System restore is never anything I found particularly useful… in fact I don’t know that I’ve ever even used it. However, I’ve always left it enabled just in case. In Windows XP you could configure the amount of drive space System Restore uses via a slider control. No such control exists in Windows Vista and by default the sucker is configured to use up to 15 percent of your available drive space! Ok… 15% for something I don’t think I’ve ever used… I don’t think so.
To store restore points, you need at least 300 megabytes (MB) of free space on each hard disk that has System Protection turned on. System Restore might use up to 15 percent of the space on each disk. As the amount of space fills up with restore points, System Restore will delete older restore points to make room for new ones.
My laptop currently has a 60g drive and it’s allocated 5.136g of space. Of course this isn’t visible via the interface but to find out you can open a command prompt. Click on the start menu (or the orb as it seems to be called nowadays) and in the searc box type ‘command’, right click on the Command Prompt icon and select Run as Administrator. You’ll then see a DOS command prompt open up… type the following to see the current settings:
vssadmin list shadowstorage
What you’ll see is something like the following:
The command to set the amount of space used follows this syntax:
vssadmin resize shadowstorage /on=[drive]: /for=[drive]: /maxsize=[size]
So to configure your drive to only use 2 gigs of space on your C: drive you’d to the following:
vssadmin resize shadowstorage /on=C: /for=C: /maxsize=2GB
That’s it! You’ve recovered some space. If you find system restore useful I’d recommend not touching this setting, or at least not reducing it too much. But if you’re somebody like me who’s never used it you can easily reclaim some space.