System Restore not finding my drives - error 0x81000203


TraceyW

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Hi

I have a system where I am dual booting Windows 10 and Windows 11. However, after not going into Windows 11 for a few days, today I found that Windows 11 System Restore is not working. Windows is coming up with the 0x81000203 error. I've checked that the relevant services are starting when System Restore is invoked and also gpedit.msc is showing that System Restore is Not Configured. I've also checked two registry keys that apparently have an effect on System Restore in Windows 10 (don't know about Win11) but by all accounts they are both fine (can't say what they are just now - can't find the website).

When I try going into System Restore, the dialogue comes up with another dialogue containing the error message - the dialogue itself says it is searching for my drives but is not finding any of the 11 I've got. Windows boots up just fine and anyway I've run SFC and CHKDSK and both find no problems at all. My question therefore is: what else can I do to try and get System Restore working. It HAS been working as I generally take a restore point before uninstalling anything (I use Revo Uninstall Pro on Win11). I just don't know what else to try.

Tracey
 
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Version 21H2 (OS Build 22000.194)

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cereberus

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Frankly, I have given up using restore points as too unreliable. I use image backups instead using Macrium Reflect You can backup both Windows partitions at same time if you like but only need to restore the windows partition that is playing up.

The thing to be careful with image backups is that if you restore an image backup, if you have valuable data on C drive that was not included in image backup, data can be lost. I store my data on a different drive to ensure that does not happen.

It is a good idea to make a differential backup just before you do a restore, partly so you can wind forward again if you decide to do so, and partly all the data on C drive is backed up.
 

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FreeBooter

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TraceyW

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Thanks for your reply cerebus. Quite frankly I've never used System Restore so I don't really know why I care so much about this. I suppose its a case of "its supposed to work so why doesn't it". Like you, I depend to a very large extent on Macrium Reflect (the free version - still on version 7). Several times I've made adjustments to my setting up and fouled things up and rather than use System Restore I've simply restored my previous weeks backup and continued from there. Whenever possible I refuse to put anything on drive C that is not associated with the OS. I have Windows on a drive all its own and all my programs and data are on a different drive drive in separate partitions. I don't think my husband can understand me but it seems logical to me to do things this way. My drive C is backed up every Saturday are my partitions for programs, data, audio and source files (I have a separate partition just for my program source files and any other files which are important to the operation of my PC). I also backup a variety of misc files as well.

I think I shall adopt the same attitude as yourself and to hell with System Restore. If it doesn't work - tough!!! But its taken your post to make me realise how little I use System Restore.

Tracey
 

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Lucas North

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I had the same issue only yesterday, tried and tested all the online solutions to the problem but nothing worked for me.
Fortunately for me I'm a Macrium user and I had an image from only a few day before, restored my image and all is well again.
the online solutions worked for some users but not for me, hope you have better luck.
 

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cereberus

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Thanks for your reply cerebus. Quite frankly I've never used System Restore so I don't really know why I care so much about this. I suppose its a case of "its supposed to work so why doesn't it". Like you, I depend to a very large extent on Macrium Reflect (the free version - still on version 7). Several times I've made adjustments to my setting up and fouled things up and rather than use System Restore I've simply restored my previous weeks backup and continued from there. Whenever possible I refuse to put anything on drive C that is not associated with the OS. I have Windows on a drive all its own and all my programs and data are on a different drive drive in separate partitions. I don't think my husband can understand me but it seems logical to me to do things this way. My drive C is backed up every Saturday are my partitions for programs, data, audio and source files (I have a separate partition just for my program source files and any other files which are important to the operation of my PC). I also backup a variety of misc files as well.

I think I shall adopt the same attitude as yourself and to hell with System Restore. If it doesn't work - tough!!! But its taken your post to make me realise how little I use System Restore.

Tracey
If you really want to go one stage further, you can buy a Reflect licence and when yiubrestore an incremental backup, it uses Rapid Delta Restore i.e. instead of restoring whole drive, it restores by difference. Depending on how long since last backup, it may only take a minute or so. This is like system restore on steroids.

You can download a 30 day free trial of Macrium Reflect Home, to test RDR. If you choose not to pay for licence, it reverts to free version. I think there is currently 20% off at moment. Note: licence is a one-off paymentcand all updates of V8 are free.

You would have to pay for V9 in future (3 years between versions typically) but even then there is usally a 50% discount.
 

