“To use System Restore, you must specify which Windows installation to restore. Restart this computer, select an operating system, and then select System Restore”
The above error message pops up when the user is trying to do a system restore. Typically, this error prevents the user from completing the restore process. In extreme cases, Windows doesn’t boot due to the error.
The main reasons for the error “to use System Restore, you must specify which Windows installation to restore” to appear during the System Restore process are
- Corrupt system files or Boot Configuration Data (BCD)
- Issues with the hard drive
Step 1: Run System File Checker
As the basic cause behind the error “to use System Restore you must specify which Windows installation to restore” is corrupt system files, running System File Checker may help you in fixing it.
To run SFC,
Open Command Prompt as administrator from the Start menu.
Type sfc /scannow /offbootdir=C:\ /offwindir=C:\Windows and hit Enter key.
While typing the above command, replace C with the drive letter of your system drive (drive/partition where Windows is installed.)
Allow, SFC to complete the scanning and fixing process. Once done, run the below Bootrec commands and press Enter key after each. Running BootRec commands also helps in solving the error boot BCD file is missing along with the “to use system restore you must specify which Windows installation to restore” one.
- BootRec /Fixmbr
- BootRec /FixBoot
- BootRec /RebuildBCD
At last, close the Command Prompt, reboot the computer, and start System Restore.
Step 2: Run DISM
Another tool available in Windows OS to verify system files’ integrity is Deployment Image Servicing and Management in short DISM. So, running DISM may resolve the error “to use System Restore you must specify which Windows installation to restore”.
Instructions to Run DISM:
- Launch the elevated Command Prompt (as admin) from the Start menu.
- Type DISM /Image: C:\Windows /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source: C:\Windows\WinSxS and press Enter.
- Replace C with your system drive/partition letter.
- Wait till it completes the verification. When done, exit CMD and restart the system. In case, DISM gives any error message then insert Windows bootable DVD/USB.
- (Replace B with your bootable USB/DVD drive letter)
- Then, type DISM /Image:C:\Windows /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:esd:B:\Sources\Install.esd:1 /limitaccess and hit Enter.
- If necessary (in case the esd require wim) then, type DISM /Image:C:\Windows /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:wim:B:\Sources\Install.wim /limitaccess and click the Enter button.
Step 3: Run Check Disk
Open Command Prompt (Run as administrator), type chkdsk C: /offlinescanandfix and click Enter.
Replace C with your system drive letter. If prompted for permission, press Y and restart the system.
Note: Want to recover files after CHKDSK scan? Then, check the link and find an easy way to restore your files that are lost or deleted after running CHKDSK command.
Step 4: Repair Windows
Connect the bootable USB/DVD to your computer and boot from it.
On the Windows Setup wizard, click the Repair your computer link.
Follow the on-screen instructions.