System Restore is a Windows XP Home feature that helps you roll back your system to a previous working state in case of a problem. The best thing about this feature is that you can restore your system without affecting any user files, such as Word documents, IE History, Favorites, and emails, on your hard disk. Therefore, if your system won’t work properly and you cannot find out what the problem might be, you can choose to perform a system restore.
System Restore works by creating a restore point by periodically taking snapshots of your system files, important application files, and registry. These restore points are created automatically everyday or whenever you perform a significant change on the system, such as install an update or an application. Additionally, you can manually create restore points prior to performing any important configuration change on your system.
Note: The System Restore feature included in the XP system is different from the System Recovery feature that comes with the HP and Compaq PCs. Where the System Restore feature helps you roll back your PC to last known good configuration, the HP System Recovery feature rolls back your system to when it was initially installed with its original software.
Although the system restore feature does not affect any of your data files, it is a good practice to create a backup of your data files periodically. This way you will ensure that you do not lose a single data file in case of a failure.
By default, the System Restore feature is enabled on your computer. To verify this, right-click My Computer on your Desktop and select the Properties command. On the System Restore tab, ensure that the Turn off System Restore on all drives is clear. To disable System Restore, select the check box.
How to Work With System Restore
To create a manual restore point, run the System Restore utility by selecting the Start > All Programs > Accessories >System Tools > System Restore command. This displays the Welcome to System Restore window. In this window, select the Create a Restore Point option and select Next. Now, provide a description for your restore point and select Create. After the system has created the restore point, a message confirming the same is displayed on the screen.
If you suddenly start encountering problems with your system, then you can roll back your system to a previous condition, when you had known the system to be working properly. To restore your system, open the System Restore dialog box, select the Restore my computer to an earlier time option, and then select Next. From the displayed calendar select one of the bolded dates and select a restore point. Select Next again to confirm your restore point. Now, your PC will start restoring your system. After the restoration process is complete, the system will shutdown and then turn on again. When the restoration is complete, the Restoration Complete window is displayed. Select OK to close the window.
Your PC is now restored to a previous restore point, when you had known your system to be working. If you are still not satisfied with the system performance, try another restore point.
Note: If you want to undo restore, then, open the System Restore utility again, select Undo my last restoration, select Next, and then select OK. Finally, select Next to confirm undo restoration and revert your system to its previous configuration.
What to do After Restore
After the restoration is complete, update virus definitions of your antivirus software. Also, go to the Mirosoft Windows Update web site to download and install critical system updates on your system. Finally, if you own a HP or Compaq PC then go to the HP Website and update the software and drivers installed on your system.
Windows XP computers come equipped with a number of tools and utilities that enable you to fix your PC in case of a system failure. System Restore is one such tool that works by taking periodic snapshots of your system. In case of a system failure, you can select a restore point to roll back your system to a previous working condition.