Although Windows 10 is a very stable system, there could always come an occasion when something goes wrong. Be it an app that does terrible things to performance, or some quirk in the OS itself, it can leave you dealing with crashes and slowdowns when all you want is to return to a time only a few days ago when everything was running perfectly. Well, Windows 10 has an inbuilt safety feature that allows just such a thing. System Restore is its name, and in this feature we’ll show you how it can come to your rescue.

See also: Quick fixes for common Windows 10 problems

A warning to temper your hopes

While System Restore is an excellent feature, there is a very good chance that you may never have turned it on in the first place. Obviously this will be bad news if you need it now, as Windows will actually have no saved versions of your system to restore. To ensure this doesn’t happen in the future go to File Explorer, right click on This PC and select Properties>System protection>Configure, and set how much of your hard drive you want to allocate to System Restore. When you’re done click OK. Now, at least, if you encounter problems going forward you’ll know you have a safety net.

Create a backup before you begin

The idea behind System Restore is simple. While you use your PC Windows is periodically taking a snapshot of your system - all the apps, data, and the OS itself - and saving it on your hard drive. Then if you hit a point where you develop a problem, System Restore allows you to go back to a previous instance, before the problem arose, so you can salvage the situation. The clever part is that your data - documents, images, and such - remain unmolested, whereas any apps you’ve installed after that point in time are removed. Even so, we still strongly recommend making a full backup of any data you need before you begin this process. 

How to use System Restore from Settings

The easiest method is through the Settings menu. To do this open the Start Menu and type Control Panel, then select the top option. From Control Panel search for Recovery, and then navigate to Recovery>Open System restore>Next. 

windows 10 system restore

Here you’ll be presented with a list of restore points. Choose the one you want, then select Next>Finish and Windows will restore that saved version of your system.

How to use System Restore from the Power options

An alternative route is to launch the process by restarting your PC. This way you’ll need to open the Start Menu, then while holding down the shift key click on Power>Restart. Nothing will look different, but rather than the normal bootup sequence you should instead see a blue screen with the three options, one of which is Troubleshoot. Click this to begin the process.

windows 10 system restore

In the Troubleshoot menu you’ll see two further options - Reset this PC, and Advanced Options - choose the latter. Now you’ll be presented with several other choices, but the one to choose is System Restore.

windows 10 system restore

Windows will now setup the restore process, and ask you which account you want to use. Select the relevant one, then enter your password. Next you’ll be taken to a list of all the System Restore points you have on your machine. Select the one that you want, click the Scan for affected programs option if you want to check with apps will be removed, then click Next>Finish and confirm that you want to restore this backup. Windows will now complete the process, reboot, and should be good to go.