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2 Fixes: You Must Enable System Protection on This Drive

Updated by Jean on May 07, 2022
Written by Gemma

When attempting a system restore on Windows 10/8/7, you may encounter an error message stating that "you must enable system protection on this drive." What should you do in this situation to resolve the problem? Here are two useful methods and a better method for restoring your PC to a previous state without enabling system protection.

Before completing any system-related operations, such as modifying the Windows registry or upgrading Windows, you can create System Restore points for backup purposes. Then, if anything goes wrong with the operating system, you can use the created restore points to return your computer to a previous state.

In general, this is a relatively widespread problem, as many users face. For example, if you're having the same problem that windows indicate several restore points to restore, you'll still see the same error when recovering the drive; then, we have a solution to fix this error. 

Let's deep dive in!!

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. Enable System Protection via CMD Type cmd into the search bar and right-clicking Command Prompt. Then choose Run as administrator...Full steps
2. Enable System Protection via Control Panel First, type "Control Panel" in the search bar, just after that, click on System and Security...Full steps
3. To Backup and Restore Windows For the first time you use EaseUS Todo Backup to back up files, click Create backup on the home...Full steps

What is System Protection 

Described, it refers to a Windows feature that creates and saves information about your computer's system files and registry regularly. It also stores prior versions of files that you have updated and these data in restore points before significant system events.

System Protection is allowed by default on the drive that contains the installed Windows operating system. Furthermore, System Protection is only available for NTFS drives.

However, if the problem above happens, it signifies that the feature has been disabled. Therefore, to successfully recover the System, make sure System Protection is turned on.

How can I enable System Protection on my Windows 10/8/7 hard drive? In this section, we will show you two ways to enable it.

Method 1. Enable System Protection via CMD

Command Prompt is the approach most commonly used by users. For example, to resolve the error, "you must enable system protection on this drive," use Command Prompt in Windows 10/8/7 to enable System Protection on C drive.

Step 1. Type cmd into the search bar and right-clicking Command Prompt. Then choose Run as administrator.

Step 2. If Windows does not boot up, you can still use the Command Prompt via the Windows Recovery Environment.

Step 3. From the Windows Recovery Environment, go to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt.

choose command prompt

Step 4. Then, in the Command Prompt, type net starts vss and press the Return key.

Step 5. Now type rstrui.exe /offline:C:windows=active in command prompt and keep in mind to press Return.

enable system protection command

Step 6. After the restore, restart your computer to see if the prior state may be retrieved.

Important tip: 

According to some users,  they encountered the error "you must enable system protection on this drive." After trying the above command, Rstrui.exe opened the System Restore; however, it did not resolve the issue - the System Restore failed.

The error message hinted that it was related to the registry. Then, using Command Prompt, this user navigated to C: WindowsSystem32config and renamed two registry files:

  • ren SYSTEM system.001
  • ren SOFTWARE software.001

Following this, they ran the System Restore, and it worked. You can also do as the user did if you fail to restore these commands.

Method 2. Enable System Protection via Control Panel

The next you can enable system protection is with the help of a control panel. Just follow the below steps to do so.

Step 1. First, type "Control Panel" in the search bar, just after that, click on System and Security > System > System protection.

enable system protection control panel

Step 2. Now select the target drive and click the "Configure" button under the system protection tab.

configure disk

Step 3. Choose the option "Switch on the protection" of the System and press the Apply and OK.

Note: This method is only available if your Windows 10/8/7 system can run to the Windows desktop.

Then, you can try to restore the disk to check if you've fixed the problem — you must enable system protection on this drive. 

However, in rare circumstances, this choice may be greyed out or unavailable. Furthermore, even if you use Command Prompt to enable System Protection, you may fail to restore system points to the previous state. Fortunately, you can safeguard your Windows by backing and restoring it with a third-party tool.

Bonus Tip: Backup and Restore Windows with EaseUS Todo Backup

Nobody likes to think things are wrong, but the best way is to prepare yourself for the worst. First, we will study why the EaseUS Todo Backup is the best tool to backup and restore Windows.

EaseUS Todo Backup is aimed to provide users with a high level of data security. You can back up files, folders, and drives to both external hard drives and cloud drives. And the operation is very easy, too. Even if you have never backed up your computer data or operating system before, it wouldn't be a problem. This tool gives specific instructions on what you should do at every step. You could also check the detailed guide in our support articles.

Hand-backing in Windows 10 is a bit of a complicated operation – and precisely why it makes so much sense to turn to EaseUS Todo Backup. You can safeguard your whole System in only a few clicks, saving the whole contents of your hard drives. Here is a detailed guide on how to make Windows backup with EaseUS Todo Backup. You can download the software and follow the guide to have a try.

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Step 1. To initiate a backup, click the Select backup contents option.

create file backup step1

Step 2. There are four data backup categories, File, Disk, OS, and Mail, click File.

create file backup step2

Step 3. On the left, both local and network files will be shown. You may extend the directory to pick the backup files.

File backup

Step 4. Follow the on-screen instructions and choose a location to store the backup.

File backup step4

Click Options to encrypt the backup with a password in Backup Options, then click Backup Scheme to specify the backup schedule and start the backup at a certain event. There are also other additional choices you may choose to tailor the backup process to your requirements.

Backup options

Step 5. The backup may be stored on a local disk, EaseUS' online service, or NAS.

file backup step4

Step 6. EaseUS Todo Backup enables customers to back up data to a third-party cloud drive as well as its own cloud drive.

If you want to back up data to a cloud drive provided by a third party, choose Local Drive, scroll down to add Cloud Device, and then add and log in to your account.

Backup to cloud
You can also choose the EaseUS cloud drive. Sign up for an EaseUS Account, then click EaseUS Cloud and log in.

backup to easeus cloud

Step 7. Click Backup Now to begin the backup process. The backup job will be presented as a card on the left side of the panel after it has been finished. Right-click the backup job to handle it further.

File backup step7


In the event of system restoration, you can enable system protection using a command line by comparing the error message "You must enable system protection on this drive." Similarly, you can activate system protection via the control panel if you can enter the Windows environment.

However, the EaseUS Todo Backup tool is another trustworthy option to protect Windows. It provides a complete backup solution from your OS to personal files for your PC. It is also a strong yet free tool for disk copying. Moreover, its technical edition allows you to generate portable versions of this software and use it without installing it again on various computers. Just try it today!

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Updated by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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Written by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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