Will System Restore Delete My Files

Jean updated on Oct 12, 2020 to File Recovery | How-to Articles

Will system restore delete my files? If you are the one who asks the question, take time to read this post. Here, you will find out what programs and files will be affected by a system restore and the best tool to recover deleted files instead of System Restore.

"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: 

Step 1. Select a location and start scanning.

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, and hover on the partition where you lost data, be it a hard disk drive, external disk, USB, or SD card, then click "Scan".

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Preview and select the files you want to recover.

When the scanning has finished, select the data you want to recover. Double-click the file to check its content if you need to.

Choose files to recover

Step 3. Recover lost data.

After choosing the data, click "Recover" and choose a location on another drive to save the files.

Recover lost data

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: Launch EaseUS Todo Backup software and then choose "File Backup", "Disk/partition Backup" or "System Backup" for different backup purpose.

Step 2: Choose the system, disk partition, files or apps that you want to back up. Then select a destination where you want to store the backup file.

Step 3: Click "Proceed" to start the data backup process.

back up data with easeus todo backup

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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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

It's super easy to recover 250+ types of files after deletion, disk formatting and virus infection. Click the links and compare the difference of each version.