You must enable system protection on this drive – System Restore error

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If, when you try to perform system restore in Windows 10/8/7, and you receive the You must activate system protection on this drive status error message, this message is intended to help you. In this article, we will identify some known potential causes that could trigger the error, and then provide possible solutions that you can try to resolve this problem.

The error message appears in System Restore and prevents users from running this utility on the disk of their choice. The message is a status message for the selected drive that users want to restore.

You may experience the error message due to these two distinct known causes;

  • The system protection function is not activated on your computer.
  • The system protection service does not work on your computer.

You must enable system protection on this drive – System restore error

If you are faced with this You must activate system protection on this drive problem, you can try our recommended solutions below and see if it helps to fix the problem.

  1. Activate system protection via PowerShell
  2. Restart the Volume Shadow Copy service
  3. Rename the system file and perform system restore via the command prompt

Let’s take a look at the description of the process involved in relation to each of the solutions listed.

1]Activate system protection via PowerShell

In this solution, provided you can successfully boot to Windows, there is a simple PowerShell command that can bring back the system protection function for the drive you want to restore. After that, you can visit the system restore settings to check if you can turn on system protection for the drive on which you installed Windows.

Proceed as follows:

  • Press Windows key + X to open the Power User menu, then press A on the keyboard to launch PowerShell in administrator / high mode.
  • In the PowerShell console, type the commands below and press Enter after each line.
enable-computerrestore -drive "c:"
vssadmin resize shadowstorage /on=c: /for=c: /maxsize=5%
checkpoint-computer -description "Done"

Order execution will take a few seconds.

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At startup, you can check whether your system restore is disabled or not. Here’s how:

  • Press Windows key + R.
  • In the Run dialog box, type Control system and press Enter to open the System section of the Control Panel.
  • On the left side of the screen, click System protection to open System properties.
  • Under Protection settings , check if the protection is switched on Sure under the drive you use for your files and folders.
  • If the option is disabled, select the drive for which you want to enable system restore and click the Configure button.
  • System protection settings for Windows 10 will open so check under Restore settings for the Activate system protection radio button. Make sure this option is selected.
  • Click on Okay.

You can now try to perform the system restore and see if the You must activate system protection on this drive an error message appears.

2]Restart the Volume Shadow Copy service

If the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) does not work at all or it is defective, the system protection used for system restore may not work properly and you may receive the You must activate system protection on this drive Error message. In this case, you should consider restarting the Volume Shadow Copy service before restarting the system restore to see if the problem will be resolved.

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You can stop and restart the Volume Shadow Copy service through the command prompt. Here’s how:

  • If you are unable to access your operating system at all, you will need to insert Windows 10 installation media and start your computer.
  • Choose your keyboard layout.
  • the Choose an option the screen will appear then go to Troubleshooting> Advanced Options> Command Prompt.
  • In the command prompt window, type the commands below and press Enter after each line.
net stop vss
net start vss

After executing the two commands, you can then re-run the system restore via the command line or restart your PC and, at startup, run the utility from the graphical interface. The operation should complete successfully without the error message.

3]Rename the system file and perform system restore via the command prompt

If the system restore does not work, you can try to run it using the command prompt. In this solution, you will need to run it, but before doing so, you need to rename two system files which can trigger the You must activate system protection on this drive Error message.

Since this problem mainly occurs when you are unable to access your operating system, all troubleshooting will be performed from the advanced boot options. Here’s how:

  • If you are unable to access your operating system at all, you will need to insert Windows 10 installation media and start your computer.
  • Choose your keyboard layout.
  • the Choose an option the screen will appear then go to Troubleshooting> Advanced Options> Command Prompt.
  • At the command prompt window, type the command below and press Enter.
cd %systemroot%system32config

Once you have accessed the config folder inside System32, it’s time to rename two system files. You can do this by typing the two commands below and pressing Enter after each.

ren SYSTEM system.001
ren SOFTWARE software.001

After running both commands, you can now execute system restore – type the command below and press Enter.

rstrui.exe /offline:C:windows=active

System Restore should now open without the error message. Follow the on-screen instructions and see if your computer starts working normally.

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I hope this helps you!

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