When you encounter problems that you can’t solve, or that you just don’t want to waste any time solving, especially after a problematic major Windows update, you can do a system restore in Windows 11 or Windows 10 to a previous date, or to factory default if you prefer it that way.
I’ve always been asked if you can restore Windows 11/10 without restore point. The answer is no, you can’t restore Windows without restore point, but you can restore it to factory default. It doesn’t make sense if you want to restore Windows to a previous date which the system restore point doesn’t exist.
That’s exactly why it’s important to make sure you’ve enabled System Restore in Windows 11 or 10 to automatically create system restore points (perhaps you’ve mistakenly disabled it), or manually create recovery drive as backup.
You can use this guide to decide what you can do and which recovery option to use in your current condition. Restoring or resetting Windows 11/10 is quite a complicated process. I’ll keep the instructions as simple as possible.
How to do a system restore in Windows 11/10
If you have a restore point, follow the steps below to restore your broken Windows 11/10 back to the restore point. If you don’t know if you have one, just do the steps below and see if any system restore point will show up in the restore point selection window.
If you still have access to Windows 11/10
- Go to start menu.
- Search for System and open it.
- From the left pane, click on Advanced system settings.
- Go to System Protection tab.
- Click on the System Restore… button.
- Click Next.
- Select a restore point from the list (any date you prefer).
- Click Next and follow the rest of the on-screen instruction.
- It will then restore Windows 11/10 to a previous date (your selected restore point).
If the system restore button is greyed out, just like mine, it means that you don’t have any previously saved system restore point. In my case, it was the system restore protection which was disabled without my consent and I didn’t know it until it’s too late.
So, if we don’t have a restore point, the only choice we have is to restore Windows 11/10 to its factory default. Don’t worry, there will be an option for you to keep all your files while doing the reset. However, it’s still highly recommended that you do a full backup for all the files that are utterly important to you before resetting. To proceed restoring Windows 11/10 to factory, read: How to reset Windows 11/10 to factory default.
If you can’t even boot into Windows to access the system restore window
Depending on how serious your issue is, let’s just assume it’s the worst that you can’t even see the Windows 10/11 login screen. There is a way to force your PC to boot into Windows Recovery Environment. An environment where you can perform system restore and reset for Windows 11/10.
If your PC is running now, hold and press the power button of your computer for about 5 seconds until your PC is completely off. Switch it on again. As soon as you see the Windows 11 or Windows 10 loading logo. Hold and long press the power button again to force another switch off. Repeat this for 3 times. When Windows detects unusual startup activities, it will automatically boot into Windows RE.
Follow the steps below to system restore Windows 11/10 when you get to the Windows RE screen.
- On the Windows RE, click Troubleshoot.
- Click Advanced options.
- Click System Restore.
- Select a restore point if there is any.
- Follow the rest of the on-screen instructions to start the system restore.
If you can get into Windows 11/10 and want to boot into Windows RE
If you are able to access to Windows and want to boot into Windows RE without the any hassle, go to start menu. Click on the power button. While holding the Shift key, click on Restart. Windows will then boot into the Windows Recovery Environment.
The other method to boot Windows RE is by going to the Start menu > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Advanced Startup, and then click on the Restart now button. Then, follow the instructions above to restore your Windows to a previous date, or restore Windows to its factory default.
Can I restore Windows 11/10 without a restore point?
The short answer is no. You can’t restore Windows without a restore point. However, if there is a major Windows Update applied recently, you may still be able to roll back to a previous state prior to the update. So, what do I do if I can’t restore or rollback? Should I restore Windows to factory default or reinstall it?
When do you restore, reset or reinstall Windows 11/10? People often don’t know what to do when they get frustrated about the problem they encounter, and do things they shouldn’t have done.
Well, if you have a system restore point previously saved in your Windows 11 or Windows 10, do a system restore for your Windows. If you don’t, try to roll back Windows 10 update to a previous state prior to the Windows update. If neither can be executed, reset your Windows. If reset doesn’t work, reinstall Windows 11/10 with media creation tool.