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2011-12-05

A+: System Restore


Ever wish you had a “wayback machine” so roll back time before you added a corrpted driver or a malware app? Windows since XP features a “wayback machine”, System Restore.


Be aware that System Restore is not necessarily the first step you should try when troubleshooting a computer. Simply restarting the computer has been known to “fix” all kinds of issues. It’s also a good idea to try the Last Known Good Configuration. You can access this within the Windows Advanced Boot Options menu by pressing F8 when the computer first boots. Also, if System Restore doesn’t seem to work in normal mode, attempt to use it in Safe Mode. Safe Mode is another option in the Windows Advanced Boot Options menu.

Be wary of using System Restore if you’re fighting a computer virus or malware infection. If you (or the system) create a restore point while the system is infected, you could re-infect the system if you revert the system to that restore point. To prevent re-infection, most anti-virus vendors recommend that you disable System Restore (which eliminates stored restore points) before removing computer viruses.

System Restore enables you to fix problems caused by a defective hardware or software installation by resetting your computer’s configuration to the way it was at a specified earlier time. The driver or software files installed stay on the system, and so does the data you created, but Registry changes made by the hardware or software are reversed so your system works the way it did before the installation. Restore points can be created by the user with System Restore and are also created automatically by the system before new hardware or software is installed.

To create a restore point in Windows Vista, follow these steps:

    Step 1. Right-click Computer and select Properties. This opens the System Properties window.

    Step 2. Click the System Protection tab.

    Step 3. Click the Create button. This opens the System Protection window.

    Step 4. Enter a name for the restore point and click Create.

To create a restore point in Windows XP, follow these steps:

    Step 1. Navigate to Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore. This opens the System Restore window

    Step 2. Click Create a Restore Point and click Next.

    Step 3. Enter a descriptive name for the restore point, such as Before I installed DuzItAll Version 1.0 and click Create.

    Step 4. The computer’s current hardware and software configuration is stored as a new restore point.

Follow these steps to restore your system to an earlier condition in Vista:

    Step 1. Access the System Protection tab again, and this time click the System Restore button. This opens the System Restore window.

    Step 2. Select either Recommended Restore or Choose a Different Restore Point.

    Step 3. The Recommended Restore point will ask you to confirm. If you are choosing a different restore point, you will need to select the appropriate one and confirm.

    Step 4. The system will initiate the restore and will automatically restart.

Windows Vista also allows you to undo a system restore if it did not repair the problem.

To restore your system to an earlier condition in Windows XP, follow these steps:

    Step 1. Go to the same location you did when creating a restore point.

    Step 2. Click Restore My Computer to an Earlier Time and click Next.

    Step 3. Select a date from the calendar (dates that have restore points are in bold text).

    Step 4. Select a restore point and click Next

    Step 5. Close any open programs and save your work before you click Next to start the process; Windows will shut down and restart.

    Step 6. The system will initiate the restore and will automatically restart.

If System Restore is not available, it might be turned off. Within Windows Vista you can enable or disable System Restore on any volume from the System Properties window/System Protection tab. Simply check or uncheck any volume that you wish to enable or disable. Within Windows XP, the state of System Restore affects all drives, you can only turn the utility on and off. This is done from the System Properties window/System Restore tab. You can also change the amount of disk space it uses here.

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