TUCOWS ARTICLE

How to Use System Restore in Windows XP

One of the really slick features in Windows XP, as compared to all the other versions of Windows, is the System Restore function. Some of you may shake your head and say, "What function?" I've found that many users don't find it, especially if they don't know about it.
Published: Jul 18, 2005
Author: Michael E, Callahan
This question submitted by Gary Houda, Jack Yee and numerous others One of the really slick features in Windows XP, as compared to all the other versions of Windows, is the System Restore function. Some of you may shake your head and say, "What function?" I've found that many users don't find it, especially if they don't know about it. By default it is located by clicking: Start... Programs... Accessories... System Tools When you run System Restore you get a couple of options. One is to create a restore point and another is to restore your computer to a previous time. Before I get into that I'll explain just a little bit about what System Restore does. Say you get a brand new computer. Okay, you starting putting software on it. You start putting data on it. You're downloading things and trying out programs and your system is working really well. Then, one day you install some program and suddenly your computer starts acting funny. It locks up, or you find that some settings have changed or things just don't act like they did. When that happens the first thing you should ask yourself is, "What is the last program I installed?" Why? Because that's often the cause of your problem - some conflict between the programs that had been running just fine on your computer and the one you just installed. At a time like this you may be wishing a couple of things. One might be that you hadn't installed the suspect program, but really, how could you have known. Keep in mind that it isn't necessarily the fault of any program, conflicts just happen. Another thing you might be wishing is that you could "undo" the installation. Kind of like the way you can undo things in many software programs. Well, voila, one wish granted. That's what System Restore lets you do. It lets you "undo" things you've done, or installed, on your computers. What System Restore does is make an "image" of your computer. Without getting into a lot of technical stuff, an "image" is like an exact picture of your computer. System Restore doesn't worry about the data you've put on your computer, but it does pay attention to everything else. So, when you restore your computer to an earlier time, you will NOT lose data. You won't lose text or documents you've created during that time. I point that out because many people hesitate to use System Restore because they think they will lose data. Every "picture" of your computer is called a Restore Point. Windows makes them automatically when key things happen, like installing a new device or new drivers. And you can make them yourself. For example, when I get a new computer and get all my software on it, I create a restore point. The restore point will automatically have the date and time, but it's wise to give it a title. In this example I might give it the title, "New System - All Is Well". That way, if I wanted, I could go back to that point right after everything was installed on my computer. Pretty slick. So, to recap, you can use System Restore to take your computer back to an earlier time. You can use it to create Restore Points that mean something to you. When your computer is brand new or before installing a major piece of software, and so on. You can then use these Restore Points to "undo" an action should it cause a problem. Remember, using System Restore will not eliminate your data and it's a great tool. It's saved me from some big headaches more than once. So, if you have Windows XP, give it a try. I'd like to thank Gary Houda, Jack Yee and numerous others for asking this question. If you have a question on how to do something on the computer you can submit it via e-mail by clicking HERE. You will not receive a reply, but all topics will be considered.

About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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