Why Do Windows 10 Restore Points Disappear? (Windows 11 Too)

Restore points are helpful for many people because they allow users to revert to a previous state when their operating system is performing optimally. However, some Windows 10 users face the challenge of losing their restore points, hence, losing their OS’s points of good performance. 

Why Restore Points Keep Disappearing

Windows 10 restore points may disappear because their maximum available storage space has been reached, the System Restore files are corrupted, their storage time has been exceeded, you have upgraded your OS, USB turbo boosters are present, or System Restore is disabled.

Windows 10 Restore Points in the System Restore panel.

This section of the article will cover why Restore Points disappeared in Windows so you can understand why it could happen.

1. Storage space is exhausted, or the drive has limited space

System restore is a collection of files that can take you back to a previous version of your OS in case it experiences failure or stops working optimally.

So, to save these backup files, it needs sufficient storage.

Two possible storage-related reasons could make your restore points disappear. So, let’s look at them together:

Allocated storage space is full

You can designate space on your drives for System Restore and System Protection. 

Once you select the location to save these backup files, your computer will send them there until the space is full.

If you fill up this space, your OS will delete the oldest restore points to make space for new ones. 

So, if your restore points keep disappearing, it could be because you have set the maximum shadow storage to a low percentage. 

Your drive has limited space

Your points could also disappear if you have limited HDD or SDD space.

System Restore will suspend itself automatically if you have less than 200 MB of storage space on your drive.

So, if that happens, you won’t get any more backup saves until you manually delete older files. 

2. The system restore files are corrupted

System Restore points are “snapshots” of the Windows registry and system files.

Your computer will save these snapshots as files for 90 days maximum at a user-specified location.

You can access any saved file if you open this location on your computer directory. 

Each file in your computer has a type of content that it should store.

So, when you back up your system, your PC organizes copies of every file, allowing you to restore everything quickly and accurately.

However, if you move around these files or change them, the file won’t work optimally. 

What is file corruption?

Computer data corruption refers to any errors in data being created, modified, stored, or transmitted from one point to another. 

What happens when files are corrupted?

When the data in a file is corrupt, it may give undesired outcomes when the system or any applications that need it open it. 

Examples of the results can include providing an error message and failing to open completely, opening but showing only partial data that are scrambled and unintelligible, data loss from the file, and even a system crash in some severe cases. 

Windows has tools that can help

Windows recognizes corrupted files using one of its tools, System File Checker (SFC), which can find corrupt or altered files after conducting scans.

Then, depending on the level of damage, it will repair, delete, or replace them. Most of the time, depending on the level of corruption, it updates the files to their clean versions.

Like all other files, System Restore files can also get altered or corrupted due to a bug in the system or a defect.

Viruses or malware that use corruption to make money could also mess with them.

Windows’ first line of defense is always using any available tools to clear the bug or error in the restore points’ damaged files.

If the Windows tools fail, Windows opts to delete the restore points with corrupt files.

Windows needs to delete any restore points with corrupted files that it cannot repair to prevent damage to the system and ensure that your computer continues working seamlessly. 

3. The restore points’ storage time frame has been exceeded

A digitized hourglass representing limited time for storing Restore Points in Windows.

Windows 10 stores restore points for a maximum of 90 days. Once 90 days are over, your computer deletes the older files to make space for new ones. 

So, if your older files have disappeared, don’t worry. Windows is just making room for new files and backups. 

4. Operating system upgrades or reinstallation

In this section, I’ll explain two other common reasons why your restore points are disappearing based on the installation and uninstallation of your operating system.

You have upgraded your operating system to a new version

As defined above, restore points indicate when the OS worked optimally. Therefore, they’re only relevant to and specific to the operating system. 

When you upgrade to a new version of Windows, the older restore points won’t work anymore because it’s a whole new OS.

Since the old restore points become irrelevant after an upgrade, Windows deletes them to create storage space for the new ones you will make for the new OS.  

If you try to reinstall any restore points from the older operating system after an update, you’ll corrupt your new OS.

Therefore, I highly recommend not restoring your old restore points on a new operating system. 

You have reinstalled your current operating system

When you uninstall and then reinstall the OS currently in use, you’ll get to keep your user files and programs but lose all Windows-related files. Because System Restore files are Windows-related, you will lose them during reinstallation. 

5. Presence of USB Turbo Boosters

USB turbo boosters are USB drivers that can make data transfer speeds five times faster. Most people install them when they regularly transfer files of large sizes. 

One well-known example of a Windows USB turbo booster is ASRock XFast USB.

Commonly used USB turbo boosters can significantly impact the volume shadow service that Windows 10 needs to create restore points. 

6. System Restore is disabled 

You could be missing restore points because you have disabled the feature.

Sometimes, System Restore may disable itself, especially if you have recently updated your OS.

Otherwise, you may have turned System Restore off manually. 

Fixes to prevent Restore Points from disappearing

Now that we have gone over the reasons for Windows Restore Points disappearing, here are actionable steps to take to reduce the chances of this problem continuing.

