Save valuable hard drive space with this quick System Restore tweak

November 10, 2009 – 13:37 by in News Print Share No Comment

restoreWindows can be, well, a little fragile at times (you may have noticed). Just one Registry error, or a single corrupt system file could be enough to stop your system booting. So it’s good to know that System Restore is working in the background, keeping snapshots of your system state, and enabling you to fix most of these problems in a couple of minutes via Windows Startup Repair.

But there’s a price to pay for this feature. Keeping all these backups requires plenty of disk space, and by default System Restore will consume 15% of whatever’s available (12% on XP), or for instance more than 112GB of a 750GB drive. If you’ve plenty of hard drive space free then you can safely ignore this, as it does have some advantages (you’ll be able to store and recover many more restore points). But when drive space is running short then cutting System Restore’s share can make a real difference, and it only takes a moment.

If you’re running XP then click Start, right-click My Computer, select Properties and click System Restore. Choose a drive that System Restore is monitoring, click Settings and drag the slider to the left to reduce the “disk space to use” percentage to something less than it is now. We’d recommend 10%, though if you really can’t spare the drive space then you could go down to 5. Don’t take it any lower, though, or you’re compromising System Restore’s usefulness.

If you have Windows Vista then life’s more complicated as Microsoft inexplicably removed this feature from the interface, and you’ll have to make a Registry tweak instead. Launch REGEDIT, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SystemRestore\Cfg , and double-click the DiskPercent value. Choose the Decimal option and reduce the percentage a little.

And fortunately Windows 7 simplifies the process again, if only by restoring an interface very similar to the one available in XP. Click the Start orb, right-click Computer, then select Properties > System Protection > Configure. Drag the slider to the left to reduce the percentage of your hard drive that System Restore will use, and click OK to confirm the new setting.

Comments are closed.