System restore is a Windows Function that reverts your PC files and settings to a previous save point. It’s useful for when some of your files become corrupt, or you wish to go back to an older Windows version for any reason.
Sometimes we can not access the default Windows Restore menu, so we need to use an alternative method of performing a system restore – by running it at the boot. If your system is damaged, cannot boot, or has entered a boot loop, this is the only method to perform a Windows System Restore.
Requirements for Performing a System Restore
In order to perform a Windows System restore, you must have previously created a system backup that you can go to. Depending on how your system was set up, this process might automatically create system restore points, or you might have to make ones manually. Suppose your system lacks a prior restore point and you have issues booting your PC. In that case, you might have to look for alternative troubleshooting options.
How to Perform a Windows System Restore From Boot?
There are two primary ways to enter the advanced Windows System options: The first one is by inserting the Windows installation disk that contains all the troubleshooting tools or by opening it manually without the need for any external installation disk.
Using Windows Recovery Environment
Here’re the steps to perform windows system restore using Windows RE:
- Please turn off the computer completely and then power it up again
- When you see that the Windows Logo appears on your screen with rotating small dots below, press and hold the Power button for 10 seconds or until your device powers off completely.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you see the “Automatic Repair” message appear during boot.
This sequence of unexpected shutdowns will automatically prompt your Windows to enter into the advanced recovery options menu.
- Click on Advanced Options
- Select the tab called Troubleshoot
- Click on Advanced Options again and then click on System Restore
- After this, select the Administrator account and log in by entering your password when prompted
- Click on Next and then tick the box saying “Choose a different restore point” and then click Next again
- Select your desired restore point from the list and then click on Next to confirm your restore point of choice then click “Yes” one last time to confirm the process
- After the process is done, your PC will automatically restart
- When you log in afterward like normally, you will see a message notifying you that the restore session operation was successful.
If you followed the above steps, then congratulations; you successfully completed a system restore from the boot menu.
Using Windows Installation Media
The second and easiest way to perform a Windows System Restore from boot with the presence of a Windows Installation disk or flash drive is to follow these steps instead:
- Press the power key on.
- Once you see your motherboard manufacturer logo, press the BIOS key (F10, F12 or F4, or the required F# key, depending on your manufacturer). This will force Windows to open the Boot menu
- Go to the BIOS menu titled “Boot Priority” and click on the first one usually called “Boot Option #1” and choose your external hard drive or disk, depending on your scenario
- Save the changes and exit the BIOS
- Connect the Windows Installation Media via USB or insert the disk
- Restart your computer to boot from the external drive
- You will see the Windows Setup menu appear, configure the keyboard language to your choice and click on Next
- Don’t click on Install now; instead, find the “Repair your computer” option located in the bottom left corner of the menu and click it.
- You will be prompted to choose an option from a blue menu and select the tab that says “Troubleshoot”
- From there, you can access all of the advanced Windows System Restore options
- Click on “System Restore” and follow the procedure until complete, then restart your PC for the effects to apply.
It’s always handy to have an external drive or disk with the Windows Install, as it can be used to access any form of advanced setting. If for some reason, you cannot force the Windows automatic repair sequence to appear by just restarting your PC, then this might be your only option for performing a system restore.
Is System Restore and System Recovery the same?
The primary difference between a Windows System Restore and Windows System Recovery is that with the System Restore, you are reverting your system, file, and settings to an already saved past copy of your Windows. With the recovery option, you are forcing your Windows OS to revert your system to the default factory settings that came pre-set during installation.
A system recovery is like a clean, fresh wipe and the rolling back of any files/settings to just the basic original Windows version. This setting is helpful when no other troubleshooting helps, and you need to get a complete reset and fresh start.
Can I Revert a System Restore?
It could not be canceled if you started to perform a System Restore. You can undo a prior system restore by restoring to any other previously saved windows restore point. So, while the answer is yes, you can, it highly depends on how many restore points you once have created on your Windows.
It is highly advised that you regularly make restore points and always have a backup of your most important files and documents on another hard drive in case your primary PC malfunctions to the point that these files cannot be accessed by any means.
System restore is usually the last step of troubleshooting (and also a very reliable one), so ensure that you are backing up your files and creating restore points manually before any significant updates or changes you perform on your system.