How to Erase Old, Useless System Restore Points


Q: I was reading your December 2008 item “Create a Shortcut for Easy Access to System Restore” (page 103), and it occurred to me I could free up loads of space on my crowded hard drive by getting rid of old, useless restore points. The trouble is, I can’t access them.


A: Well, as a practical matter, you won’t recoup that much space if you clean them out. At its maximum, System Restore holds about 28 megabytes of data. So I would suggest you look for another solution—like doing a thorough house cleaning or hooking up your computer to a large remote drive and placing your less frequently used files on it.


But, as it happens, there is a good reason to clean out those outdated restore points. Assuming your computer is working well now—aside from being a bit crowded—if you do ever need to do a revert, you don’t want to accidentally go back to an earlier condition in which out-of-date drivers and other systems guided your computer.


To access that otherwise protected System Restore partition to remove old restore points, engage the Disk Cleanup Utility by clicking on Start, Run, typing cleanmgr, and pressing Enter. Select your hard disk partition (probably C:) and press OK. Then, in the screen that appears next, click on More Options (see screenshot below) ...



... Clicking on Clean up… in the System Restore panel will remove all the restore points except the most recent one.



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