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IanMosley

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I depend to a very large extent on Macrium Reflect (the free version - still on version 7).
MR v8 is now available in the Free Editiom
 

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flashh4

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Both a backup and a restore can allow you to access lost data, and both can be automated by using different software included in your computer's program, but that is where the similarities end. It does not mean that one should be used instead of another, but simply that they are complementary in their differences, and together, they will help you recover lost documents and files. I would try & fix the system restore so i have both working. JMO
Chuck
 

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TraceyW

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Yes I know Macrium v8 is available and I've tried it. I hate it! Why? Because it insists on using these damned Image IDs. I hate the things. They mean nothing to me and they look ugly so I wrote a message about them but held off putting it up until the right moment - so here goes!

I have been using the free version of Macrium Reflect for many years now and it has always served me very well. I've also installed it on my husband's PC and on a spare PC we have and both are backed up on a regular basis, again with no problems.

When version 8 was released I jumped at the chance to install it and see what may have changed. One thing was immediately obvious, Macrium strongly recommend the use of an ImageID in the filename and make sure it's included. WHY!!! I hate the damn things. So much so that since I could not, as far as I could see, reinstall 7.3 (somehow I seemed to be locked into 8), I restored my previous weeks system backup and reinstalled version 7.3. Then, when alerted to the fact that 8 was available, I selected to NEVER update to 8. Quite frankly I would like to see a user selectable option to either INCLUDE or NOT INCLUDE the ImageID in filenames (as in v7.3) - and I don't see the current system of deselecting the Image ID for each and every file as particularly satisfactory.

Why my hate of ImageIDs? I always like to use a name I can relate to and which means something to me. Since I've been using Reflect I've NEVER had any problems using filenames without an ImageID - at least I know I've got the right file if I need to restore it. ImageIDs mean nothing to me. They're just a jumble of numbers and letters. Maybe the program knows what they mean, but me(?), no way. Nevertheless, I'm curious enough to want to know what is so magical, so special about ImageIDs? Why are they so strongly recommended and why don't other programs insist on you using them if they are so special? Yes I know v8 gives the option of giving the filename a meaningful name as well as preceeding it with the ImageID - but I hate it. So! Can anyone please educate me and explain what is so magical and special about ImageIDs?

Well that's my post. If anyone can explain why ImageIDs are so special I would appreciate it.

Tracey
 

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Fabler2

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What I do is to create a folder on the external drive I image to and name it with the laptop description, date and any other info needed. Then select that folder to image to. Image is then easy to recognise for me.
 

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Winuser

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I make folders and subfolders. Using my Desktop as an example. I made a folder named New Powerspec. Then I make folders named for the date made 1-10-22. Works great for me.
 

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Dru2

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Again... System Restore is NOT a backup program, nor was it ever designed to be or compete with "backup" programs!

Until people understand that fact there will always be confusion on posts mentioning issues with System Restore and those posting back that they should use an "alternative "backup" program (Macrium). That does NOT solve System Restore issues cause one is not the other.
A "backup" deals with personal files and folders. System Restore only deals with the registry (backup) and system files. I use System Restore for driver updates where if something goes wrong, I can revert back to the system file and registry before a driver or software package update.

Also be aware anytime a new OS upgrade, example: Win 10 1809 > 1903 is done, the System Restore points get deleted as they no longer apply to the new OS. So, if you had Restore Points in Win 10 1809. In Win 10, 1903 those restore points will be gone cause they applied to 1809, not 1903.

Hope this clarifies/helps :)
 

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cereberus

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Yes I know Macrium v8 is available and I've tried it. I hate it! Why? Because it insists on using these damned Image IDs. I hate the things. They mean nothing to me and they look ugly so I wrote a message about them but held off putting it up until the right moment - so here goes!

I have been using the free version of Macrium Reflect for many years now and it has always served me very well. I've also installed it on my husband's PC and on a spare PC we have and both are backed up on a regular basis, again with no problems.

When version 8 was released I jumped at the chance to install it and see what may have changed. One thing was immediately obvious, Macrium strongly recommend the use of an ImageID in the filename and make sure it's included. WHY!!! I hate the damn things. So much so that since I could not, as far as I could see, reinstall 7.3 (somehow I seemed to be locked into 8), I restored my previous weeks system backup and reinstalled version 7.3. Then, when alerted to the fact that 8 was available, I selected to NEVER update to 8. Quite frankly I would like to see a user selectable option to either INCLUDE or NOT INCLUDE the ImageID in filenames (as in v7.3) - and I don't see the current system of deselecting the Image ID for each and every file as particularly satisfactory.

