Fixing System Restore Error 0x81000203 in Windows

In the event of problems on the computer, some users use the restore function of the Windows operating system using pre-created restore points. When you try to perform this operation, you receive a message that an error 0x81000203 has occurred.

This means that System Restore is not working. The System Restore feature is an important part of the Windows operating system that helps users perform a rollback if an application, file, or more serious problem occurs on the computer.

For various reasons, error 0x81000203 appears in Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows 11 operating systems, due to which it is not possible to restore the previous state of the PC when there were no problems on the device.

In most cases, the property page error 0x81000203 is displayed when you try to perform a system restore and the process fails. A message appears on the screen with an error code: “0x81000203”.

The appearance of error 0x81000203 Windows can depend on various reasons:

  • disabling services responsible for shadow copying;
  • exposure to viruses;
  • due to the actions of third-party software;
  • after installing some Windows updates;
  • when system files are corrupted.

In this guide, we will explain how to fix System Restore in many ways when error code 0x81000203 appears. We have prepared several instructions that can help you solve this problem in Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 operating systems.

Recovery error 0x81000203

System Restore error 0x81000203 appears during the launch of this function when the user starts the Windows Restore process in any of the convenient or possible ways.

A message appears in the Restore System Files and Settings window stating that there are no restore points on the system drive of this computer. To create them, you need to open the system protection.

After clicking on the “system protection” link, an error warning window opens.

An error occurred on the property page:

A System Restore error has occurred. Try running the recovery program again. (0x81000203).

Close the property page and try again.

In addition, the “System Properties” window opens in the “System Protection” tab. In the “System Restore” group, the “Restore …” button is inactive, and in the “Protection Options” group, computer drives are not displayed and the “Configure …” and “Create …” buttons are inactive.

We cannot run an operating system restore, configure recovery options, including enabling system protection, and manually create a restore point.

Verify that the Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider service is running

First, you need to check the settings of Windows services, because the Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider service may not be running.

Use the following method:

  1. In the Windows search box, type “services”.
  2. Click “Open”.
  3. In the Services window, locate and double-click the Microsoft Shadow Copy Provider Software service.
  4. In the service properties window, in the “General” tab, in the “Startup type:” option in the drop-down menu, set “Automatic”.
  5. Click on the “Apply” buttons.
  6. Now you need to click on the “Run” button, and then on “OK”.
  7. Make sure that the services “Volume Shadow Copy” and “Task Scheduler” are also not disabled.
  8. Press the “Win” + “R” keys.
  9. In the Run dialog box, type “sysadm.cpl” and then press “Enter”.
  10. In the System Properties window, open the System Protection tab.
  11. Select the system disk, click on the “Configure …” button.
  12. In the “Recovery Options” section, the “Turn on system protection” item must be activated. In the “Disk space usage” option, specify the maximum amount that the system protection function will use on the disk.
  13. Click on the “OK” button and then restart your computer.

Check again for the problem.

Windows Recovery Error 0x81000203: Command Prompt Fix

Using the built-in tool – the Windows command line, we will disable and then enable System Restore on the computer. Perhaps this will help solve your problem.

Do the following:

  1. Type “cmd” into the search field and then run the application as an administrator.
  2. In the command line interpreter window, execute the suggested commands one by one. After entering each command, press the “Enter” key.
reg delete “HKLM\\SOFTWARE\\Policies\\Microsoft\\Windows NT\\SystemRestore” /v “DisableSR” /f

reg delete “HKLM\\SOFTWARE\\Policies\\Microsoft\\Windows NT\\SystemRestore” /v “DisableConfig” /f

reg add “HKLM\\Software\\Microsoft\\Windows NT\\CurrentVersion\\SPP\\Clients” /v ” {09F7EDC5-294E-4180-AF6A-FB0E6A0E9513}” /t REG_MULTI_SZ /d “1” /f

schtasks /Change /TN "Microsoft\\Windows\\SystemRestore\\SR" /Enable

vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /Maxsize=10GB

sc config wbengine start= demand

sc config swprv start= demand

sc config vds start= demand

sc config VSS start= demand

These commands assume that the system is installed on the C: drive on this computer and that the maximum value for using disk space by recovery points is 10 GB (if necessary, this value can then be changed in the system protection settings).

