Software

Two ways to set up a one-click shortcut for creating a restore point in Windows 10

Manually creating a restore point is a bit of a clumsy process. Check out these two techniques for turning restore point creation into a one-click operation.

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Image: iStockphoto.com/LDProd


System Restore works by automatically taking snapshots of your system's state before any operation that makes significant changes to the operating system. These snapshots are called restore points and include crucial operating system files and certain parts of the registry that could be altered by the pending change operation.

While System Restore does a good job of automatically creating restore points, you can manually create a restore point before you perform certain types of operations, such as editing the registry. Unfortunately, it takes several steps to launch that creation process. While these steps are not complex, I've heard many folks complain about having to remember them, saying they wished there was an icon you could just click to create a restore point.

Fortunately, I've discovered two ways that you can automate the creation of a restore point. One uses WMIC (Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line) and the other uses PowerShell. In both cases, you can assign the automated process to a shortcut that you can place on your desktop or Start menu for a simple one-click operation. Let's take a closer look.

The manual way

Before I show you how to automate the restore point creation process, let's take a look at the steps required to manually perform the operation. There are several ways to launch System Restore in Windows 10, but the easiest way is to use a Windows key shortcut.

To begin, press [Windows]+[Break]. When the System window appears, select System Protection on the left side of the screen, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Figure A
Select System Protection on the left side of the screen.

You'll then see the System Protection tab of the System Properties dialog box, as shown in Figure B. Here, you can launch a restore operation, configure System Restore's settings, and manually create restore points.

Figure B

Figure B
System Restore lives on the System Protection tab of the System Properties dialog box.

Now, click the Create button on the System Protection tab and you'll be prompted to name the restore point. After you initiate the operation, it will take a few minutes to complete. As you can see, the steps are not that complex, but it is kind of a clumsy process. Let's see how we can simplify it.

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The WMIC way

To simplify the restore point creation procedure the WMIC way, right-click on the desktop and select the New > Shortcut command from the context menu. In the text box, type the following command line:

cmd.exe /k "Wmic.exe /Namespace:\\root\default Path SystemRestore Call CreateRestorePoint " ", 100, 7"

Just so you know what each piece of the command line does, I've broken it out in Table A.

Table A

Table A

After you type the command, as shown in Figure C, click Next. Then, type a descriptive name for the shortcut, such as Create a Restore Point, and click Finish.

Figure C

Figure C
Type the WMIC command line in the Create Shortcut wizard.

After that, you'll need to configure the shortcut to run with administrator privileges, as I'll show you in a moment.

The PowerShell way

To simplify the restore point creation procedure the PowerShell way, right-click on the desktop and select the New > Shortcut command from the context menu. In the text box, type the following command line:

powershell.exe -NoExit -Command "& {Checkpoint-Computer -description "MyRestorePoint" -restorepointtype "Modify_Settings"}

Just so you know what each piece of the command line does, I've broken it out in Table B.

Table B

Table B

After you type the command, as shown in Figure D, click Next. Then, type a descriptive name for the shortcut, such as Create a Restore Point, and click Finish.

Figure D

Figure D
Type the PowerShell command line in the Create Shortcut wizard.

Next, you'll need to configure the shortcut to run with administrator privileges.

Configure the shortcut to run with administrator privileges

For either shortcut to be able to create a restore point, you must configure the shortcut to run with administrator privileges. To do so, right-click the shortcut and select Properties from the context menu. When you see the shortcut's Properties dialog box, locate and click the Advanced button. Then, in the Advanced Properties dialog box select the Run As Administrator check box, as shown in Figure E, and click OK.

Figure E

Figure E
To enable a shortcut to create a restore point, you must configure it to run with administrator privileges.

Change the icon

To make it easy to recognize the shortcut, you can assign it the System Restore icon. To do so, click the Change Icon button, type C:\Windows\System32\rstrui.exe in the text box, and press [Enter]. When you see the System Restore icon, shown in Figure F, click OK. Then, click OK once more to close the shortcut's Properties dialog box.

Figure F

Figure F
To make it easy to recognize the shortcut, you can assign it the System Restore icon.

Running the shortcuts

Since we configured the shortcuts to run with administrator privileges, launching each shortcut will require that you respond to the User Account Control prompt. Just click Yes to continue.

Also keep in mind that in Windows 10, you can create only one restore point in a 24-hour period using these shortcuts. While the WMIC shortcut will appear to run normally, it won't actually create a new restore point. PowerShell will actually display an error message.

When you run the WMIC shortcut, you'll see a Command Prompt window like the one shown in Figure G. As you can see, the WMIC command displays a success message when it completes the restore point creation procedure.

Figure G

Figure G
Once the WMIC command completes the restore point creation procedure, it displays a success message.

When you run the PowerShell shortcut, you'll see a Command Prompt window like the one shown in Figure H. As you can see, the PowerShell command displays a progress bar as it runs through the restore point creation procedure.

Figure H

Figure H
While the PowerShell command is running, it displays a progress bar.

That's all there is to creating a restore point using these shortcuts. Of course, you'll have to close the Command Prompt window. But that's not too many steps, is it?

More Windows how-to's

What's your take?

Do you manually create restore points on your Windows 10 system? Have you wished for a one-click solution? Share your experiences with fellow TechRepublic members.

About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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