1. Ensure System Restore is enabled

I recommend enabling system restore on your OS before trying other solutions since it’s the easiest fix.

You’d be wasting time trying all other solutions when the fix is as simple as enabling System Restore. 

Here’s how to enable it on Windows 10:

Run command to open the System Protection Settings in Windows.
  1. Open the Run command by pressing Windows + R on your keyboard.
  2. Type in sysdm.cpl and click OK.
  3. Click on the System Protection tab.
  4. Select the Local Disk (C:) (System) drive.
  5. Click on Configure.
  6. Under Restore Settings, click on Turn on system protection.
How to open the Restore Point Settings to turn on System Restore in Windows.
How to turn on System Protection.

If you follow these steps and find that System Restore is already enabled, this isn’t your problem, and you should proceed to the next fix.

2. Adjust the Maximum Disk Space Usage setting

To ensure the disk space is the problem, you could adjust the maximum allowed disk storage for System Restore and check whether it starts optimally. 

Take the following steps to increase the maximum disk space usage for restore points:

How to adjust the disk usage size for System Protection.
  1. Open Run by pressing the Windows key + R.
  2. Once Run is open, type in sysdm.cpl and press Enter.
  3. Click the System Protection tab
  4. Select the Local Disk (C:) (System) drive.
  5. Select Configure.
  6. Set the Max Usage slider under Disk Space Usage to a larger percentage by moving it to the right. (I recommend adjusting it to at least 500MB).
  7. Click OK.

Increasing the disk space usage will enable Windows to save more restore points without deleting older ones. 

3. Repair corrupt System Restore files

Windows lets you know whether you have corrupt files using the system file checker. Take the following steps to run it:

How to open Command Prompt as an administrator.
  1. Open the Command Prompt by typing cmd in the Search Box located in the Taskbar.
  2. Ensure you have selected Run as Administrator.
  3. Type in sfc /scannow and press the Enter key on your keyboard.
The command to scan and fix corrupt Windows files.

4. Remove any present USB turbo boosters

I recommend uninstalling any present turbo boosters before you create any restore points. To uninstall turbo boosters, follow the procedure below:

  1. Go to Start and search for apps and features by typing it into the open Start Menu.
  2. Click on Apps and features.
  3. In the newly opened window, under Apps & features, type the name of your USB turbo booster in the search box located above the list of apps on your machine.
  4. Click on it when it pops up in the results.
  5. You will see two options next to it: Modify and Uninstall.
  6. Click on Uninstall, and Windows will uninstall the turbo booster.

After uninstalling your USB turbo boosters, check that Windows can save your restore points.

To do so, create a new file under System Restore, then search for it to confirm it is there. 

Confirm that your file is there again later. If your restore points keep disappearing, proceed to the next solution in this article. 

How to prevent Restore Points from disappearing

Find an excellent computer backup system

One of the most important things you should know as a Windows user is that System Restore isn’t a backup plan for your computer and should never be treated as such because it’ll be unreliable. 

You should know that System Restore cannot reverse a Windows upgrade because all files will self-delete after installing the upgrade.

It’s crucial to find a reliable backup solution for your computer and not only rely on System Restore for the reasons above.

So, let’s look at some of the best ways to back up your system:

Disk Imaging

One backup method that I highly recommend is using disk imaging. 

Disk imaging is a form of backup that copies all OS data, user data, and applications into a compressed file.

Then, you can save the compressed file on another device or in the cloud for easy recovery.

Disk imaging is an excellent tool since you can restore everything to what it was before, including all your user data, Windows-related data, and applications when you restore a disk image. 

Macrium Reflect is one of the most recommended disk imaging and backup management tools for Windows 10 users. It has a free edition as well as a paid package. 

System Restore in Windows 11

Like its predecessors, Windows 11 also has the System Restore feature to help you revert to an older point of usage of your OS when it fails to work correctly.

However, to create System Restore points on Windows 11, you should enable it as you did on Windows 10.

Take the following steps to enable System Restore on Windows 11:

How to open the create a Restore Point app in Windows 11.
How to access the System Protection configuration in Windows 11.
  1. Click on Start to access the search bar.
  2. Type restore point in the search bar.
  3. Click on the first option titled Create a restore point.
  4. Navigate to the System Protection tab in the System Properties window.
  5. Click the Configure button if protection is set to Off under Protection Settings.
  6. Click the radio button that states Turn on system protection.
  7. Under Disk Space Usage, move the slider either to the left or right to set the Max Usage allowed for your restore points.
  8. Click the OK button to finish.
How to enable and set the System Protection for Windows 11 and allow for new Restore Points to be allocated.

After enabling it, the next step is creating the restore points. To do this, follow these steps:

How to create a new system Restore Point in Windows 11.
  1. Follow the above process again to open the System Protection tab under System Properties.
  2. Under Protection Settings, click on the Create button.
  3. Name the restore point.
  4. Click Create and wait for a message that Windows successfully created the restore point.
  5. Click on Close.
How to name a new Restore Point in Windows 11.

Windows 11, just like Windows 10, retains your restore points for a maximum of 90 days, after which they’re deleted to make space for newer restore points.