Will System Restore Delete My Files

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Jean updated on May 07, 2022 to Computer Instruction | How-to Articles

"I'm thinking to perform a system restore, but I'm afraid of doing so because I know nothing about it.  If I restore my computer from a restore point, will my files be deleted? I have many good videos downloaded from YouTube."

System Restore is a Microsoft Windows tool designed to protect and repair the computer software. System Restore takes a "snapshot" of some system files and the Windows registry and saves them as Restore Points. When an install failure or data corruption occurs, System Restore can return a system to working condition without you having to reinstall the operating system.  - by Microsoft.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
How to Check What Programs Will be Deleted Press Windows + R keys > Type rstrui.exe in Run > Choose a different restore point...Full steps

Which Program and Files Will Be Affected by System Restore

Based on the description of System Restore provided by Microsoft, it's clear that you can bring your computer to a healthy state by doing so. Some Windows users even think that it's the best way to recover permanently deleted files without using software.

System Restore indeed provides you with a second chance to access some missing documents, videos, pictures, and folders that were included in the restore point. However, you should notice that system restore is never the best way for lost file recovery. 

Always bear in mind that a system restore will affect your system files, programs, drivers and registry settings. That's 100% true.
Never take System Restore as a normal way to help you restore deleted or lost files on Windows PC. 

When you're planning to make a system restore, take time and think for a while what this behavior help and ruin! 

Here is a universal method that you can follow check which programs, drivers and files will be affected by running System Restore on your PC:

Step 1. Press "Windows + R" keys in Windows 10/8/7 to bring up the Run box. 

Step 2. Type rstrui.exe in the empty box and hit Enter. This will open System Restore.

Step 3. Select "Choose a different restore point" and click "Next".

Step 4. Click "Scan for affected programs".

Check affected programs and files while running system restore.

It will then scan for programs and then list the programs and drivers which will be affected or not affected. Here is a form that lists the affected and not affected programs and files by running System Restore:

Affected Programs and Files Not Affected Programs and Files
  • Installed Windows programs
  • System files
  • Registry settings
  • Windows Updates
  • Desktop saved files and folders
  • Antivirus software
  • Documents folder located in the C drive
  • Personal files like photos, emails, etc.
  • Virus, Malware, etc.

Two Suggestions

As you can see that System Restore indeed will affect some programs and files on Windows PC. And it's indeed not an ideal way for simple file recovery. To protect your personal data and prevent files being deleted by system restore, here are two suggestions for you to take.

# 1. Restore Lost Data with Reliable Data Recovery Software (Instead of System Restore)

If you accidentally delete a file or the file is not recoverable from the recycle bin, take a third-party data recovery software for help.  Unlike system restore, reliable file recovery software will only bring the lost files back without causing further damage to your currently existing data.

EaseUS hard drive recovery software - Data Recovery Wizard allows you to recover data from deletion, formatting or virus infection instead of doing a system restore.

Download, install this software on your computer and recover all types of missing files on your own: 

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

Step 1. Select the drive where you lose your data and click "Scan".

select and scan the hard drive

Step 2. Use "Filter" or "Search" to find the lost files when the scan completes.

Preview lost hard drive data

Step 3. Select all the files you want and click "Recover". Then, browse another secure location to save them.

recover data from hard drive

Caution: Don't save the recovered files on the partition or drive where you lost your data before making sure the device is secure to save data again.

# 2. Back Up Computer Data and System Before Running System Restore

If you've already decided to restore your Windows OS to a previous version, an essential step that you must take is to create a new backup of valuable files and Windows OS in advance. That's the safest way to protect you from losing more data.

EaseUS file backup software will allow you to backup a whole disk or partition or simply files in 3 simple steps:

Step 1. To begin the backup process, click the Select backup contents button.

create file backup step1

Step 2. Four data backup categories are listed: File, Disk, OS, and Mail.

create file backup step2

Step 3. Lists of both local and network files are shown on the left-hand side of the screen. Expanding the directory so that you can choose the files to back up.

File backup

Step 4. Follow the guidance on the screen and choose the place where you want to store the back up.

File backup step4

Make sure that the backup is encrypted and set the backup schedule by clicking Options in Backup Options. You can also choose to start the backup at a certain time in Backup Scheme by clicking Options. There are many other customizable options that you can look into.

Backup options

Step 5. You can store the backup file either on your computer, in EaseUS's cloud service, or on a network-attached storage device (NAS).

file backup step4

Step 6. EaseUS Todo Backup enables customers store backup copies of their files on a third-party cloud drive or on the company's own cloud storage.

If you want to back up your data on a third-party cloud drive, select Local Drive and scroll down to add Cloud Device. Then fill in your account information.

Backup to cloud
Click EaseUS Cloud, then sign up and log in with your EaseUS account if you wish to store backup files to EaseUS' own cloud storage service.

backup to easeus cloud

Step 7. Click on Backup Now to start a backup.  When the backup process is done, it will display as a card on the left-hand side of the screen. A right-click will let you see more about how to handle the backup job in more depth.

File backup step7

Bonus Guide: How to Run System Restore

If you prefer to restore your computer to a previous state after backing up valuable files and data, go through the guide steps here to make it work:

Step 1. Right-click on the Windows icon and select "Search".

Step 2. Type create a restore point, and click the top result to open "System Properties". 

Step 3. Click the System Restore button under System Protection section to bring up all the restore points that you've created.

Open System Restore points.

Step 4. Click "Next" and select the restore point that you want to use and restore on your PC.

Choose restore points.

Step 5. Click "Finish" to confirm your restore point and click "Yes" to execute the System Restore on your PC.

Execute System Restore.

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