Execute System Restore from the Command Line / Safe Boot

   Posted by David Kirk in Windows

If System Restore is not working well for you, you will have more success running it from the command line.


Running System Restore from the command line is often the only way to get a system back up and running. I will describe it from the initial boot.

    1. Restart your system.
    2. When the system first boots, type F8 to bring up the boot menu.
    3. Select the Safe Mode with Command Prompt option.
    4. Log-on as administrator, if needed.
    5. At your command prompt type the following: %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe
    6. Hit Enter.
    6. This will open the System Restore wizard.
 

About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

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63 Responses to “Execute System Restore from the Command Line / Safe Boot”

  1. November 02, 2008 at 10:36 pm, Rob said:

    Try

    c:windowssystem32restorerstrui.exe

    That sould work on most systems.

    Reply

  2. February 12, 2009 at 7:27 am, Alexandra said:

    It helped but the problem i that my system restore doesnt even show up! =( Any advice?

    Reply

  3. March 04, 2009 at 6:24 pm, Bill said:

    Very useful information. It help me to restore my computer to a prioe time for fixing a system issue.

    Thanks

    Reply

    • May 22, 2009 at 5:35 am, gp said:

      Tried this, rstrui.exe wont execute!

      Reply

      • June 02, 2009 at 9:21 pm, Jeremy said:

        I had a virus that was locking my computer down today. And if it weren’t for this helpful tip from this site, I would have had issues. Just follow what I did below. I didn’t use the cmd.exe (command prompt) function.

        Shut down your computer, and then wait a couple minutes.

        Start up your computer, and press f8 until the black screen with options pops up.

        Choose Safe Mode. You don’t need the command prompt.

        And then a pop up will come up asking you a Yes or No question. It should say “Click No if you want to skip to System Restore.”

        Click No. And then the System Restore program starts up, and then revert back to a date where you KNOW your computer was working and/or didn’t have a virus. I hope this helps any of you.

        Reply

        • November 06, 2009 at 5:26 pm, donmars said:

          Only problem is, if you really had a virus before then you still have a virus now!!!

          Reply

        • April 21, 2010 at 10:19 pm, Jack said:

          rstrui.exe would not work for me, but Jeremys fix did work. Many thanks.

          Reply

        • January 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm, Heather Sheldon said:

          What if Safe Mode just acts as normal windows starting? The screen with the “Configuring Updates 3-of-3 0%” message keeps coming up in any mode – safe, netwrking, command prompt, or start windows normally ALL bring me back to that screen, with no command prompt ever seen.

          Reply

      • July 10, 2013 at 4:22 am, Steve Ireland said:

        > Didn’t launch for me from Safe Mode Command Prompt. Rerquired that System Restore Service was running.

        CD \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\RESTORE
        SERVICES.MSC
        In properties of Plug and Play & System Restore Services, change startup to Manual (ignore warning pop ups).
        Right click and start Plug and Play, Right click and start System Restore Service, close Services console.
        Back at command prompt type RSTRUI and press enter. Wait a while for System Restore window to open.

        Ach, no restore point available apparently – they’re there but it doesn’t see them

        Reply

  4. August 02, 2009 at 8:26 am, Anonymous said:

    thanks, it ok

    Reply

  5. October 20, 2009 at 5:06 pm, Roland said:

    What if XP won’t boot?
    I’m managing to boot to Command prompt from XP CD, Repair, However I cannot start rstrui.exe there.

    Reply

  6. October 22, 2009 at 10:16 pm, Anonymous said:

    What if nothing comes up even when Safe Mode w/ Command Prompt option is selected? I get a black screen with Safe Mode all around but no icons or menu bars, nothing. Is there another way to access the command prompt?

    I really need help fast…Thanks

    Reply

    • December 04, 2010 at 7:39 pm, Tim said:

      how did you fix this issue, I have the same thing

      Reply

  7. December 29, 2009 at 3:11 am, Anonymous said:

    I think a system restore will work for me; my problem is windows xp sp2 was installed on my computer clumsy me, I already had it installed now whenever I turn my computer on it goes to windows xp setup, then a light blue screen the restarts, I did the F8 method and tried; safe mode, safe mode with cmd, safe mode with networking, last known good settings, and disable auto restart on system failure, but when safe mode starts loading it says a quick pop up that I THINK says (operation was unsuccessful) then restarts when I do last known good settings and the disable restart it just goes to the windows xp light blue screen then retarts, if I try repairing it by booting with cd it says 39 mins left, the. At 23 mins it tell me it cannot get a file name (mndsh.dl)

    Reply

    • February 06, 2010 at 9:39 pm, Anonymous said:

      when you enter rstrui.exe in the command prompt then hit enter go to your task manager and click on the tab that says processes once you have done that locate rstrui.exe and right click and select open or open location depending on what system you have the wait once open start your system restore.

