See if this from http://www.wintechhelp.com/vista_system_restore.htm
helps:Cannot Use and/or Launch System Restore
The System Restore utility might fail to launch and may exhibit error messages such as the following:
Unable to locate component
This Application has failed to start because SRCORE.dll was not found.
Re-installing the application may fix the problem.
System Restore does not appear to be functioning correctly on this system
Catastrophic failure (0x8000ffff)Cause
Any of the following could contribute to this issue:
An application is interfering with System Restore.
One or more of the core System Restore files are missing and/or corrupted.
The Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) has been disabled. System Restore depends on VSS volume snapshots being created via Shared Protection Points (SPP). System Restore cannot function if snapshot creation via SPP breaks or is disabled or if VSS is disabled.Resolution
To resolve such issues, use these steps:
Try to use System Restore from WinRE, Safe Mode, or Windows Vista in a clean boot state. If that fails, proceed with the next steps.
Check for the following files in the %windir%\system32 directory:
Follow the "Restoring Core Files" section later in this document. You might want to follow the instructions in that section to reregister Srcore.dll. Keep in mind that you are not able reregister Srrstr.dll, Srclient.dll, and Rstrui.exe as doing so produces an error message.
Check that Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) is not disabled.
Check for either of the following registry keys:
If you find a DisableConfig DWORD set to 1 in either of these keys, export the key and delete it.
Try System Restore again.