Symptoms

Sometimes users wish to restore their system to a previous point in time. This is usually due to problems with Windows not running for some reason or other, with generally the explanations for this being a conflict caused by the installation of a new external device, or virus / malware problems.

Unfortunately, sometimes when prompted to restore the system to a previous point in time, Windows will be unable to complete this task, and the user is presented with a message which states that it was not possible to restore the system to the requested point in time.

Under these circumstances Windows will simply revert to the existing system status which existed before the system restore utility was run. Of course, regardless of the reason that this process was being carried out, this is an unsatisfactory situation.

Resolution

There are a few possible ways of addressing this issue, but by far the most simple thing to attempt for starters is to simply run the system restore utility from Safe Mode. This is a basic mode installed into Windows designed to enable users to operate their machine should any problems occur. While Safe Mode is operational, only basic components of the machine will be operable.

To run Windows in Safe Mode, restart your computer and press F8 (if you have Windows installed). Once you’ve reached the desktop in Safe Mode, type ‘System’ into the Start search box and press Enter once ‘System Restore’ is highlighted. You should then be able to run the system restore utility. If system restore works in Safe Mode but not in regular Windows, this would suggest some sort of virus or malware may be active on your system, or possibly that a virus checker is interfering with the system functionality. You would be advised to run a virus check, or possibly adjust your antivirus program.

Secondly, it is possible that you system restore files may have become corrupted. Attempting to use an earlier starting point may pay dividends, but if this doesn’t work then you may need to delete all existing restore points.

If system restore still won’t work, it is possible that there is insufficient disk space on your machine in order for it to run. To adjust disk space for System Restore, type ‘create restore’ in the Start menu search box and press Enter when ‘Create a restore point’ is highlighted.

Next click on the ‘Configure’ button and move the slider in the next dialog.

To delete older restore points while maintaining more recent ones, type ‘Disk Cleanup’ in the Start search box, right-click on the first item and choose ‘Run as Administrator’.

Finally click on ‘More Options’, and then on ‘Clean up’.

If the system restore utility won’t work for you at all, attempting a system image backup may pay dividend. There is a utility for this function built into Windows, simply type ‘repair’ or ‘system repair’ in the Start search box and follow the on-screen instructions.