1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

How To Start System Restore From the Command Prompt

By

Screenshot of Command Prompt in Windows 8 with System Restore command

System Restore via Command Prompt

System Restore is a great utility to help "roll back" Windows to an earlier state, undoing any system changes that may have caused an issue.

Sometimes, though, a problem is so bad that your computer won't start normally, meaning you can't run System Restore from inside Windows. Since System Restore is a such a great tool to use to fix problems just like this, it seems you're in a bit of a catch-22.

Fortunately, even if all you can do is start in Safe Mode and access Command Prompt, you can start the System Restore utility by executing a simple command. Even if you're just looking for a quick way to start System Restore from the Run box, this knowledge might come in handy.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Less than 30 minutes

Applies To: The System Restore command is the same in all versions of Windows so these instructions apply equally to Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

Here's How:

  1. Open Command Prompt, if it's not already open.

    Note: As I mentioned earlier, you're more than welcome to use another command line tool, like the Run box, to execute this command. In Windows 8, open Run from the Apps screen or Power User Menu. In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, click on the Start button. In Windows XP and earlier, click on Start and then Run.
     
  2. Type the following command in the text box or Command Prompt window:

    rstrui.exe

    ...and then hit the Enter key or press the OK button, depending on where you executed the System Restore command from.
     
  3. The System Restore wizard will open immediately. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the System Restore.

    Tip: If you need help, you can walk through one my How to Use System Restore in Windows tutorials. Obviously the first parts of those steps, where I explain how to open System Restore, won't apply to you since it's already running, but the rest should be identical.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.