- Bad Software! Sit. Stay.
- System Restore: Easy, Quick Fix
- Shadow Copy: New File Recovery Feature
- Application Repair 101: Patch or Upgrade?
- Undo a Bad Software Install: The Simple Way
- Undo a Bad Software Install: The Hard Way
- Drivers: Update or Roll 'em Back
- Windows Update: Mother of All Bug Fixers
- Troubleshooting a Software Installation
- White Window of Death
- Fix Your Email
- I Can't Receive Email
- I Can't Send Email
- Fix Your Browser
System Restore: Easy, Quick Fix
If anything goes wrong on your system, your first line of defense is to use System Restore, a feature first introduced in Windows Me.
System Restore (see Figure 9.2) was the silver lining in Windows Me and a feature that fundamentally changed the Windows troubleshooting world.
Figure 9.2 Use System Restore to roll your computer back in time to the state it was in before something nasty happened.
Simply put, System Restore is a computer time machine. With a simple click, it can transition your system back into a state that it was at during a previous point in time. What's nice is it reverts all system files, the Registry, and drivers back to the way they were on a specific day. And here's the kicker—it will uninstall any new software, including applications that have gone Howard Dean on you.
System Restore will remove any new viruses or spyware (they are software too), and it will roll back drivers. It doesn't touch your personal data, however. So, if you have received new email or created a new Word document or dumped new pictures from your digital camera, these data files remain untouched.
It would be kind of like restoring your house to the way it was before your new furniture (applications) was delivered and before the painters came through (Registry settings), although your freshly bought groceries (your personal data) in the fridge wouldn't disappear.
So this solution is for you if you want your system to be like it was yesterday or last week or last month, before a set of problems started to manifest. Here's how to use that technique:
- Be sure you are logged in as an administrator.
- Click the Windows button and type restore in the Search box.
- A shortcut to System Restore appears in the Start menu. Click it to open the utility.
- A UAC screen appears. Click Continue.
- The System Restore utility will suggest a recommended restore point, but you can also choose other restore points available on the system.
- If you choose the recommended restore point, click the Next button. You will be prompted to close any open programs and to save files you might have open. The computer will restart after you click the Finish button and will initiate the system restore.
- If you select Choose a Different Restore Point, click the Next button and a list of available restore points for the previous five days shows up (see Figure 9.3).
Figure 9.3 You can bypass the recommended restore point and browse historical restore points from the previous five days or older.
- Choose the one you want and then click Next, and you will be prompted to close any open programs and to save any files you might have open.
- When you click the Finish button, the system restore routine is initiated, and the computer reboots.
- After rebooting, your operating system is restored to the way it was at the time of the restore point without the problematic software that caused the problem in the first place.