Hi, Leo. I have 2 computers with the same problem: one is Windows XP Pro and the other is Windows XP Home. On both computers, System Restore fails as soon as there is a Microsoft Security Essentials restore point entry in System Restore. If I remove all restore points, System Restore works fine. I’ve tested it many times. As soon as MSE creates and updates a restore point, System Restore fails to restore again. Any ideas?
In my experience answering questions here on Ask Leo! since the day System Restore was introduced, it’s been a source of many problems. You can think of these problems as hidden land mines. System Restore may appear to work. It may do something in the background, or it may silently fail. And you don’t really know until you need or want a restore point. Basically, as in your case, it just doesn’t seem to work when people expect it to.
There’s also a common problem of people thinking of it as a backup, which of course it’s not at all.
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System Restore considered unreliable
I do have an article that goes a little bit more deeply into my frustrations with System Restore: “Why I don’t like System Restore”. But my bottom line recommendation here is to stop relying on System Restore and instead rely on a good backup regimen that you put in place.
There’s no way to know for certain what your issue is, since so many of System Restore’s operations are hidden from view. The one thing that I would look into, however, is the amount of disk space that’s currently actually allocated to System Restore. System Restore works with a fixed amount of disk space that’s allocated by the system and it saves “as many restore points” as it can into that disk space. Often, the problem with missing restore points is nothing more than System Restore having used up all of that available space, and kicking out some of the restore points that it had, to make room for a more recent one.
If possible, it’s worth trying to increase that allocation.
Increasing System Restore’s disk allocation
Here’s how to do that:
- Right-click on My Computer.
- Click on Properties.
- Click on the System Restore tab.
There you’ll see a slider that will allow you to adjust the amount of disk space that System Restore uses.
I can’t say that it will make the problem go away. It may already be set to a maximum value, in which case there’s nothing more to be done.
Ultimately, I don’t have a good answer to make System Restore work reliably. And of course, I’d rather you spend the time investigating a good backup solution to put in place.