  1. Restart your PC and then check for this issue.

Enabling System Restore in the Group Policy Editor (GPO)

This method only works for Windows Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions. The Home version of Windows does not have a Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc), so they can use the following method with edits in the Registry Editor.

Do the following:

  1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor .
  2. In the Group Policy Editor console window, follow the path:
Computer Configuration → Administrative Templates → System → System Restore
  1. Right-click on “Turn off System Restore”, select “Change” in the context menu.
  2. In the “Disable System Restore” window, set the “Not configured” option, and then click on the “OK” button.
  3. Restart your computer, after that system restore should work.

Changing settings in the Windows registry

System settings and preferences, and all hardware, software, and user settings are stored in the Windows registry. Here you can change some registry settings to fix the unexpected error on the system protection properties page.

This method works on all versions of Windows, including Home Edition.

Go through the steps:

  1. Open the registry editor on your computer.
  2. In the “Registry Editor” window, follow the path:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\SystemRestore
  1. Double-click on the “DisableConfig” parameter, and in the window that opens, change the value to “0”.
  2. Do the same with the “DisableSR” parameter.

If your computer does not have a “SystemRestore” partition, then you need to create it. Right-click on “Windows NT”, first select “New” and then “Partition”. Name it “SystemRestore”.

Right click on an empty space inside this partition. Select “New” and then “DWORD (32-bit) Value”. Name the parameter “DisableConfig” with value “0”. Then, in the same way, create the parameter “DisableSR” with the value “0”.

  1. Reboot the system.

Changing the value of “UpperFilters” in the registry

Editing the system registry, in particular changing the value of “UpperFilters”, helps in some cases if the Windows System Restore error 0x81000203 occurs.

Do the following:

  1. Open the registry editor and follow the path:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{71a27cdd-812a-11d0-bec7-08002be2092f}
  1. Make sure this section contains the multistring “UpperFilters” with the value “volsnap”.

If the “UpperFilters” multistring is not there, it must be created:

  1. Right-click on an empty space inside the partition.
  2. Select New first, then Multi-String Parameter.
  3. Name it “UpperFilters”.
  4. Double-click on it, and in the “Edit Multiline” window, in the “Value” field, enter “volsnap”.
  5. Reboot the system.

Reset Windows repository

If the recovery program error 0x81000203 persists, reset the Windows repository in safe mode. We will recreate the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) store and this may fix the restore function.

To do this, do the following:

  1. Start your computer in safe mode without network connection.
  2. Open command prompt as administrator.
  3. Type the command and press the “Enter” key:
net stop winmgmt

The Windows Management Instrumentation service will stop working.

  1. Then open File Explorer and navigate to the folder:
C:\Windows\System32\wbem
  1. Rename the “Repository” folder to “Repository.old”.
  2. Restart your computer to save changes.
  3. Open the command prompt again as an administrator to run the command:
net stop winmgmt
  1. Then apply the following command:
winmgmt /resetRepository
  1. Reboot your system and exit safe mode.

Check if you can manually create a system restore point.

Checking and repairing the Windows image and system files using DISM and SFC

When System Restore doesn’t work, error 0x81000203, and other methods don’t help, try repairing the Windows image using the DISM tool.

You need to do the following:

  1. Run command prompt as administrator.
  2. Enter the command, press “Enter”:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
  1. After the scan is complete, run the second command to restore the system image:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  1. After the operation is completed, restart your PC.

Check and restore system files using the built-in application SFC.exe:

  1. Open a command prompt with administrative rights.
  2. Run the command:
sfc /scannow
  1. Restart your computer.

Other Methods for Solving the Problem

If System Restore error 0x81000203 occurred and the above methods did not work for you, try a few more methods.

Check your computer for viruses with a virus scanner that does not require installation. Viruses could damage the Windows operating system by breaking some functions. After removing malicious software, check and restore system files.

Disable and remove tweaker programs from your computer that are designed to change system settings. Such software may disable or block the Windows Restore feature.

Reinstall Windows while keeping personal data and programs using the update method. After the update is completed, which takes a long time, the system settings will return to the default values, and you will save your information and applications.

Article Conclusions

When trying to start the Windows Restore process using system restore points, the user sees error code 0x81000203. This means that the System Restore feature on the computer is not working. To solve this problem related to disabled system protection, several methods are suitable that fix the error using various system tools.

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