Since Windows updates typically create restore points, which delete older versions.

If you have explicitly created a known GOOD restore point, is there a way to save it somewhere? The problem happens when opening system restore only to discover 32 Windows updates deleted what you need.

Can a system restore be exported somewhere?

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    +1, I would very much like to know this. It's strange to think microsoft hasn't implemented something so simple. – Malabarba Mar 26 '10 at 16:28

Restore points are saved as Volume Shadow Copies. They can be mounted and backed up. Start a command shell with admin rights. Then typing

vssadmin list shadows

will give a list of available shadow copies. Pleas note that the list will be empty if the system is not set up to make restore points.

Pick the one you want and mount like so:

mklink /d <mount point> <shadow copy volume>

Actual example:

mklink /d c:\shadow_copy1 \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy1\

Copy any files, or the whole shadow copy. Remove when finished:

rd c:\shadow_copy1

[EDIT] It seems you can create disk images from Volume Shadow Copies, though I haven't tried this yet: http://windowsir.blogspot.com/2009/11/working-with-volume-shadow-copies.html

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    This is a good recommendation. I have been using shadow explorer to do similar things. I still wish there were a way to save a specific date restore point that could be used by system restore. Your recommendation gets so close to the same thing I will say it is nearly the best that can be done – datatoo Jul 21 '10 at 6:02
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    And how do I restore it back? – JoanComasFdz Sep 8 '13 at 13:06
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    @Knut nice! But how to backup restore it back? say I have a good configuration now, then how to backup and restore it using system restore in case it is deleted from the list of system restore points? – shivshnkr Mar 26 '14 at 5:44

Good question. I've never heard of such a feature, but similar is to image your drive. I'd recommend Driveimage-xml or clonezilla to make a complete back up of a system that you've got working and tweaked to perfection. Note that a DIXML image needs to be restored from a different drive. Not yet used Clonezilla, but I've heard good things about it.

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    Thank you for the suggestion on a drive image.In some ways that would work. However the advantage to system restore is any user files created in the interim are preserved, although registry settings are not. – datatoo Nov 23 '09 at 6:42
  • That's true.....15 – outsideblasts Nov 23 '09 at 7:12
  • I would also recommend making a disk image of the machine state you want to keep. With Driveimage-XML it's relatively easy to restore individual files; something that's not possible with most other tools. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 25 '09 at 18:49

I don't know exactly how System Restore works internally, but if it actually saves your restore points in a specific folder or file, you could backup that folder (even to a different drive). Just find out where your "System Restore" files are stored, and copy the entire folder to another location. That way, if you ever need that restore point from 5 months ago, you just have to copy the backup back to it's original location and overwrite the current files.

That last part might get a little tricky. Since it's definitely a system folder, you might have to boot into command prompt to be able to overwrite it.

Let me say though, it's really just a hunch. Look into it before you start overwriting system files. And do let me know if it works. =)

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  • It didn't work for me and I guess it wouldn't work for anyone else. I'm not completely sure, because my system is so buggy right now, that it might have failed for secondary reasons. But I tried hard. When I simply copied older Restore Point (RP) files into C:\System Volume Information, System Restore didn't see them BUT deleted the 2 oldest RPs it had still seen up until then - so be careful! Then I tried replacing the whole folder from a backup but then Windows wouldn't boot anymore until I switched back to the current folder version. – Aaron Thoma Jul 3 '12 at 18:05

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