If your PC has been infected with a virus, you may assume that System Restore will get it back in working order. Available in all modern versions of the Windows operating system (OS) — Windows 10 has it disabled by default — it’s designed to roll back your PC’s data to an earlier date. With System Restore, Windows will create various restore points. You can then select one of these restore points to revert your PC’s data to that time. While System Restore may work against some viruses, though, it’s not effective against all of them.

Viruses May Disable System Restore

Some viruses are designed to disable System Restore. Hackers know that victims of attacks often use System Restore to wipe infections from their respective PCs, so they deploy viruses that disable this feature. When the virus infects your PC, it will disable System Restore. You may still be able to use other features, but you won’t be able to roll back your PC’s data to an earlier date via System Restore.

Viruses May Restrict File Access

Even if a virus doesn’t necessarily disable System Restore on your PC, it may restrict file access so that you’re unable to access and use this Windows feature. Some viruses are designed to restrict file access. They’ll delete registry entries or add code to your PC’s Windows installation that prevents you from accessing some or all of your files. When this occurs, you may not be able to access System Restore.

What You Should Do

So, what should you do if your PC is infected with a virus that prevents you from using System Restore? First and foremost, run a virus scan using antivirus software. Depending on the type of virus and whether or not it’s known by cybersecurity professionals, a virus scan may catch it. Antivirus software may either remove the virus, or it may quarantine it so that the virus doesn’t affect your PC.

Alternatively, you can reboot your PC in safe mode to deal with the virus. Safe mode, of course, limits the functionality of Windows. It a virus has disabled System Restore, you may still be able to use this feature in safe mode. Just reboot your PC in safe mode, after which you can launch System Restore. Viruses are tricky, but you can often mitigate their effects by rebooting your PC in safe mode.