How to Delete System Restore Points in Windows Vista - dummies

How to Delete System Restore Points in Windows Vista

By Woody Leonhard

If you need extra space on your computer, you can delete the system restore points in Windows Vista. After all, Vista can use up to 12 percent of the total available space (some Microsoft documentation says 15 percent) on your primary hard drive for restore points.

Think about that for a second. If you have a 200GB drive, Vista reserves 25GB for restore points. Absolutely incredible, eh? Windows XP included a simple slider that let you adjust the maximum amount of room reserved for restore points; Vista doesn’t have the same kind of flexibility.

It’s unusual that you ever use any restore point other than the most recent. Although Vista includes very few tools for dealing with restore point elephantiasis, you can at least tell Vista to delete all the restore points besides the most recent.

  1. Choose Start→Computer. Right-click your main drive and choose Properties.

    You see the Properties dialog box, probably for your C drive.

  2. Click the Disk Cleanup button.

    Vista asks which files you want to clean up.

  3. Click Files from All Users on this Computer.

    You have to click Continue in the User Account Control dialog box. Disk Cleanup scans your drive and (sooner or later) shows you a list of files available for deleting.

  4. Click the More Options tab.


    Vista shows you a dialog box like the one shown in this figure.

  5. At the bottom, under System Restore and Shadow Copies, click the button marked Clean Up.

    Vista asks for confirmation with the Are You Sure You Want to Delete All but the Most Recent Restore Point message.

  6. Click Delete. Then click OK.

    Vista seeks confirmation again — this time with the Are You Sure You Want to Permanently Delete These Files message.

  7. Click Delete Files.

    It takes a minute or two, but all but the most recent restore point are deleted.

If you run Vista Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate edition, the volume of data packed away in a single restore point can be quite breathtaking; copies of all the shadow copies can consume an enormous amount of room. You’ll be amazed at home much space you can free up on your computer.