Execute System Restore from the Command Line / Safe Boot

   Posted November 29, 2004 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

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Rob



    That sould work on most systems.

  • Alexandra

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

  • Bill

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


    • gp

      Tried this, rstrui.exe wont execute!

      • Jeremy

        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.

        • donmars

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

        • Jack

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

        • Heather Sheldon

          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.

      • Steve Ireland

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

        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

  • Anonymous

    thanks, it ok

  • Roland

    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.

  • Anonymous

    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

    • Tim

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

  • Anonymous

    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)

    • Anonymous

      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.

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

  • Brian

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

  • Anonymous

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

  • Sayne
    • Gerald

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

      • Heather Sheldon

        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?

        • Princ

          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.

        • morningstar

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

  • Minesh

    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 !!!!!!!!!!

  • FLRN

    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.

  • Rajurawatjet

    not full

  • Kellzo14

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

  • Sarveshchaurasia12345

    this is not working

  • Cateanne

    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.

  • KelsoMaster

    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?



      • Swastik

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

  • lindaLshteh

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

  • Kumar

    system32configsystem error any body can help?

    • Reynold Nolasco Canay

      i think so
      try to restore your windows registry sir.

  • Reynold Nolasco Canay
  • Bobslob

    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

    • Xgamer3612

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

  • Boga

    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


    runas /user:localmachinenameadministrator c:windowssystem32restorerstrui.exe

    read more here:


  • Shaw_shaun

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

  • Gerald

    Just type in rstrui.exe and hit enter

  • Guest

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

  • Ayejagger

    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.

  • Memphiscue

    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?

    • Veeraguru

      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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • youssef

    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..

  • Naveed

    Hi there,

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


  • xgamer

    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

    • David Kirk

      Glad I could help!

  • raveXP

    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

  • marcel

    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

  • Phil

    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.

  • Omar

    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.


  • mike

    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

  • priya


    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

  • eric

    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!

  • hasan


  • Robert

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

  • Andella

    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?!

  • noel

    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.”

  • philip

    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..

  • Marilyn

    my windows 7 crashed and I’ve been trying to do system restore but I don’t have any restore points and it says something about system protection and what it means so in the command prompt I’ve been trying to straighten everything out but I still can’t use system restore to get my operating system function in getting please help me