Removing protected System Restore files if they have been infected

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Thomas Zucker-Scharff
Veteran in computer systems, malware removal and ransomware topics.  I have been working in the field since 1985.
NOTE:  Removing System Restore is the LAST step in your cleaning procedure.  Continuing with this procedure will DELETE ALL your system restore points, infected or not.  It is best to read this article explaining System Restore before following the instructions below.

Before doing this make sure your computer reboots.  Try to make sure your system is clean of viruses except in system restore.  Do NOT follow these directions if you have NOT tried to restore to an earlier time before you were infected.  An infected restore point is better than none at all.  But once you have a clean machine, the following procedure is the ONLY way I know of to clean your restore points because they are protected files.  

No matter what your software says it is doing it cannot clean your restore points.

WARNING:  This will DELETE ALL your system restore points

Disable System Restore:
Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
image of steps to get my computer properties
In the System Properties dialog box, click the System Restore tab.
system properties dialog boxsystem properties dialog - system restore tab
Click to select the Turn off System Restore check box. Or, click to select the Turn off System Restore on all drives check box.
Click OK.
When you receive the following message, click Yes to confirm that you want to turn off System Restore:
turn off system restore dialog box
After a few moments, the System Properties dialog box closes.

Reboot your system

Follow the above steps to reenable system restore

Create a manual restore point:
click the start button
all programs
system tools
system restore
navigating to system restore from the start button
choose to create a restore point
System restore tool dialog
follow the prompts - name it appropriately (like "clean system")
system restore tool - name restore point
Click "Create"
LVL 38

Expert Comment

Good details on the step-by-step process.
Thank you for putting this together.

"Yes" vote above.
LVL 54

Expert Comment

Good article and content!  Thanks for the time to write it and your contribution.  Keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have to use it (or any virus removal articles) for a while.  I am just too busy with other things coming up that it would just be "cruel of fate" to have my computer get a virus. :)  Still good to know System Restore is there and, when things do go wrong, have the details above to get Restore working and useable again.

LVL 32

Author Comment

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff

Glad you liked the article.  I know how you feel, having to use this kind of info is the last thing you really want to do. :-)

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