How to use System Restore on Windows 8 and 8.1 on your Dell PC

How to use System Restore on Windows 8 and 8.1 on your Dell PC

This article provides information on how to use the Windows 8 and 8.1 System Restore Utility.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is System Restore?
  2. How to Run Windows 8 and 8.1 System Restore
  3. What is the difference with System Refresh and Reset?

What is System Restore?

If you're having problems with your PC, you can try to restore it to the way the system worked on a previous date.

Restoring your PC replaces your registry and system settings with versions that were saved on various earlier dates as various restore Points. It also keeps the apps that came with your PC and the apps you installed from the Windows Store.

Restoring your PC doesn't reinstall Windows and doesn't delete your files, settings, and apps — except for programs and apps that were installed on your PC after the date you are restoring to.

Restoring your PC is a way to undo recent system changes you've made, with the least changes made and the least effort involved.

Note: System Restore isn’t available for Windows RT. If you're running System Restore from Safe Mode in Windows 8 and 8.1, please know that the changes it makes to your computer will not be reversible.

A restore point contains registry entries, copies of certain critical programs, drivers and system files. It's a snapshot of your PC at various points when it was working fine.

It takes a snapshot on both a scheduled basis and before you make any major changes to your PC. such as installing new drivers, programs or system updates.

When you restore to a restore point, you replace the current settings and programs with the older versions. Undoing any changes that may have made the system unstable.

Note: As long as system Protection is enabled on your system, Windows will automatically create a restore point whenever you install new Windows updates - if the last restore point is older than 7 days.

Note: If you have a different operating system, then please check out the links below.

Note: The methods available are identical for both Windows 8 and 8.1, however in Windows 8.1 you now get the added functionality of the start button having been replaced.

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How to Run Windows 8 and 8.1 System Restore

Method I

Note: If you have installed your Windows installation on the latest UEFI BIOS or are using an SSD (Solid State Drive) as your boot device, then please go straight to method II.
  1. Whilst holding down the SHIFT key, repeatedly and quickly tap the F8 key during the whole booting process. This will take you into the Recovery Mode menu before the operating system begins to load.

Note: This may take several attempts before it works as quick booting systems can go past the detection point quicker than you can tap the key.
  1. You can choose the advanced repair options at that point.

Advanced Repair Options

  1. Click on the Troubleshoot button.


  1. Select Advanced Options.

Advanced Options

  1. Choose System Restore. Picture same as for Windows 8.

System Restore

  1. From this point it's the same as from Step 5 of Method II in the next tab, please continue there.

Method II

  1. To open System Restore :

    1. You can open the Power User Tasks Menu using the Win+X keys together and click on System. Carry on with the next step.

    2. You can open the Run Command Box using the Win+R keys together and type rstrui.exe and hit the ENTER key. Proceed to Step 5.

    3. You can swipe in from the right edge of the screen and then tap search from the Charm Bar. Type Recovery into the search box and tap Settings and then Recovery. Tap on Open System Restore. Proceed to Step 5.

Power User Menu Run Box Charms Bar

  1. Click on the System protection link in the left pane.

System Restore Properties

  1. If prompted by the User Account Control (UAC), then click on Yes.

  1. Click on the System Restore button.

System Restore

  1. Click on Next.

Restore Files and Settings

Note: You will only see this screen if this is the first time that System Restore is being run in Windows 8 and 8.1.
  1. Choose a different restore point and click on Next.

Recommended Restore Point

  1. Select a restore point that you would like to restore your computer state to and click on the Scan for affected programs button.

Additional Restore Points

Note: If displayed, check the Show Other Restore Points Box to be able to see any older restore points (if available) that are not listed.
  1. Verify that the listed affected programs and drivers to be deleted and restored will be ok to you and click on Close.

Scan for Affected Programs

Note: If not, then click on Close and go back to Step 13 to select another restore point.
  1. When ready, click on Next.

  2. Click on the Finish button.

Confirm and Finish

Note: Everything will be restored to the state it was in when the selected restore point was created.
  1. Click on Yes to confirm.

see screenshot below

Restore Reboot

Note: This will immediately restart your computer to finish the system restore.
  1. After the computer has restarted and you've opened the Desktop Win+D click on the Close button that appears saying it was or wasn't successful.

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What is the difference with System Refresh and Reset?

In addition to System Restore, Windows 8 and 8.1 can perform either a System Refresh or a System Reset.


I'll quickly show the difference between the two utilities and give an example of when they would be used instead of a system restore :

System Refresh -

Refreshing your PC reinstalls the Windows Operating System but it keeps your personal files and settings. It also keeps the apps that came with your PC and the apps you installed from the Windows Store. The closest analogy to this is the Windows XP Repair Install. It's mostly used where an Operating System is corrupted beyond recovery but it hasn't affected anything else. Usually malware damage.

System Reset -

Resetting your PC re-installs Windows but deletes your files, settings and apps. It will keep the apps that came with your PC. The closest analogy to this is an image restore from a recovery partition. This is mostly used where the system is unusable and is the last resort. It can be anything - from something that didn't install correctly, to malicious malware damage.

Note: System Restore, System Reset and System Refresh in Windows 8 and 8.1 will not return any non-system files, such as emails, documents, etc. to a previous state or revision. They will not recover any of these types of files that have been deleted. If this is what you are trying to do please look at a data recovery program instead.

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Article ID: SLN291833

Last Date Modified: 09/20/2019 06:27 AM

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