Here is how you recover files from shadows:
Disk Management - How to Post a Screenshot of - Windows 10 Forums
When installing Windows only the HD/SSD where Windows is being installed to, and the DVD/Flash Drive Windows is being installed from should be connected. (storage devices).
If other HD's/SSD's are connected while installing, some files may get updated/installed there.
Turns out this is a much more interesting problem than any of us might have wished for. Found some interesting gems in researching the topic, and learned that, among many other things, numerous disk defrag programs apparently kill VSS (the Volume Shadow Service is what writes shadow copies of the OS files, including restore points) stuff of just about any kind. I see you have a spinning disk for your boot/system disk, so this seems a potentially likely culprit.
Check these articles and forum threads for some hopefully discussions and information:
Why are my Windows system restore points disappearing? - Forums - CNET
Solve the mystery of lost System Restore points | PCWorld
why do my Restore Points keep disappearing? - Windows 7 Help Forums
Restore points disappeared Solved - Windows 7 Help Forums
I also learned you can use one of the tools built into CCleaner (long a favorite of mine) to check out restore points, to wit:
I hope you find relief amidst all this barrage of potential causes and related fixes.
Thanks Ed - I have now turned off the auto defrag to see if that makes a difference - I did notice the little reserved sector on the main HDD but thought nothing of it. Perhaps if I did another clean reinstall of W10 on a new hdd then that would not reappear. Alas I don't have the time for that right now but if something goes wrong I will do that. Not sure even why that little partition is there - was it created when I did the free W7 to W10 upgrade? and is it actually needed for anything or was created because there were other drives present when I did the recent reinstall? Must take note to disconnect everything else next time apart from the drive for the OS.
In Windows-land the boot files live in the system partition, and the system/OS files live in the boot partition. That 100 MB partition is where the Windows boot manager goes to fire up and launch the boot process, which ultimately results in the OS files in the boot partition taking over and running your PC. This also tells me you're running legacy BIOS on your PC rather than the newer-fangled UEFI. For the latter, your disk layout would include a 100 MB EFI partition instead (which serves the same function as your 100 MB system partition). Mine also includes a 450 MB Recovery Partition, which includes the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) from which OS recovery activities may be launched if and when the primary boot partition or EFI System partition goes south).
Thanks again Ed - So actually no need to reinstall at the moment - its just don't have restore points but think I can live without those at the moment - however noticed something odd - The amount of space used by one restore point on this machine for all drives is 300mb - however on another similar (almost identical) machine running the same software with only one drive has only four restore points and showing the usage at about 7.4gb!
Something odd is indeed going on. You may want to think about a clean reinstall on this system. I think it might be a drastic, but sure, solution to whatever's causing this weirdness to go down.
You have Dynamic partitions.
I don't know why you have them or if they might be causing an issue with your restore points.
If you re-install Windows, don't use Dynamic partitions, they can cause problems.
An MBR disk can have 3 Primary partitions and unlimited Logical partitions, or 4 Primary partitions.
The only partition that needs to be Primary is the partition that has the bootloader.
If you install Windows into unallocated space, Windows will create a small System Reserved partition for the bootloader, and the rest of the space for the C: Windows partition.
If you install Windows into a pre-defined partition, the bootloader and Windows will be installed in that partition as C: