By Ivy / Last Updated September 24, 2020

About system restore not working in Windows 10

System Restore was introduced in the previous version of Windows operating system and included in Windows 10 operating system. In most cases, you will find it’s very useful, especially when your computer run slowly or become unbootable. You can use it restore computer to an earlier date.

However, sometimes, you may find Windows 10 system restore stuck and receive the following error message with details.

"System Restore did not complete successfully. Your computer's system files and settings were not changed.

System Restore failed while restoring the directory from the restore point.
Source: AppxStaging
Destination: %ProgramFiles%\WindowsApps
An unspecified error occurred during System Restore. (0x80070091)"

System Restore not Working Windows 10

Why you receive error code 0x80070091?

0x80070091 is the most common error code you may receive when you restore from a system restore point in Windows 10. It stands for ERROR_DIR_NOT_EMPTY (the directory isn't empty). In other words, something is broken in folder %ProgramFiles%\WindowsApps, and the AppxStaging refuses to rewrite the folder from system restore.

1. Some redirections in WindowsApps cannot be deleted.

In WindowsApps foder, there are Some VFS (virtual file system) folders that may contain NTFS links (for folder redirections) and cannot be deleted. But you can rename the WindowsApps folder.

2. Something goes wrong during deleting, updating or moving.

In addition, there are subfolders named Deleted, DeletedAllUserPackages or MovedPackages that contains entries. And these entries can cause this problem.

3. Some interfere like Norton break system restore.

4. Some antivirus software block system restore.

Backup your computer first

To fix Windows 10 system restore stuck issue, you need to spend a lot of time and effort, and you cannot promise you can fix it. More seriously, you may damage your system and lose your data forever. All operations are at risk. Method errors and operational errors may be one of the reasons. In sum, recovery is time-consuming and probabilistic.

Before you start any operation, you’d better create a system image backup and save it to external hard drive or other storage device. It contains an exact copy of all files, preinstalled apps and settings on the system partition. Whatever happens, you can restore your computer. For backup and restore software, you can use free AOMEI Backupper, which can help you create a system backup with a few clicks. And you can do more than you think.

  • You can use it on all Windows-based operating system, including Windows 10/8/7/XP. If you are server users, it still offer you a different version of backup software called AOMEI Backupper Server.

  • You can create a schedule system backup, including Daily Backup, Weekly Backup, Monthly Backup, Event-trigger Backup.

  • You can create differential or incremental backup, which only backup the changed part.

  • You can make use of Scheme option to delete old backup. It can save backup disk space and keep the latest version of backup.

To create a backup, you can download AOMEI Backupper and open it. Then, select backup type (here is System Backup) and operate the rest of steps according to its instructions.

System Backup

System restore failed in Windows 10 – how to fix?

Fix 1: Uninstall the interferer like Norton

Norton has a feature called product protection, which can break system restore. Thus, if you install this software, you need to uninstall it and see if your problems disappear.

Fix 2: Run system restore in safe mode or Windows PE

Sometimes, you can go to safe mode or Windows PE to solve the problem on normal boot. In Windows 10, you need click Start while press and hold Shift key, and then, your computer will restart in safe mode. Now, you just need to do system restore in safe mode with the same steps in normal mode.

For Windows PE, you need to restartyour computer while press Shift key, and then you will see Chooose an option window. You can click Troubleshoot > Advanced options > System Restore, then do as the normal mode.

Fix 3: Confirm you enable system restore and try a different system restore point

In Windows 10, system restore is disabled by default. You need to manually enable system restore after you get a Windows PC or upgrade Windows 7/8/8.1 to Windows 10. If not, system restore no restore points is your issue.

Besides, certain files will not replace correctly owing to file conflict. Or the previous restore point is unavailable. Thus, you can use a different restore point and run this operation again.

Fix 4: List WindowsApps content without changing permission

WindowsApps is a hidden folder in C:/Program Files, which is used to store preinstalled apps. It's owned by TrustedInstaler and protected in a special manner. And, you cannot access it via Windows Explorer even if you log in as administrator.

Thus, if the WindowsApps folder is broken, you will receive error message implying system restore not working. If you think the problem was caused by redirection link, you can try to list WindowsApps content and find the redirection link.

Detailed steps are below:

Step 1. Run CMD as administrator.

Step 2. Type powershell in the command prompt and press Enter.

Step 3. Change the path to WindowsApps foder. You can type the following command.

cd $env:programfiles\WindowsApps

Step 4. Enlist all sub-folders and its contens, store the results within clipboard. You can enter the command below.

(LS -Re -Fi * -Fo -Ea:Inquire).FullName | clip

Step 5. Launch notepad with the command below


List Windowsapps Content

Step 6. Insert clipboard content with function key Ctrl + V

Afterward you can view all the subfolder in the notepad, search VFS sub-folders and make sure if the problem was caused by redirections link in this folder. If so, you can see below and rename this folder and delete the link.

Fix 5: Rename WindowsApps folder within operating system

In general, you cannot access WindowsApps folder owing to permission issue. It's owned by TrustedInstaler. But you can change the ownership of this folder and rename it.

Change the ownership of WindowsApps folder

Step 1. Show hidden WindowsApps folder. You can navigate to Program Files, click the View tab and tick the checkbox before Hidden items.

Hidden Items

Step 2. Access WindowsApps folder. You can Right-click WindowsApps and select Properties option.


Step 3. In the WindowsApps Properties window, click Security and Advanced.

Step 4. In the Advanced Security Settings window, click Change.

Step 5. Enter the administrator username and click Check Names.

Step 6. Tick the checkbox before Replace owner on subcontainers and objects, and then click OK to start the pending operation. If not, you cannot access and use the subfolder in WindowsApps.

Rename WindowsApps folder

Step 1. Go to WindowsApps folder, right-click it and select Rename. You can rename it as WindowsApps.old.

Step 2. Restart your computer and run system restore again.

After you restore the computer having problems, all the apps will back. If this does not work, you can rename the WindowsApps.old back to WindowsApps, and then change this folder using command prompt in Windows PE.

Fix 6: Rename WindowsApps folder in Windows PE

Step 1. Boot into Windows PE and then click Troubleshoot in the following window.

Troubleshoot Win10

Step 2. Select Command Prompt in the Advanced options page.

Step 3. Type the following command and press Enter after each one.

  • cd C:\Program Files

  • takeown /f WindowsApps /r /d Y

  • icacls WindowsApps /grant “%USERDOMAIN%\%USERNAME%”:(F) /t

  • attrib WindowsApps –h

  • rename WindowsApps WindowsApps.old

If this operation fails, you can directly delete this folder using rd /s WindowsApps command. The rd command will deletes the WindowsApps folder with all sub folders

Maybe, you have already fix system restore not working in Windows 10. But not all ways work for your computer. You need to take measures in advance. Backup image can be one of the most useful measures, which can restore your computer to a good state. And it can be used on different operating system, even a computer with dissimilar hardware. You can restore image to a different computer at any time.