Difference Between System Restore and System Recovery

System Restore vs System Recovery

System Restore and System recovery are two protection measures provided in the windows operating system, to repair any damage caused to the operating system making it unstable.   

What is System Restore?

System restore is a system utility/tools in the Microsoft windows operating systems which allow the user to reinstate the computer to a previous stage. The computer will change the system files, installed applications, Windows Registry, system settings etc. to a previous state designated by the user. However, the personal files such as email, documents, or photos will not be affected. System restore was introduced in Windows ME and has been implemented in every version of Windows since then, except for Windows Server.

Windows operating system may become unstable and faulty when an unexpected program or driver is installed. Often removing (uninstalling) the software or driver may bring the operating system to normal condition. But the operating system may behave unexpectedly in some cases such as when the change in the setting that caused the system to become unstable does not revert automatically when the software or the driver is removed. System restore can be used in such a scenario, to bring the system to the previous state.

System restore uses system protection, a feature that creates restore points that contain registry setting and other system settings. Generally system restore points are created before a significant change in the system settings occur, such as installing a new software or driver. Else, the system restore points can be created manually.

Difference Between System Restore

The computer, after confirming the restore point, will restart and the previously available settings from the restore point will be applied to the computer. When the system restore utility is started, it will give you the option to select one from available number of restore points created earlier.

What is System Recovery?

System recovery environment is a set of utilities available in Windows operating systems for troubleshooting and recovery purposes. It is stored both on the computer and the Windows installation CD.  System recovery contains the startup repair, system restore, system image recovery, windows memory diagnostic, and command prompt.

Difference Between System Recovery

Startup repair tool is used for repairing startup issues such as replacing missing or damaged system files that might prevent Windows from starting correctly.

System image recovery is an option to replace the existing system drive/partition (Usually the C Drive) with a previous image of the drive. The image of the C drive had to be created earlier, before any faults occur.

Windows memory diagnostics is used for finding and repairing errors in the computer hard drives. Command prompt can be used for running diagnostics, troubleshooting, and recovery-related operations.

What is the difference between System Restore and System Recovery?

• System restore is a utility, which allows reverting the system to a previous state designated by the user. System restore affects only the registry and system files; personal files and information will not be affected by the system restore.

• System recovery is a set of utilities bundled into a small program that allows repairing and troubleshooting the windows operating system. System restore is a component of the system recovery.

• System restore is located on the computer while system recovery is located on the Windows installation on the hard drive and also on Windows installation DVD.


Read more:

1. Difference Between Backup and Recovery

2. Difference Between Hibernate and Standby (Sleep)