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More Great Ways to Speed up Vista: Perform a System Restore

written by: Dianna Monda Dill•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/12/2009

Learn how to use Vista's system restore utility to troubleshoot your PC if it is unresponsive or frozen.

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    It might happen after you download a program or install some hardware or update a device driver, and suddenly your computer becomes unresponsive and unstable. You can use Vista’s System Restore utility to undo the system changes and “restore” your computer back to the state it was in before the installation. Here’s how to use this utility to restore your PC to a previously working state.

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    Tip #11: Perform a System Restore

    • Close all open documents and then Log in Windows as Administrator. (If you are unable to log into Windows, then skip to the next section below).
    • Click on the Vista Orb to open the Start menu. Select All Programs and then click on Accessories.
    • Click on System Tools and then click the System Restore icon.
    • Provide a password or confirmation if prompted to by the User Account Control. This opens the System Restore window
    • Select one of the two options provided:
      • Recommended Restore: Restores your PC back to the most recent restore point, which is the state right before any system change such as the last program you installed. This option will launch the restoration process automatically.
      • Choose a Different Restore Point: Allows you to select the specific restore point to which you want your computer restored to. Pick your desired restore point and click Next. Confirm the restore point you selected and click Next. Click Yes on the second confirmation screen. This launches the restoration process.
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    • Reboot your computer when prompted to complete the restore process and rollback your computer to your desired restore point.
    • Once the system restore process has been completed, your PC will restart and boot back into Vista, restored to a previously working state.

    Quick Tip

    When you perform a system restore, your personal data files and data will not be affected in any way. Only your Windows program, registry, and system files will be altered.

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    How to Perform a System Restore if You Can’t Boot into Windows

    If your system is completely frozen and you cannot log into Windows, you can perform a system restore via your Vista Installation DVD.

    1. Insert your installation DVD into the DVD drive and follow the prompts.
    2. Click on Repair your computer and then select System Restore. Click Next.
    3. Select the drive you have Vista is installed on. Click Next.
    4. Pick a restore point for a time that you knew Vista was running normally. Click Next.
    5. Press the Finish button and the click Yes to launch the restore process.
    6. Press the Restart button when prompted to.