Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About System Restore
But Were Afraid To Ask
- This tip applies to Windows ME and Windows XP (all versions)

System Restore is a feature in Windows XP (and in Windows ME) that can save you a lot of headaches. It's really not difficult to understand the concept or to use it. You can access system restore in Windows XP by clicking Start -->All Programs-->Accessories--->System Tools-->System Restore. When system restore appears you'll be given three options. "Restore my computer to an earlier time" ,"Create a restore point" , "Undo my last restoration".

1. If you choose "Restore my computer to an earlier time" you'll be shown a calendar with dates highlighted that you can choose from. When you choose a date you're telling Windows to revert your computer to the state it was in on that date. Today, for example, we'll say is December 17, 2006 (It might not be -OK? But for the purposes of this article, it is!) Let's say yesterday you installed "Joe's Hotdog Machine - Graphics for the Hotdog" program and since then you've had nothing but problems. So you open System Restore, go back to a date before you installed "Joe's Hotdog Machine" and restore your computer to the state it was in before you installed that program. You would choose December 14, 2006 from the System Restore calendar (although you could go back further if you chose to do so). It's important to remember that restoring your computer to an earlier time is not a complete restore to an earlier time. Any documents you created or email you have received, photos you stored, etc. will not be erased. But any programs you've installed, system configuration changes you've made, or settings changes you made will be lost - and that's the purpose - to revert back to a time before you installed a program or made a settings change that adversely affected your computer. You can go back to a time when your computer worked well.

2. If you choose "Create a restore point" you will create a restore point at that instant. This is a great feature if you're about to install a major software application like an anti-virus or firewall. Create a restore point just before you install any major new software and if something goes wrong you can easily revert back to the restore point you created. This has been a life-saver for us many times.

3. If you choose "Undo my last restoration" you will have the option to undo a system restore that you've completed. You would only use this option if running a system restore made your computer worse than it was before the system restore process.

To learn what System Restore actually "backs up" please click here.

 


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