System Restore is a default Windows feature to create a restore point. You can use this to take a snapshot of the system setup before installing or doing major changes. When there is a problem, you can easily revert back the system to restore point and bring to working state. However, sometimes you may notice the System Restore button is greyed out which prevents you from creating a restore point. In this article, we will explain how to fix the issue and enable System Restore back in Windows 11.
Accessing System Restore Option in Windows 11
Earlier, you can access the option from Control Panel app. However, now it is easy to access System Restore from Windows Settings app.
- Press “Win + X” keys or right-click on the Start button to open power user menu.
- Select “Settings” from the list to open Windows Settings app.
- Go to “System” section, scroll down to bottom on the right pane and click “About” option.
- Check under “Device specifications” section and click “System protection” showing as “Related links”.
- This will open “System Properties” dialog and go to “System Protection” tab.
- As you can see, “System Restore” button is greyed out preventing from creating a restore point.
Fixing System Restore Greyed Out in Windows 11
To use System Restore feature, you should enable System Protection for each volume in your hard drive. Most importantly, you should first enable System Protection for the Windows boot drive (commonly C: drive) before trying to enable it on other drives. You can do this using one of the following methods.
Method #1 – Enable System Protection from System Properties
When you are in the “System Properties” dialog box, check the “Protection” status of drives under “Protection settings” section. It should show “Off” which is why the System Restore button is greyed out.
- Select C: drive where you have Windows installation. It should show “System” in the brackets indicating it is the system installation drive.
- Click on the “Configure” button to open System Protection settings dialog box.
- Enable “Turn on system protection” and click “OK” button to apply the changes.
- This will enable System Protection and you can see status “On” for C: drive. Now, you should see “System Restore…” button should be enabled and you can click on the “Create…” button to create system restore point.
Enabling system protection for C: drive is sufficient to enable System Restore and create restore point. However, you can follow the similar instructions to enable protection for other drives if required.
Note: If you turn off the system protection, Windows will show you a warning and delete all previously created restore point. We recommend you to always take a complete backup regularly for restoring purposes in addition to creating system restore point.
Method #2 – Using Group Policy Editor
If the “Configure” button is not clickable (greyed out) in system protection settings, then your administrator might have disabled the settings from group policy. In this case, you should be using Windows Pro or enterprise edition which has the local group policy editor to control such settings (group policy editor is not available in Windows Home edition). If you have administrator access, then follow the below instructions to enable configure and system restore options on your computer.
- Press “Win + R” keys to open Run prompt.
- Type gpedit.msc in the text box and press “OK” button.
- This will open Local Group Policy Editor app as shown below.
- Navigate to “Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > System Restore” section from the left sidebar.
- System Restore section has two policies – “Turn off Configuration” and “Turn off System Restore”.
- Double click on “Turn off System Restore” policy and set as “Disabled”. This will enable System Restore button for boot drive (C: drive).
- Similarly, double click on “Turn off Configuration” policy and select “Disabled” option. This will enable “Configure” button in System Protection dialog for the boot drive.
Remember, you should select “Disabled” option as these policies are for turning off. Selecting “Not configured” option also will allow you to use System Restore in Configure options in System Protection settings. However, the buttons will be greyed out if you select “Enabled” for these policies.
Method #3 – Using Windows PowerShell
The last option to enable System Restore in Windows is to use a cmdlet from PowerShell app.
- Click the search icon in taskbar and type “powershell” in the search box.
- Find Windows PowerShell app and click on “Run as Administrator” link to open the app in admin mode.
- Type the following command and press enter key.
Enable-ComputerRestore -Drive "C:\"
- You will not see any success message. However, you can go to System Protection settings and check System Restore is now enabled.
Remember, you should use Windows PowerShell in administrator mode to run the command. If you are using PowerShell in Terminal app without admin access, you will see an error message like below. Also, close Windows Settings app before you run the command in PowerShell.
Similarly, you can disable System Restore using the following cmdlet from PowerShell. Change the drive letter if you want to disable/enable it for other drives on your computer.
Disable-ComputerRestore -Drive "C:\"
In summary, you should enable System Protection for the boot drive (Windows installation drive) to use System Restore option in Windows. Though enabling it from Windows Settings app is an easy option, you can also use PowerShell to enable or disable with a cmdlet. If your administrator blocked access to system restore settings, then you can use group policy editor in Windows Pro/Enterprise editions to enable the options.