Is it OK to delete recovery file?

What is a recovery file?

A recovery file, also known as a restore point or system restore file, is a file that Windows creates and uses in case your computer experiences problems or becomes unstable. The recovery file contains important system settings and registry information that Windows can use to restore your PC to a previous state if needed.

Recovery files are located in the C:\System Volume Information folder and have filenames like RP256.jrs or _rphint.jrs. They are system files that average about 250-500MB in size. Windows automatically creates a recovery file once per week by default, often after a Windows Update or software installation. You can also manually create a restore point at any time.

The main purpose of recovery files is to rollback and fix issues caused by faulty drivers, buggy software updates, or other system problems. If something causes your computer to crash or become unresponsive, using a recovery file lets you restore Windows to an earlier working state before the problem occurred. This prevents having to reinstall Windows or lose personal files and programs.

Should you delete recovery files?

In most cases, it’s not recommended to manually delete recovery files. Here’s why:

– Deleting recovery files prevents you from being able to restore Windows to a previous state using System Restore. If your OS becomes corrupted or unusable, not having restore points makes it much harder and time-consuming to fix issues.

– The recovery files don’t take up that much drive space, usually no more than 2-3GB in total. So there’s little practical benefit to removing them.

– Windows automatically manages recovery files, overwriting older ones when new ones are created. So there’s no need to manually purge restore points to regain drive space.

– Hacking tools that claim to “safely delete” recovery files often cause more harm than good. They can damage the files required for System Restore to work properly.

– Some viruses and malware will modify or remove recovery files entirely as part of their system infection routines. So if you notice them missing, it may indicate a compromised system.

Are there any cases when you should remove recovery files?

There are a handful of scenarios where deleting recovery files could be beneficial:

– When switching to a new Windows user profile, old recovery files associated with other user accounts can be removed to clear space.

– After a clean install of Windows, lingering recovery files from the previous OS installation can be deleted since you won’t be rolling back to the old system.

– If you have a very small system drive (64GB or less), removing older recovery points may help somewhat with space constraints.

– Some users delete recovery files out of privacy concerns and not wanting system data stored in them. Though this prevents rollbacks.

– When troubleshooting system restore issues, deleting all restore points and forcing Windows to create new fresh ones can sometimes resolve problems.

– Certain boot issues or “startup repair loop” errors can theoretically be fixed by removing all recovery files, though this is risky.

So in summary – recovery file removal is not generally recommended, but can be appropriate in certain use cases if done very selectively and carefully. It’s best to avoid removing them without good reason.

How can you safely delete recovery files in Windows?

If you do need to remove recovery files, here are a few safe ways to delete them in Windows:

– Use the inbuilt Disk Cleanup utility. Run it, choose “Clean up system files” and you can select the “Previous Windows installation(s)” option to safely remove files from old Windows versions including recovery files.

– Enable the “Disable system protection” option to stop creating restore points. Existing ones will be kept initially but eventually deleted by Windows automatically as disk space is needed.

– Use the System Restore control panel to manually delete individual restore points you don’t need anymore. This lets you remove specific ones while keeping the rest.

– Use the WMI command line tool or PowerShell to query and remove restore point files. This offers more control but requires using scripts/commands.

– Some third party utilities like CCleaner offer an option to safely remove all recovery files without harming Windows. Use reputable tools and check reviews first.

– Reset your PC to factory state. This will remove personal data, apps, and all system restore points as it reinstalls Windows fresh.

The key things to avoid are simply deleting files from the System Volume Information folder manually, or using dubious software tools that claim to “wipe” restore points. Stick to the safe methods above instead.

What happens if you delete all recovery files?

Here’s what you can expect if you remove all existing recovery files and restore points from your Windows system:

– System Restore will be disabled entirely until new restore points are created. Rolling back system changes will be impossible during this time.

– Any way to revert your computer to a past state when it was working will be gone. You’ll have to diagnose and fix issues manually.

