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Disable System Restore in Windows XP

Daniel Petri


How can I turn off the System Restore feature in XP?

System Restore is an incredible space hog (read more about it in What’s System Restore in Windows XP?). It might be worth it, if System Restore were a truly complete and foolproof form of backup, but it’s not. At best, System Restore can and will get the core operating system running again after a bad crash, but it doesn’t return all files to the pre-trouble state, and it can’t remove all traces of a program that went bad. As a result, System Restore’s usefulness is limited, and so should be its appetite for disk space. 

To turn System Restore off:  

  1. Go to your Control Panel.

  2. Click System.

  3. Go to the System Restore tab.

  4. Check the box Turn off System Restore for all drives.

You can also turn it off only for specific partitions, for example partitions that contain information that does not change as often as your system and boot partitions. If you have more than one drive, you may wish to turn off System Restore entirely for non-system drives. There’s little, if any, benefit to be gained by having them monitored.

You can also choose the amount of space System Restore will take on each and every disk it uses:

Be sure to know that when you disable System Restore your system will automatically delete all previous restore points, so if you do want to keep them, do NOT disable this feature.

A note for Windows Server 2003 users – Although System Restore is disabled by default on your machine, there is a way to hack it and re-enable it if you want to. Follow the instructions found on this page:

How to enable System Restore on Windows Server 2003

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