Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Windows XP in 24 Hours

Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Windows XP in 24 Hours

By Greg Perry

Using System Restore

The System Restore system tool enables you to restore your computer system to a previous state. Perhaps you are installing a new program or a piece of hardware such as a second hard disk. If the installation goes smoothly, you won't need to revert to the original system state. If, however, a problem occurs, the Windows XP's System Restore feature enables you to return to the exact state of the computer before you performed the installation. Even better, you can undo and redo the restore process so that you can go back and forth between previous system states until you locate the one that works best or that enables you to determine the cause of any problems you might be having.

The System Restore program keeps track of all system changes you make as the result of adding hardware or software or when you change settings. When you want to restore a particular computer state, you have three ways to do so:

  1. Restore to a particular event, such as the installation of a new hard disk.
  2. Restore to a system checkpoint. Windows XP automatically saves system checkpoints throughout the day and keeps a rolling two-weeks'worth at any time. If you are unsure of an event that caused your current system problem, you can keep restoring to previous system checkpoints until your computer begins to behave normally once again.
  3. Restore to a particular date.

If you want to restore several iterations at one time, you can do so. System Restore is intelligent enough to know what not to restore, however. System Restore will not change any data files you've saved into the user's My Documents folder, which is a folder often used for data files. In addition, if System Restore runs across a data file that it recognizes, such as a database file, and that file is not inside the My Documents folder, System Restore will leave that data file alone.

The following To Do item explains how to use the System Restore program.

To Do: Using System Restore

  1. Select the Start menu's All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore option. Windows opens the System Restore program window as shown in Figure 20.11.

    Figure 20.11 Use the System Restore program to revert to a previous Windows state.

  2. Click Next to continue the restore process.
  3. System Restore displays a calendar with all possible system restore dates boldfaced. When you click one of the days, the System Restore program displays all the checkpoints performed that day, even those triggered by events such as a hardware change, in the right window.
  4. Click on a checkpoint to select it for the restore.
  5. Click Next and Windows XP begins the process. Sometimes a restore can take a few minutes to appear and you might see your computer rebooting one or more times. Eventually, your PC will resume the exact state it was in at the point of the restore's checkpoint. The only exception might be data files you've created between that point and now that will still be intact.
  1. To reverse a system restore, simply start System Restore and click the option labeled Undo My Last Restoration. Windows XP completely reverses the status of the restore you last performed. During the writing of this chapter, I accidentally selected a restore state back to the early days of my Windows XP installation. I lost all my customized system settings, my scheduled tasks, and even Microsoft Word! Frantically hoping the bugs were out of the Undo feature, I clicked the Undo option and waited. A few minutes later, my system was right back where it was supposed to be; Windows XP had restored the restore!
  2. Although Windows XP constantly monitors your computer usage and saves restore points at random intervals and every time you install and remove new hardware and software, you can always specify a restore state yourself. For example, if you're currently satisfied with your system and want to save a restore point now before you change several system settings that would otherwise be difficult to undo, start the System Restore program and select the option labeled Create a Restore Point. Click Next to assign a name for the restore point. When you then click the Create button, the System Restore program will save your system's information so that, in the future, you can return to that point.

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