      Reply

  8. March 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm, Veeramani said:

    Dear sir
    when i apply this %systemroot%system32restorerstrui.exe command “The system cannot find path specified. what is the problem.

    Reply

  9. April 30, 2010 at 2:21 am, Brian said:

    Will this work even when a virus has corrupted the .exe file system?

    Reply

  10. May 10, 2010 at 7:53 pm, Anonymous said:

    would this work if my problem is that my vista keeps loading in the Microsoft Corporation?

    Reply

  11. June 21, 2010 at 3:54 am, Sayne said:

    same thing is happening to me… it’s lame. let me know if you found a solution to this problem

    Naruto_fan_42@hotmail.com

    Reply

    • December 27, 2010 at 3:23 am, Gerald said:

      Just type rstrui.exe and hit enter thats all :) u guys think too hard and your welcome

      Reply

      • January 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm, Heather Sheldon said:

        This is what leads to the box popping up saying that “The System Restore wizard is already running. This program will now exit.” And an “OK” box only.

        What now?

        Reply

        • February 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm, Princ said:

          It normally comes up, to me it did, i restored my system but it still didn’t work, it has the same error i had in the first place, sorry i can’t help.

          Reply

        • November 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm, morningstar said:

          > Same with me, just wait, be patient mine took almost 10min to start, dont click the restart now or shut down buttons.

          Reply

  12. June 23, 2010 at 10:55 pm, Minesh said:

    That was great help. It saved my time from doing the manual system restore and using that hell lot of commands.

    Kudos to great suggestion !!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  13. July 04, 2010 at 6:58 pm, FLRN said:

    When I type in the rstrui.exe it tells me The command is not recognized. It tells me this even if I’m in the restore directory.

    Reply

  14. July 06, 2010 at 11:24 am, Rajurawatjet said:

    not full

    Reply

  15. July 07, 2010 at 3:01 pm, Kellzo14 said:

    all i did was type “rstrui.exe” into the command prompt. it worked fine for me. simple

    Reply

  16. August 01, 2010 at 3:34 pm, Sarveshchaurasia12345 said:

    this is not working

    Reply

  17. August 05, 2010 at 7:41 am, Cateanne said:

    When I tried to select the Safe Mode with command prompt but after hitting Enter, I was just brought back to the same options (Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, etc. )..

    Please advise.

    Reply

  18. August 13, 2010 at 11:16 am, KelsoMaster said:

    When I type “%systemroot%system32restorerstrui.exe” or “c:windowssystem32restorerstrui.exe” a message box pops up saying “System Restore is not able to protect your computer. Please restart your computer, then run System Restore again.” Also when I try to run just the “rstrui.exe” it says in CMD “rstrui.exe is not recognized as an internal or external command.” The thing is, I’ve already restarted my pc like 5 times, I’m running it in safe mode, I’m so upset about this. I don’t want to format my pc cause I’ll lose files that I don’t want to lose. What can I do?

    Reply

    • November 21, 2010 at 1:24 am, QUARKKING said:

      FIND A FRIEND WHO HAS A COMPUTER THAT WORKS. GOOGLE SPYBOT SEARCH AND DESTROY. INSTALL SPYBOT INTO THE CPMPUTER. IT WILL RESIDE IN THE PROGRAM FILES.
      FIND SPYBOT UPDATE. UPDATE THE DEFINITIONS. THEN COPY THE SPYBOT PROGRAM ONTO A CD. PLACE THE CD INTO THE BAD COMPUTER. FROM THE C: C PROMPT TYPE C: CD C:D (OR DRIVE THAT THE CD IS IN. YOU WILL HAVE THE D: AS A [PROMPT. TO VERIFIY THAT IT IS ACCESSING, TYPE AT THE D: PROMPT.((.CD D:SPYBOTSPYBOTSD.EXE))) SPYBOT SCREEN WILL COME UP SELECT THE FIX PROBLEMS. THIS WILL TAKE SOME TIME. FIX WHAT IT COMES UP WITH

      Reply

      • September 13, 2012 at 5:38 am, Swastik said:

        thanks for such help.it help me restore windows 7 by typing rstrui.exe grim command mode.thanks a lot again

        Reply

  19. September 27, 2010 at 6:29 pm, lindaLshteh said:

    I accidentally deleted icons from my homepage, e-mail. sports stocks sports ect, how do I get it back.

