How to Access System Restore in Windows When Things Go Wrong

Ways To Access System Restore In Windows

System Restore is one of the most reliable ways to solve Windows problems without deleting data. Since you need to access it when things go south, it’s important to know different ways to access System Restore. You never know when a problem may limit your Windows functionality and prevent you from accessing System Restore. Here are the various ways to access System Restore in Windows beyond the traditional methods.

Note: None of these methods will work if System Restore isn’t working or access to it is restricted by admin.

1. Open System Restore Using Run Dialog

You may lose access to Windows Settings or the Control Panel if the files get corrupted or your access is restricted in a corporate environment. In this case, using the Run dialog is a reliable option.

Press the Win + R keys and type rstrui in the Run dialog to open System Restore.

Open System Restore From Run

2. Use the Command Prompt

The Command Prompt is another tool that you can use to open System Restore. It is also more reliable for solving Windows problems as it’s a standalone app unaffected by most GUI issues. It’s even accessible without fully booting Windows, like Advanced Startup Options or Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

Type cmd in Windows Search to launch the Command Prompt. Right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.

Open Command Prompt

Type rstrui.exe and press Enter to launch System Restore.

Open System Restore From Command Prompt

3. Open From the Task Manager

If your Windows is freezing or you are unable to access Command Prompt, then the Task Manager might do the trick. Task Manager is also a separate app like the Command Prompt, and it can be opened using keyboard shortcuts. More importantly, it’s accessible using the Ctrl + Alt + Delete security options that can work even during freezes and glitches.

Either access Task Manager from the Ctrl + Alt + Delete security options or press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to open it.

Click on the File menu at the top and select the Run new task option.

Task Manager New Task

Now type rstrui in the empty field and click on OK to open System Restore.

Access System Restore From Task Manager

4. Create a Taskbar Shortcut

You can add the System Restore app icon to the taskbar so it is easily accessible.

Type rstrui in the Windows Search, right-click on the System Restore icon and select Open file location.

Open System Restore App

Now right-click on the System Restore app and select Pin to taskbar from the context menu. That’s it, this will add the icon and you can open it any time with a single click.

Pin System Restore on Taskbar

Tip: If you prefer, you can move the icon to the desktop as well. To do so, select the Send to -> Desktop (create shortcut) option in the context menu instead.

5. Access From Advanced Startup Options

If you can’t access System Restore from inside the Windows for some reason, it’s better to use Advanced Startup Options during the boot process instead. There are 3 ways to access them and each one is useful in different situations.

From Inside Windows

If you can log in to Windows or at least access the login screen, then you can use this method. Open the Start menu and select the Power option in it. Hold the Shift key and click on Restart. Your PC will restart and open Advanced Startup Options first.

During Windows Startup

If Windows is not even starting, then you need to use one of the keyboard shortcuts to access Advanced Startup Options during the boot process. The shortcut varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but usually it’s F11, F12, Delete, or Esc. You can check your PC manual or manufacturer support page to learn exactly which shortcut works for you.

Once you know the right shortcut, power on the PC and immediately start pressing the key until Advanced Startup Options open.

Access From Automatic Startup Repair

Try this if both of the above methods don’t work for you. Start your PC and when the Windows logo appears, hold the power button until it shuts down. Do this 2-3 times and the next time Windows will launch Automatic Startup Repair to try to fix the problem that is preventing the PC from booting.

After searching, it will tell you that the PC was unable to start correctly and give you the option to access Advanced options or restart. Click on Advanced options here to open Advanced Startup Options.

Automatic Repair Advanced Options

Once you are inside Advanced Startup Options, go to Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> System Restore.

System Restore Advanced Startup Options

The PC will restart and System Restore will open with a simpler GUI.

6. Open System Restore From Safe Mode

If the problem is preventing the System Restore from even launching, then this is your last resort. You can launch System Restore in Safe Mode to make sure nothing prevents it from running, since Safe Mode loads with minimum drivers and functionality.

The Safe Mode options are also in the Advanced Startup Options. Just go to Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Startup Repair and click on the Restart button there.

Windows Startup Settings Restart

After restart, a list of options will open up. Select Enable Safe Mode and then use the Run dialog (1st method) to access System Restore in it. If you want even less interference, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt instead and run rstrui.exe command in it.

Windows Safe Mode Options

No matter the problem’s complexity, one of these methods will help you restore your PC to a stable state. The bigger problem would be not enabling System Restore or deleting System Restore points as you may be forced to take more drastic measures like factory reset.

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Karrar Haider

Karrar is drenched in technology and always fiddles with new tech opportunities. He has a bad habit of calling technology “Killer”, and doesn’t feel bad about spending too much time in front of the PC. If he is not writing about technology, you will find him spending quality time with his little family.

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