Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Windows 7 restore points disappear automatically as newer restore points are created. You can't directly control the number of restore points kept.
I am having problems with my system restore points. No matter how many I make or what I do they will disappear after a while. There is no consistency as to when they go, they just go. I have been reading on internet and did a bit of checking and found error 'event 8224, VSS' which I think is associated with this problem, some kind of timeout. I am using Windows 7 Pro with lots of hard disk space. Any ideas or pointers ?.
Event 8224, VSS is a red herring; it's a normal event that indicates that the Volume Shadow Service, a service that System Restore uses, simply has nothing to do right now, and is shutting down until needed.
I can't say what may or may not be going wrong. However, it's also very possible that nothing's going wrong at all, and that System Restore is working completely as expected.
And that, my friend, is one of the single largest reasons that my advice in general is not to rely on System Restore.
With something like System Restore, you're immediately faced with a difficult dilemma: how many restore points do you keep?
Keep too many and the hard disk that contains them will fill up, and the user will be annoyed.
Keep too few and restore points won't be available when needed, and the user will be annoyed.
In a classic "pass of the buck", the design decision was to allow the user - who'll be annoyed either way - to make the decision of how much to keep.
Assuming of course that the user even realizes that they have this control. Not knowing and finding out later can be ... annoying.
Right click on My Computer, click on Properties, click on the Advanced system settings link, click on the System Protection tab, and then click on the Configure button.
That lengthy path of actions should land you at System Protection dialog, similar to the one below:
I have mine turned off, as you can see. More on that in a moment.
Note the phrase "You can adjust the maximum disk space used for system protection."
You get to control how many restore points will be kept.
The problem gets even more complicated because you specify how much disk space to use, not how many restore points to keep. And since restore points vary in size depending on many factors, there's no way to really know how many will fit. In fact, since they vary in size over time, what fit in the given space one day might not fit the next.
What we do know is that when Windows creates a restore point, which it does periodically on its own and in response to user and application requests, will just delete the oldest if there's not enough room. In fact it'll delete as many of the oldest restore points that it needs to to make room.
If you're losing restore points too quickly the obvious solution is to give System Restore more disk space. You can adjust the slider on the configuration screen shown above.
Give System Restore a lot of space if you like. That way it'll keep restore points as long as it possibly can.
That can be useful in some cases, I'm sure.
As you can tell, I'm personally not convinced. Hence my alternative approach:
As you saw above, I turn it off.
My position is that in most situations System Restore can be completely replaced by a daily backup of your computer.
In fact, it can be more than completely replaced, since a daily backup properly configured backs up everything, which System Restore does not.
Put more bluntly: System Restore will not restore your system, but a full backup will. System Restore only restores select portions of the system, such as the registry, for example.
So ultimately, that's my recommendation: move away from the unpredictable System Restore functionality in Windows, and use instead a backup that includes periodic full and incremental backups to truly backup everything on your machine. However you configure it, you'll know what you have, and can choose how long to keep it.