    Reply

  20. October 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm, Kumar said:

    system32configsystem error any body can help?

    Reply

    • October 26, 2010 at 9:44 am, Reynold Nolasco Canay said:

      i think so
      try to restore your windows registry sir.
      ,,

      Reply

  21. October 26, 2010 at 9:40 am, Reynold Nolasco Canay said:

    sir yah i try it twice.. but the procedure you shown above doesn’t work to my computer, it says” THE SYSTEM CANNOT FIND THE PATH SPECIFIED” anyone can help me about this matter?just pls e mail me for the reply creynolf@yahoo.com thanks.

    Reply

  22. October 28, 2010 at 5:32 pm, Bobslob said:

    PROBLEM:system resore wont work on my comand prom
    ANSWER: type: start in comand promp, a new window will pop up and then type: rstrui.exe and system restore should pop up

    Reply

    • March 23, 2011 at 5:33 am, Xgamer3612 said:

      Hey man I just want to say thx for your advice haha I have a vista and u just saved my computer thx man

      Reply

  23. November 03, 2010 at 2:28 pm, Boga said:

    i noticed many users have said they cannot run the command rstrui.exe they get an invalid command error message, if you are attempting to use this command you must use the full path: c:windowssystem32restorerstrui.exe

    otherwise windows will not know what you are talking about.

    There is the other issue that the rtrui.exe command may need to be run in “elevated” mode I.E. as an administrator account in which case:

    runas /user:localmachinenameadministrator cmd

    or

    runas /user:localmachinenameadministrator c:windowssystem32restorerstrui.exe

    read more here:

    http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/runas.mspx?mfr=true

    Reply

  24. November 14, 2010 at 9:16 am, Shaw_shaun said:

    when I tried the %systemroot%system32restorerstrui.exe I lost my taskbar.

    Reply

  25. December 27, 2010 at 3:21 am, Gerald said:

    Just type in rstrui.exe and hit enter

    Reply

  26. March 06, 2011 at 10:45 pm, Guest said:

    Try typing this: c:windowssystem32restorerstrui.exe and then press Enter.

    Reply

  27. March 27, 2011 at 12:37 am, Ayejagger said:

    I’ve gotten the system restore option to open, but to no avail it doesn’t go any further than that. The next and back buttons are greyed out, cancel is the only thi.ng I can click. Up top it says “No restore points have been created on your computer’s system disk. to crate a rstore point open System Protection.

    And “system protection” is highlighted as a link. When I click it it says ” Your computer is running in a limited diagnostic state. If you use System Restore in this limited state, you cannot undo the restore operation. Help topics are not available in this state.

    I don’t mind if I can’t undo the restore operation, but I can even run restore. It doesn’t give me an option. I’m stuck.
    And when I try to load in safe mode it freezes at crcdisk.sys.

    Reply

  28. March 28, 2011 at 6:56 am, Memphiscue said:

    Help I have a toshiba A205-s4777 with vista while installing updates, it just shut down. Windows cannot repair, I don’t have recovery disc. and last restore point was today while it installing updates (so it wont recover), What’s my next step?

    Reply

    • March 28, 2011 at 7:06 am, Veeraguru said:

      I don’t mind if I can’t undo the restore operation, but I can even run restore. It doesn’t give me an option. I’m stuck.
      And when I try to load in safe mode it freezes at crcdisk.sys.

      Reply

  29. July 13, 2011 at 3:14 am, SpywarePreventionGuy said:

    I found when System Restore won’t even work in safe Mode from Command Prompt, that Windows is damaged, and usually because of errors on the Hard Drive. Try running chkdsk /r in the Recovery Console (which could take an hour or more) and then try System Restore again. http://spywarepreventionguy.com

    Reply

  30. July 13, 2011 at 3:18 am, SpywarePreventionGuy said:

    Most likely, either the file it is trying to overwrite is corrupt, or the source file from the CD is corrupt. Check your CD for scratches, try a different CD and/or CD Drive. If you have several files it can’t copy, run a memory test because bad ram can cause this also.

    Reply

  31. April 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm, youssef said:

    my computer turned off during Vista service Pack 1 download now everytime i select start-up repair i always get the blue screen, and I need to know how to use boot up system restore without command promt, please help! and everytime i select start normally it just brings me back to the choice of start normally or start up repair..

    Reply

  32. April 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm, Naveed said:

    Hi there,

    My system does not give any instructions even after entering the command in the command prompt.
    Kindly help !