Why my hate of ImageIDs? I always like to use a name I can relate to and which means something to me. Since I've been using Reflect I've NEVER had any problems using filenames without an ImageID - at least I know I've got the right file if I need to restore it. ImageIDs mean nothing to me. They're just a jumble of numbers and letters. Maybe the program knows what they mean, but me(?), no way. Nevertheless, I'm curious enough to want to know what is so magical, so special about ImageIDs? Why are they so strongly recommended and why don't other programs insist on you using them if they are so special? Yes I know v8 gives the option of giving the filename a meaningful name as well as preceeding it with the ImageID - but I hate it. So! Can anyone please educate me and explain what is so magical and special about ImageIDs?

Well that's my post. If anyone can explain why ImageIDs are so special I would appreciate it.

Tracey
You can change settings to cal it what you like - even not append ids.
 

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    ASUS Vivobook 14
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    Yep, Laptop has one.
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Mark Phelps

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Yes I know Macrium v8 is available and I've tried it. I hate it! Why? Because it insists on using these damned Image IDs. I hate the things. They mean nothing to me and they look ugly so I wrote a message about them but held off putting it up until the right moment - so here goes!

Well that's my post. If anyone can explain why ImageIDs are so special I would appreciate it.

Tracey
I can't explain them -- but if you go into Advanced Options when you configure the backup, you will see the is a box you can uncheck to stop forcing these Image IDs.

Unfortunately, unlike other settings, there seems to be no way to configure this option to OFF all the time.
 

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Bree

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...I don't see the current system of deselecting the Image ID for each and every file as particularly satisfactory....

You just have to configure it the once, then save your settings as a backup definition file. Then run the backup definition file whenever you need to make an image. You can edit it to change the image file name before you run it, if you like. That's what I do for my monthly Full images.
 

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  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Aspire 3 A315-23
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    AMD Athlon Silver 3050U
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    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Lattitude E4310
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    i5 M 520
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    0T6M8G
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    4GB
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    500GB HDD
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    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.

cereberus

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I can't explain them -- but if you go into Advanced Options when you configure the backup, you will see the is a box you can uncheck to stop forcing these Image IDs.

Unfortunately, unlike other settings, there seems to be no way to configure this option to OFF all the time.
Yeah this is a pain and people have complained on the Macrium forum but once you have created an xml file, and use run definitions (as @Bree says), you do not need to select option every time.

In simple words use XML files.

Turn off image id by unchecking box.

1641892594411.png


Click curly brackets e,g, YY

1641891716262.png

select option from menu

1641891851606.png

repeat with options you want. Yiu can add text as well (I add minuses)

1641892322740.png


When you set up files using xml, I give a date in YY MM DD format at start of name as then the images sort in correct date order in explorer (This works in reverse EU format but not in illogical reverse US format which would be YY DD MM).

Then carry on and when you get to this page, create an XML name.

1641892888560.png

then once run, you see name in file explorer as

1641893034865.png


Then when you want to create additional backup, select definition tab, custom name xml, backup type.

1641893207146.png



resulting in

1641893288168.png


You can edit the custom xml file before you run it e.g.

1641893503293.png

1641893608293.png

If you do this to add comments, it will remember last comment which may not what you want, so remember to remove it next time
 

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My Computer

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    Yep, Laptop has one.
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Bree

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My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Aspire 3 A315-23
    CPU
    AMD Athlon Silver 3050U
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon Graphics
    Monitor(s) Displays
    laptop screen
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768 native resolution, up to 2560x1440 with Radeon Virtual Super Resolution
    Hard Drives
    1TB HDD
    Browser
    Edge, Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Lattitude E4310
    CPU
    i5 M 520
    Motherboard
    0T6M8G
    Memory
    4GB
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    500GB HDD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.

cereberus

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  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
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    TPM 2.0

The-Hive

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Who cares about the filename as long as it does the job. you can add your own name at the end to help with reference. I agree they do look ugle and not even the same length
 

My Computers

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  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Alienware Area 51m R2
    CPU
    10th Gen Core i9 10900K
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Geforce RTX 2080 Super
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    C: Samsung 2TB P981A
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    Alienware AW610M
    Browser
    Chrome and Firefox
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    Norton
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    Killer E3000 Ethernet Controller
    Killer AX1650i Wi-Fi Network Adaptor
    Alienware Z01G Graphic Amplifier
    Tobii Eye Tracker
  • Operating System
    Dual Boot Windows 11 Pro / Windows 11 Pro Dev build
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 3501
    CPU
    11th Gen i-7 2.80 gb
    Memory
    16Gb
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    512Gb SSD
    2GB External drive
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    Norton
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