Fixed Issue: You must enable System Protection on this drive

Posted by @Teresa

March 21, 2019

Want to restore Windows to your saved points but the prompting message “You must enable system protection on this drive” stops you? Don’t worry. You’ll learn how to fix the issue easily from this page.

The issue: You must enable System Protection on this drive

“Is there any way to enable system protection in Windows 7? Here is the thing, I cannot get into Windows currently and I cannot system restore back to my save points. It keeps saying ‘You must enable System Protection on this drive’. What should I do?”

You must enable system protection on this drive

You may familiar with this message while performing system restore, that’s why you came to this page. Actually, this error is not uncommon in restoring. A user says he wants a system restore after upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 10, because the OS runs really slow. When he gets into System Restore option from troubleshoot options, only to find this message stops him.

Another user says he installs some updates but unfortunately get into Windows repair loop at the end. Windows says there are multiple restore points to restore, but he gets the same message while restoring C: drive.

You need to enable System Protection for system restoring

According to Microsoft, System Protection is the feature to periodically create and save information about computer system files and settings. System Protection also saves previous versions of modified files. It saves these files in a restore point and creates these restore points before major system events such as installers or device drivers occur.

The drive where Windows is installed will automatically turn on System Protection. But it may be turned off manually or by other applications. System Protection can only be turned on for drives formatted with the NTFS file system.

There are two ways to utilize System Protection:

  • If your computer is slow or does not work properly, you can use System Restore (how to enable System Restore) and restore points to restore your computer's system files and settings to an earlier point in time.

  • If you accidentally modify or delete a file or folder, you can restore it to a previous version that was saved as part of the restore point.

The System Protection has to be turned on in restoring, or you’ll not be able to get into safe mode and a restore window. Don’t be panic. Two ways on how to enable System Protection are introduced for different situations.

Two ways to fix “You must enable System Protection on this drive” in Windows 10/8/7

The method, fix “You must enable System Protection on this drive” with command line, is the most wanted as many system restore are used as disaster restore. If you could get into a Command Prompt, follow these steps.

Enable System Protection via CMD

1. Get into the Command Prompt from Advanced options when you cannot get into Windows environment.

2. Type this command: net start vss and press Enter.

3. Type this command: rstrui.exe /offline:C:\windows=active and press Enter.

4. Restart your computer after restoring to see if you could back to previous state.

Enable System Protection from Control Panel

Windows also provides a way to turn on system protection under Windows environment.

1. Click Start > Control Panel > System & Security > System > System Protection.

2. Select the drive you’d like to protect, usually C: drive, and click "Configure".

3. Under the Restore Settings, switch the option to “Restore system settings and previous versions of files” in Windows 7 and “Turn on system protection” in Windows 10. Then, click Apply > OK.

Turn on system protection

Then, you should be able to restore system to previous state with the restore points you saved.

Better way to avoid “You must enable system protection on this drive” problem

It is convenient to turn on system protection in Windows. However, such option may be grayed out or missing in some cases. Also, you may not be able to boot into command prompt interface in some cases, let alone restoring system points. Fortunately, you could protect Windows in an easy way.

AOMEI Backupper Standard, free backup & restore software designed for Windows OS particularly, helps you safeguard operating system as well as important personal files. To be specific, it offers “System Backup” to create system image and allows you to back up on a regular basis like daily, weekly, or monthly. The incremental and differential backup help a lot in saving disk space on the destination path.

Backup Options

More important, it embeds with a utility named “Create Bootable Media” which helps you make bootable USB drive or CD/DVD disc of a mini Windows operating environment. This bootable media is quite important when system fails to boot in the future.

Create Bootable Media

Other helpful features are easy to use as well, such as file backup, file sync, disk clone, selectively file restore, etc. Free download this software and discover more.

Final words

When confronting the error message “You must enable system protection on this drive” in the event of system restore, you can enable system protection using command line. Likewise, you can turn on system protection from Control Panel if you are able to enter Windows environment.

Nevertheless, another reliable way to protect Windows is using AOMEI Backupper Standard. It gives robust backup solution for your computer from operating system to personal files. It is also powerful yet free disk cloning software as well. Don’t hesitate to get it.