Disabling System Restore

Windows ME and XP utilize a restore utility that backs up selected files automatically to the C:\_Restore folder. This means that an infected file could be stored there as a backup file, and VirusScan will be unable to delete these files. You must disable the System Restore Utility to remove the infected files from the C:\_Restore folder.


1. Right click the My Computer icon on the Desktop and click on Properties.
2. Click on the Performance tab.
3. Click on the File System button.
4. Click on the Troubleshooting tab.
5. Put a check mark next to 'Disable System Restore'.

6. Click the 'OK' button.
7. You will be prompted to restart the computer. Click Yes.

To turn on Windows ME System Restore
  1. Note: To re-enable the Restore Utility, follow steps one to seven and on step five remove the check mark next to 'Disable System Restore'.


Disabling the System Restore Utility (Windows XP Users)

You want to know how to turn off or turn on the Windows XP System Restore feature.

This information is for your convenience. System Restore is part of Windows XP. If you need help with System Restore, contact Microsoft technical support.

To disable System Restore, you must log on to Windows XP as Administrator. If you are not logged on as Administrator, you will not see the System Restore tab. Not sure that you are logged on as Administrator? Read Are you logged on to Windows 2000/XP as an administrator?

Note: Turning off System Restore deletes all previous restore points. You must create new restore points once you turn System Restore back on.

To turn off Windows XP System Restore
  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
  3. On the System Restore tab, check Turn off System Restore or Turn off System Restore on all drives as shown in this picture:

  4. Click Apply. The following message appears:

  5. As noted in the message, this deletes all existing restore points. Click Yes to do this.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Proceed with what you need to do. For example, removing viruses. Restart the computer and follow the instructions in the next section to turn on System Restore.

To turn on Windows XP System Restore
  1. Follow the steps in the previous section, but in step 3, uncheck Turn off System Restore or Turn off System Restore on all drives. Then click OK.
  2. Create new System Restore points.

Technical Information:
System Restore, a Windows XP feature, is similar to the "Last Known Good Configuration" in Windows NT and Windows 2000. You can use System Restore to restore the computer to a previous state, using the backups that it makes of selected system files and program files. Unlike the "Last Known Good Configuration" feature, System Restore maintains multiple restore points. This gives you the choice of restoring your computer to any number of previously saved states.

While this is a desirable feature, in some cases it should be temporarily turned off. For example, if the computer is infected with a virus, then it is possible that the virus could be backed up by System Restore. By default, Windows prevents System Restore from being modified by outside programs. As a result, there is the possibility that you could restore a virus-infected file, or that the on-line scanners would detect the virus in that location.

Disabling System Restore does not delete or remove any of your personal data from your computer. The only files removed are those that System Restore created, the restore points. Using System Restore to revert to a previously saved restore point does not affect any of your personal data files or any items in your My Documents folder. For more information search the Microsoft Windows Help (Click Start > Help and Support) and search for "System Restore Overview" and "Understanding System Restore." These documents explain what System Restore is, how it works, and give more information about the effects of turning it on or off.

For more information, read the Microsoft Knowledge Base article, How to restore the operating system to a previous state in Windows XP, Article ID: 306084.