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How Device Driver Rollback Works

Windows XP is significantly different at the kernel level from Windows NT and Windows 2000, with one of the most practical aspects of the change being the introduction of a System Restore component in the broader operating system design. System Restore includes tools for managing the restoring of device drivers, tracking of application and data file changes, and actively managing system-level files for changes. This approach to file validation over time is comparable to the approaches taken by Sun Microsystems and others on their tracking of system- and application-level resources. With the addition of the System Restore functionality at the kernel level of Windows XP, Microsoft brings UNIX-like reliability to the desktop. What's significant about this development is that Microsoft has long labored with a reputation for spotty performance on reliability at the desktop operating system level. Within Windows XP, there are functionalities and even graphical planning tools that provide a UNIX administrator-like feel to this new operating system. Figure 1 shows the calendar-like interface for doing system-wide device driver rollbacks. The selecting System Restore at the present time can only be used on systems running the NTFS file system. The first glimmerings of this were in Windows NT and later Windows 2000 as the FlexBoot feature of being able to boot into any one of several operating systems at a given time.

Figure 1 Using the System Administration Tools in Windows XP via its calendar-like interface.

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