    Rgds,

    Reply

  33. May 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm, xgamer said:

    I want to thank you for this solution David Kirk it really fixed up my black screen problem so cheers for that so everyone follow his guide and everything will be a ok partner lol just liek saying from animaniacs

    Reply

    • May 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm, David Kirk said:

      Glad I could help!

      Reply

  34. August 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm, raveXP said:

    For those who have viruses this is a good solution.. I almost went and reformat my comp.. I did this then find for spybot thru google n completely whipe out the virus.. From now on I’m getting an anti virus

    Reply

  35. October 20, 2012 at 6:23 am, marcel said:

    When I switch my computer on all the icons showes but no wording under the icons also if I click on start there is no wording basically no where is wording pls help

    Reply

  36. October 28, 2012 at 11:00 pm, Phil said:

    Windows 7 has no command prompt option. I mean, it lists the option, but it has no windowless environment. It tries to run windows and then open a window with a command prompt in it. So if you can’t log in because your mouse driver was corrupted, you’re just out of luck and have to re-install windows.

    Reply

  37. December 01, 2012 at 5:35 pm, Omar said:

    This method does NOT work on Windows 7. I did notice that once you get to F8, just go to Safe Mode, and go to System Restore as you normally would.

    ~Cheers.

    Reply

  38. December 09, 2012 at 11:34 am, mike said:

    i have a hp pavilion zv6000 windows will not start in prompt window chkdsk saysvolume used by another component chkdsk will not run unless vol is dismounted did that it still wont work tried rstrui says running in limited state and wont do anything tried rstrui.exe/offline:c:\windows does nothing limited state again please xp home edition iv been trying thing for 7 days i need to sleep some lol give me ur best answer cause nothing is working to fix this

    Reply

  39. December 29, 2012 at 8:01 am, priya said:

    hi,

    have a typical issue,

    Bought online Windows 8 as an upgrade to my pre-loaded Vista on my HP Pavilion PC. Not a geek hence went thru net and felt clean install was good. did it and was later surprised when Microsoft said my key is not valid for clean install.
    Tried a CD recovery to reload Vista and then do an upgrade to 8 since that is the only solution from Microsoft. the trouble is at 33% stage there was an error (sorry did not note the code) and recovery said can try again but now neither boot menu loads nor the CD boots. i can access the CD. Can only load the W8 but it wont certify as legal copy. donno if there is a system restore from Hard drive.
    Need solution

    Reply

  40. January 14, 2013 at 8:22 pm, eric said:

    I have the FBI money pak virus. I have tried to uninstall it several times, each of course unsuccessful. Now when i try to load command prompt by hitting F8, the virus takes over. I was trying to do a system restore and I cant even do that. Please help!

    Reply

  41. January 27, 2013 at 4:16 am, hasan said:

    hi

    Reply

  42. April 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm, Robert said:

    This was a life saver. Followed your easy steps and upon completion ops and non-working progs were again operational. thanks again.

    Reply

  43. August 31, 2013 at 6:24 pm, Andella said:

    When i put %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe into cmd it says its not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file. What does this mean?? What do i do?!

    Reply

  44. January 26, 2014 at 10:19 pm, noel said:

    i had given a command in cmd like this “netsh wlan start hostednetwork” and im getting an error message like this “the hosted network couldn’t be started. the group or resource is not in the correct state to perform the requested operaion.”

    Reply

  45. February 19, 2014 at 2:55 am, philip said:

    Hi, much going on, I had an issue with malware now missing many parts of my system (HP dv6700 vista 32) but still manage to have some function and get on the internet, can’t download or reinstall/ download from internet, not fully & cd player isn’t working; card & usb’s are. Now I have a (Q:) that I can’t access as well as a crippled (C:). thought I had a (D:) also ? don’t see it.

    As I have done before, last time 4 years ago I bought a new hard drive a 160G put recover cd in & was like new, worked fine. This time best buy only had a 320G. So I installed it put my vista recovery cd in turned on computer and all I get is OS not found. It can’t see the disc, cd, dvd’s worked good before.

    I tried command prompt to earlier time, and command restore,, found conflicting command sequences on line both failed. missing explorer & more. I wish I knew more. next I will try to install recover cd fron external cd drive and see if computer reads it.

    Any suggestions are welcomed, the right commad or like a good free fixer download that will allow me to download things back in. This sneeky mallware pc mighty max wants money to fix, keeps popping up telling me to register & fix now, arg…It tripped me now it wants to help me up…
    I never had any protection, was always careful, got me good this time, whatever you can do,,
    thanks Phil..

    Reply

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