– If Windows becomes corrupted or hit with malware but worked fine earlier, you’ll have no way to undo system changes and will likely need to reinstall Windows.

– Some applications may not work properly or fail to open because registry entries they rely on were removed when restore points were deleted.

– Any registry errors caused by software uninstalls, driver updates etc. can no longer be fixed by restoring an older registry snapshot.

– Without restore points, troubleshooting tools like Startup Repair have limited options to diagnose and fix boot issues. A system re-install may be required.

– Backup software that uses recovery files like Windows Backup & Restore may not work properly until new restore points are created.

– You will have fewer options to fix problems caused by buggy Windows Updates or driver incompatibilities since you can’t roll back via System Restore.

So in summary, it’s very risky to remove all recovery files. Your system is much more prone to OS corruption and many Windows features will be unavailable. Only delete restore points if absolutely necessary, and create new ones immediately after.

Can third party software recover deleted recovery files?

If you’ve accidentally deleted important recovery files or restore points in Windows, third party file recovery software provides some options to get them back:

– Undelete and data recovery programs may be able to find and restore previously deleted recovery files, provided they haven’t been overwritten yet on your system drive.

– File recovery from an image backup or snapshot taken before the recovery files were removed can extract them from the backup copy.

– Some forensic data recovery firms claim to recover even fully overwritten data using specialty techniques like magnetic force microscopy. This costs thousands of dollars but works in some cases.

– If you catch the deletion right away, recovery software for Windows like Recuva may be able to easily restore recently removed recovery files before too much new data is written.

– Using the free TestDisk utility, it’s possible in some cases to locate and rebuild deleted system restore points by rebuilding the _restore{GUID} entries.

– Tools like ShadowExplorer can browse and extract data from shadow copies on your system, which may include recovery point data.

– If you have a full backup image of your system from before restore point deletion, a file recovery tool can pull files from the image.

– If the recovery files were on a hard disk, removing it and using it as a secondary drive on another PC may allow recovery tools to access them.

The chances of success depend heavily on how long ago recovery files were deleted, and what new data has overwritten them. The sooner you scan your system with data recovery tools, the better your chances. But there are limits – you may need to ultimately reinstall Windows if restore points are not recoverable.

Should you create a new restore point after deleting recovery files?

If you’ve removed or lost existing recovery files, it’s highly recommended to create a new system restore point immediately on your Windows PC. Here are some key reasons why:

– It will allow you to reset Windows back to its current state if any new problems emerge after deleting past restore points.

– Third party apps and drivers that depend on registry snapshots may begin working again once a new restore point with needed registry data is created.

– Malware removal tools leverage restore points to undo any changes by viruses or spyware. Without restore points, they have limited functionality.

– New system files, updates, configurations will all be captured in the refresh restore point, avoiding issues caused by deleting old ones.

– Creating a restore point proactively can prevent future headaches if Windows becomes unstable or suffers boot problems.

– System Restore and other Windows troubleshooting tools function best when active restore points are available.

– Should you need to roll back for any reason, a new restore point lets you undo those changes after the fact.

– Data recovery or file restore utilities can leverage the contents of a new restore point if needed to recover lost or corrupted data.

Unless you plan to re-install Windows from scratch immediately after deleting past recovery files, creating a new restore point should be one of the first steps you take to avoid potential problems down the road.


In most cases, recovery files should be left alone and not manually deleted – they serve an important role in keeping Windows able to restore to a functional state. But in certain scenarios, deleting specific recovery points or all of them may make sense or be necessary for troubleshooting reasons.

Care should be taken when removing restore points, and ideally you should rely on built-in Windows tools to do so selectively. Wiping all recovery files risks leaving your system vulnerable to issues that require a reinstall to fix. If you do delete them, creating new restore points immediately after is strongly advised as a precaution, along with verifying Windows remains stable.

While third party data recovery software provides some options if important recovery files were removed and need to be retrieved, preventing their deletion in the first place is ideal. Know the risks before removing restore points, and leverage the built-in tools like System Restore to manage them safely.