System Restore You Must Enable System Protection on This Drive

If the Windows operating system goes wrong, Windows 7/8/10, etc. You may choose to perform a system restore by using the created restore points to revert the computer to the previous state.

However, some you reported that they failed to restore their system with an error message, saying “you must always restore the drive that contains Windows. Restoring other drives is optional. You must enable system protection on this drive.”

This means that system protection is turned off. Well then, what should they do to fix this issue? To restore the OS successfully, you need to enable system protection and perform a system restore again.

How to Enable System Protection

As for this question, there are two ways for you: via the System Properties tab and Command Prompt.

Enable System Protection When PC Can Boot

If the computer can boot to the Windows desktop, you can directly turn on system protection. Follow these steps:

  1. Search for control panel in the search box and click the exact result to open this program.
  2. Go to System and Security, click System and choose System protection.
  3. Under the System Protection tab, select the target drive like C, and click Configure.
  4. Check the option Turn on system protection. Later, click OK to save the change.

Next, try to perform a system restore again to see if the error disappears.

Enable System Protection CMD

What if the computer fails to boot to Windows desktop? In this case, you need to prepare a Windows repair disc. To get it, please download an ISO file from Microsoft website, and then burn it to a USB flash drive or CD/DVD disc.

Next, restart the computer and press a specific key, enter BIOS to change the first boot order to boot the PC from the created disc. Then, you can open Command Prompt in the Windows Recovery Environment.

Take Windows 10 as an example. Navigate to this path: Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt. Then, type these commands and press Enter after inputting each command:

start vss

rstrui.exe /offline:C:\windows=active

After that, restart the computer to see if the error message “you must enable system protection on this drive” still happens.

Suggestion: Back up the Windows Operating System

System restores issues always happen with different errors, besides the above issues, you may get the error code 0x80070005, 0x80070091, 0x8000ffff, 0x80070017, etc. Fixing them are troublesome, so you can take an easy way to protect their computers: back up Windows regularly. Once system issues happen, the system backup can be used to quickly restore Windows to a previous state.

Here, I suggest using the professional and free backup software for Windows 10/8/7, and it is MiniTool ShadowMaker. It enables you to back up Windows, files & folders, partitions, and the entire disk. Automatic, differential & incremental backup, file sync, and disk cloning are all supported.

Above all, this software allows you to create a bootable disc or USB drive for system recovery in case the PC is unbootable. Besides, it doesn’t require you to enable system protection. I have tested it, thus, I share it here.


To create a restore point and perform a system restore, please ensure system protection is enabled. Otherwise, there will be a failure. Importantly, to protect computers well, a regular backup is necessary.