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How To Setup and Use System Restore in Windows 7

written by: •edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 10/11/2010

Using the Windows System Restore tool, you can save hours of pain troubleshooting problems or reinstalling Windows 7 simply by restoring your PC or laptop to an earlier state.

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    Use Restore Points to Resolve Windows Issues

    If you’re having problems with your PC or laptop following the installation of a new application, you’re probably best advised to uninstall the troublesome software and clean the registry.

    However there are other ways around this. Windows 7 provides users with a System Restore program that can resolve issues with poor performance. By setting a Restore Point before installing new applications, any that cause problems can be removed by simply winding back to a previous restore point.

    This has the effect of uninstalling both drivers and programs, however personal information will be left intact.

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    How To Setup System Restore in Windows 7

    Creating a System Restore point in Windows 7 In order to make use of this facility, you will first need to create a Restore Point. You can do this via Start > right-click Computer > Properties > System Protection > Configure….

    Depending on which disk is selected in the System Protection screen, you can select various Restore Settings and define Disk Space Usage to be used in System Protection tasks.

    Once you have set this up, click OK. On the System Protection screen, click Create… to begin the creation of a new Restore Point. Give it a name, click OK and Windows will create a new Restore Point. You will be informed if this has been created successfully or not.

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    How To Use System Restore to Resolve Errors and Undo Changes

    Find a System Restore point In order to restore Windows to a previous state, you will need to use the System Restore tool. Do this via Start > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore. You can access the same screen via Start > right-click Computer > Properties > System Protection > System Restore.

    If you have not created a manual Restore Point (some applications prompt Windows to run one as part of the installation process) then none will be recorded. Instead, click Next to proceed to the Choose a restore point screen, and choose one based on the description and date. You should check the Show affected programs and drivers button here to confirm what the wider effect of this restore will be. If you’re not happy with it, choose another option.

    If you have previously done a System Restore, you have a choice to either Undo System Restore or to Choose a different restore point. Again, click Next to proceed to a list of restore points that you wish to select from, again assessing their suitability via the Show affected programs and drivers button.

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    Finishing the Restore

    Confirming your System Restore point in Window 7 Should you find that the Show affected programs and drivers button detects unsuitable changes you can select a different Restore Point. Otherwise proceed to the Confirm your restore point screen. Here you will confirm the Time, Description and Disk of your restore, and click Finish. A dialogue box will prompt you to confirm – note that the System Restore cannot be interrupted once started.

    Your PC will reboot as part of the restore procedure, and eventually advise you if the restore job was successful or not. After that, your system will be back to the state it was before making the changes that caused the problems.