNISALL” Systems Restore!!!!!!!!!! chefydood@aol.com

  28. BillB

    I have Vista on 3 machines all with Sys Vol Info file problems. The ONLY way I fixed them was to buy another 250 GB HD, format it to Vista specs as one large partition, use F-Prot to scan for bugs on the drives to be copied, then copie all the files NOT bugged to the new HD, then ReFormat the bad drives and reinstall Vista. What a pain but it works!
    Good luck guys!
    Bill

  29. JimJohnson

    You should only turn off Restore Points if you want to shrink your C drive, then turn them back on afterwards.

  30. Ruben

    If you download vista will it delete all of you previous programs and information, downloads

  31. Christopher

    My vista did not ask for a point to return to and said return to factory setting. So, does that mean it will spend an eternity looking for a point on my computer that does not exsist? Can I turn it off? What will happen? I am not a techie so, plain English, please.

  32. chefydood

    Christopher, you can pick your own date and time, click, “choose a different restore ponit” and int the box type the date and time you wish….hope this is of help

  33. hitesh

    Hi.
    I want to turn System Restore off but it says is disabled by Group Policy… how can i fix that??

  34. Felix
  35. escalona86

    thanks guys. i had this problem with my hard drive space. it was losing 1 to 2gigs per day. so i disabled the S.R and i changed my Shadowstorage to 1gb. and my desktop gained 58 gigs back. from 489gb to 547gb. thanks alot. shadow86.

  36. David

    recoverd tab keeps reloading

  37. Faton

    how to restore vista wondows
    show me step by step thank you

  38. r_machine_gun

    The only reason you can have to disable the system restore is if you’re trying to get rid of a virus. Some virus infiltrate all your restore points. If this happens, you won’t be able to delete the virus unless you disable system restore.

    But, once you have deleted the virus, re-enable system restore. You may never need to use it, but it’s better to just have it.

  39. sanjoj

    I want to turn System Restore off but it says is disabled by Group Policy… how can i fix that?? – sanjoj

  40. KEL

    HEY…SOO I DID ALL THE STEPS AND WAS ABLE TO GET TO SYSTEM PROPERTIES..BUT SYSTEM PROTECTION WAS NOT THERE..HELPPPPP

  41. Daniel

    ***To Everyone Who Does Not See “System Protection” Under Computer>Properties***
    1) In the search bar type: systempropertiesprotection.exe
    2)click on it and continue with the rest of the tutorial above

  42. Blasphemer

    Now this worked as a charm! I’m down at 2% usage again. Phew!

    Awesome. Thanks!

  43. Lauren

    PLEASE HELP! my computer is VISTA.. i got to the option where it says system restore, and i found the drives, but when i try to select the C drive to disable system restore, nothing happens…as tho it’s not an option i can do on my computer…and I AM d administrator!

  44. Josh

    Go buy a hard drive you fucking cheapskates

  45. Josh

    VISTA IS FAIL

  46. Sean

    Hi.
    I want to turn System Restore off but it says is disabled by Group Policy… how can i fix that??

  47. Rhaj vijay

    Hi frnds!
    I started System Restore in windows 7. It takes more than 3hrs. Still it’s showing “System Restore is restoring the registry…”
    How long I’ve to wait?

  48. Jeff

    I just discovered that System Restore is the most likely cause of SSD performance degradation. I just tried turning it off on C and creating a restore point on my magnetic D drive. Would that have the desired effect of saving any necessary system information from C onto D?

  49. LockHood

    Thanks a lot. System restore was reducing my HDD space by 1GB everyday. Freed 7 GBs after stopping system restore :-)

  50. Guesss

    I can’t to disable safe mode in my window7…
    why?…
    please help me?..

  51. Ida

    I don’t have a System protection tab and I can’t seem to get it – I have now tried everything but I’ve reached a point, where I am completely lost. I need to disable my system restore to remove a malware in safe mood. What the **** am I supposed to do now?

  52. Roderic

    Thank you! System restore was freezing my system when trying to install vista sp2. All fixed now and the reason behind the freeze was hotfixed in sp2.

  53. MarieJoe

    My System Restore points keep vanishing and I suspect the auto Restore Point sometimes also causes a memory dump.
    I do not have a dual boot system.
    I run Avira and Malewarebytes on Vista SP2

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