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This chapter is from the book

When Bad Things Happen to Good Systems: Using System Restore

"I downloaded a screensaver from the Internet and installed it on my computer. My PC hasn't been the same since!"

Something as simple as installing a computer game can alter files on your system and unintentionally create all kinds of problems for you. Sadly, in the past the only solution seemed to be to reformat the machine's hard drive and reinstall everything from scratch.

With Windows XP's new System Restore feature, you can literally take your computer back in time to when it worked its best, and most importantly, all your data files will remain perfectly intact.

To restore your system to a previous working state, follow these steps:

  1. Launch System Restore by clicking the Start button; then choose All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore. The System Restore welcome screen appears (see Figure 3.3).

Figure 3.3Figure 3.3 A brief explanation of what System Restore does appears on the left side of the screen.

  1. Next, click the Restore my computer to an earlier time button and press the Next button.

  2. A calendar like the one shown in Figure 3.4 opens, asking you to click a date and time to which you'd like to restore your computer.

Figure 3.4Figure 3.4 Pick your day to go back in time.

  1. After you have chosen a date and time that you recall the PC working its best, click the Next button.

  2. You are then asked to verify the date and time you chose. System Restore then urges you to save and close all other documents and applications because Windows will need to reboot your system to make the desired changes. If everything appears correct onscreen, click Next.

  3. Windows restores your files and settings and then reboots itself so that all of the modifications can be made.

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