Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

System Restore can take up a lot of room on a hard drive. I have a better recommendation than trying to move the restore points.

I installed a Solid State drive on my computer and regulated its hard drive to secondary storage. Of course, the SSD drive is a lot smaller so I'm trying to push non-essentials to secondary storage. Is there any way to force Windows to store restore points on a different drive than the system drive.

In this excerpt from Answercast #25, I look at moving restore points and why I wouldn't bother.

System Restore

In short, I'm going to say no.

There may be a registry hack that I'm unaware of. I know that there is no user interface defined that would allow you to do that.

However, because I dislike System Restore so much, I'm going to recommend, strongly, that you take a different approach completely.

Image backups

  • Turn off System Restore.

Instead, use a backup program to take appropriate, periodic backups of your machine. Having done so, you can place those backups wherever you want; be it on secondary storage, an external drive, or anywhere.

As a side effect, by turning off System Restore, you'll have freed up all that disk space on your Solid State Drive that System Restore would otherwise be taking up.

System Restore is unreliable

So, my serious and strong recommendation is that you consider dumping System Restore. It's just too unreliable in my experience. Move to something that gives you significantly more control over your machine and where the data gets stored, such as a backup program.

Article C5444 - June 11, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

June 12, 2012 10:44 AM

Re. system restore being unreliable, I have to agree. Doesn't seem a very robust system to me and has never been very successful for me on ANY of the machines I own. I think I can almost count on the thumbs of one hand the number of restores that have actually worked! I almost invariably get (to paraphrase): "Cannot be restored to (whatever). No changes have been made". Seemed to be a little better from safe mode at one stage but that also seems to have gone out of the window (if you pardon the pun!). I also seriously consider whether it's worth taking drive space up with restore points. There used to be an alternative from Norton called Go Back that I used on Win 98. Is that still around?

Mark Magill
June 12, 2012 1:09 PM

It's important to note that you should not blindly disable System Restore on your computer until after you have chosen, installed, and tested your new backup system for a suitable period of time. Granted, System Restore (SR) has its limitations, and things like Macrium Reflect (even the free one) are nice, but I've had SR get me out of trouble many times when a program crash damaged something, both on my home computer and in the computer lab where I teach young students. I would suggest giving your new backup choice at least a few weeks use to make sure your satisfied with it, unless you're critically low on disk space.

June 12, 2012 1:47 PM

Not only system restore is unreliable, any Windows backup/restore function I have tried did not perform to my expectations.

I highly recommend to follow LEO's advice to use imaging. There are several fine free products out there. I prefer free Macrium Reflect, but some others are just as good.

June 12, 2012 2:05 PM

I use ERDNT as a replacement for System Restore.
It works for me. It saves the latest changes in the registry when I shut down. No changes - no saving. I can go to the to the directory where the backups are saved and delete the older ones to save space if I want.

A. Orcan
June 20, 2012 11:10 PM

System restore is still useful for undoing changes after an installed software or update causes unexpected problems. I use an excellent third party product as well that keeps track of installations, modifications and updates among other things. Still, I find a a system restore more practical sometimes. The storage place for system restore might be causing problems for some people; I used the following command to keep it low:
vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /Maxsize=1GB

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.