How to Selectively Delete System Restore Points?

The System Restore user interface doesn’t have an option to remove individual restore points. But, it’s possible to remove Restore Points selectively using the Vssadmin command-line, PowerShell, or by writing a program which makes use of the SRRemoveRestorePoint API in Windows Vista through Windows 10.

This article explains the two methods to delete individual restore points in Windows.

How to Delete Individual System Restore Points in Windows?

Here are two methods to delete Restore Points selectively in Windows. The first method uses the built-in console tool and the second one using a third-party tool.

Method 1: Using the Vssadmin console tool to delete a Restore Point

To delete an individual restore point in Windows 10 using the built-in vssadmin console tool, follow these steps:

  1. Open an elevated command prompt window.
  2. Type the following command and press ENTER:
    vssadmin list shadows

    How to Delete Individual System Restore Points in Windows

    
    C:\WINDOWS\system32>vssadmin list shadows
    vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
    (C) Copyright 2001-2013 Microsoft Corp.
    
    Contents of shadow copy set ID: {6f104417-2f5a-4a06-a0d3-ada05061f7e7}
       Contained 1 shadow copies at creation time: 10/05/17 9:15:10 PM
          Shadow Copy ID: {b0c1ebeb-893e-4937-b3e0-e5bf3b96c6b1}
             Original Volume: (C:)\\?\Volume{098cc206-0000-0000-0000-500600000000}\
             Shadow Copy Volume: \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy2
             Originating Machine: DESKTOP-JKJ4G5Q
             Service Machine: DESKTOP-JKJ4G5Q
             Provider: 'Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0'
             Type: ClientAccessibleWriters
             Attributes: Persistent, Client-accessible, No auto release, Differential, Auto recovered
    
    Contents of shadow copy set ID: {8b04f8ae-7806-45a6-94fb-fc82ce171027}
       Contained 1 shadow copies at creation time: 10/11/17 11:17:44 AM
          Shadow Copy ID: {3ba6f09f-efe0-400f-aaca-4c108a6035c5}
             Original Volume: (C:)\\?\Volume{098cc206-0000-0000-0000-500600000000}\
             Shadow Copy Volume: \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy3
             Originating Machine: DESKTOP-JKJ4G5Q
             Service Machine: DESKTOP-JKJ4G5Q
             Provider: 'Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0'
             Type: ClientAccessibleWriters
             Attributes: Persistent, Client-accessible, No auto release, Differential, Auto recovered
    
    Contents of shadow copy set ID: {0b081d76-edba-4248-8e80-103664fe2129}
       Contained 1 shadow copies at creation time: 10/12/17 1:47:25 PM
          Shadow Copy ID: {d1a99397-2718-4a8f-b155-b1d02a64603c}
             Original Volume: (C:)\\?\Volume{098cc206-0000-0000-0000-500600000000}\
             Shadow Copy Volume: \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy4
             Originating Machine: DESKTOP-JKJ4G5Q
             Service Machine: DESKTOP-JKJ4G5Q
             Provider: 'Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0'
             Type: ClientAccessibleWriters
             Attributes: Persistent, Client-accessible, No auto release, Differential, Auto recovered
    

    The list of restore points or volume shadow copies available on your computer is displayed.

  3. To delete a particular restore point, use the following syntax:
    vssadmin delete shadows /Shadow={shadow copy ID}

    Replace {shadow copy ID} placeholder with the actual shadow copy ID you determined in step 2 above.

    For example, you may want to delete a restore point named “Test” — shown in the System Restore window.
    list of restore points

    The “Test” restore point corresponds to the shadow copy ID {d1a99397-2718-4a8f-b155-b1d02a64603c}. This was found by matching the shadow copy’s date and time from the vssadmin list shadows command’s output above. I’ve underlined that ID for easy identification.

    So, here is the command you’d use to delete the “Test” restore point:

    vssadmin delete shadows /Shadow={d1a99397-2718-4a8f-b155-b1d02a64603c}

    How to Delete Individual System Restore Points in Windows

  4. Press Y when you see the following prompt:

    Do you really want to delete 1 shadow copies (Y/N): [N]?

    The shadow copy or restore point is gone.

    How to Delete Individual System Restore Points in Windows

That’s how you delete individual restore points without using a third-party tool such as System Restore Explorer or CCleaner.

Additional Tip: To delete all restore points (shadow copies), use this command-line:

vssadmin delete shadows /all

You can also delete all but most recent restore point using the Disk Cleanup utility. For more information check out the article How to Delete System Restore Points in Windows?.

Method 2: Using third-party tools to delete a restore point

System Restore Explorer by Nic Bedford is a neat utility which makes use of this API, allowing you to browse system restore points on your computer and select individual ones for deletion. Not just that, you can also mount the contents of a restore point, browse and copy individual files, without having to do a System Restore rollback.



Select the Restore Point you’d like to remove, click Delete.

How to Delete Individual System Restore Points in Windows

Additional Tip: Recover Files from a Restore Point

To recover files from a particular restore point or Volume Shadow Copy, click Mount. Browse through the folders and extract the files you need from the Shadow Copy.

How to Delete Individual System Restore Points in Windows

This utility was originally written for Windows Vista but works flawlessly in higher versions of Windows, including Windows 10. If you liked this utility, head over to Nic’s Blog and leave your feedback.


Using CCleaner

You may also use the third-party tool CCleaner to clear individual restore points.

Launch CCleaner → Tools → System Restore → Select a restore point → click Remove.

delete individual system restore points in windows - ccleaner

(Article last updated on 28-04-2019)


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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in Windows — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP (2003-2012) who contributes to various Windows support forums.

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