Restore Point

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What Does Restore Point Mean?

A restore point refers to the fixed state of a computer system and data. If a malfunction occurs, a system restore tool uses a restore point to return a computer to an earlier functional state.


A user should set manual restore points before applying system changes, in the event of instability or other issues. System restore copies system configuration and data for backup. Deleted files are restored, but system restore does not affect personal files like photos, documents and emails.

Techopedia Explains Restore Point

Types of restore points are as follows:

  • System checkpoints: Scheduled by the OS
  • Manual restore points: Created by the user
  • Installation restore points: Created upon installation of certain programs

Some OSs set automatic restore points, depending on a computer’s purpose and assigned rules. For example, Windows XP creates restore points during the installation of all unsigned/unauthorized device drivers or compatible system restore applications. However, two OSs by the same manufacturer often have major differences. An example is MS Windows XP and MS Windows Vista.

Windows system restore has limitations and complications, as follows:

  • Does not always fully restore software installations and upgrades, due to Windows OS incompatibility and other issues.
  • Some third-party applications, such as Norton’s GoBack and Horizon DataSys’s Rollback Rx, provide more complete system restore execution.
  • May fail to create restore points when free hard drive space is limited.
  • Under certain circumstances, viruses may be restored. Disabling system restore to eliminate viruses may result in losing all saved restore points. As an alternative, a user should wait until scheduled restore point operations are executed and viruses are eliminated.

Restore points are not permanent because the RPLifeInterval registry setting eventually deletes all restore points at predetermined intervals. With dual-boot systems, not all OS changes are monitored, resulting in incomplete system restore execution.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.