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Step by Step Tutorial for System Restore or Reformat

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 7/19/2010

Doing a system restore or a reformat of the hard drive on an Acer system is simple, as long as you have the materials at hand.

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    You have bought this Acer system and something has gone wrong. Either a virus or spyware or something else has affected your computer to the point where it's nearly unusable. There are two options to rectify the solution - either a system restore or a reformat.

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    What's the Difference?

    A system restore allows for a user to go back a day, week, month, or even a year to when their computer was in working order. The way system restore works is when a program, driver, or update is installed on your computer, the system makes a restore point; like marking a time and place when something happened. The restore point takes the current information and settings for the system, at that day and time that the installation occurs. Think of it like taking a snapshot of what was going on at the time.

    System restore is a good device to use in case the computer begins to act strangely. If for some reason you can't uninstall a program or perhaps a virus just entered, you can use system restore to go back to an earlier date in time, like the day before you downloaded that item you shouldn't have. System Restore is not and should not be used as a backup tool; for example, you can't go back to retrieve something you deleted from the recycle bin. System Restore, by default, is turned on in Windows and will make restore points if a program or update is installed. You can also make your own restore points.

    A reformat, on the other hand, allows a user to go back to the very beginning, when their computer was good as new. A reformat basically erases everything on the hard drive and brings it back to the original manufacturer state as it was before purchase. There are times when a reformat is a good idea - such as when a virus has taken a hold of your computer. Having a backup of your computer before the virus ensures that, should you go this route, your files and programs will be returned as they were.

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    Which to Choose?

    When faced with a problem for your Acer, you may ask, which should I choose? The first option should be to try and do a system restore to an earlier time period. To do a System Restore - acer logo 

    Window XP Users -

    • Go to the Start menu and click All Programs.
    • When the list loads, go to the Accessories folder.
    • Within this folder, look for the System Tools folder.
    • In System Tools, click System Restore.

    Vista/Windows 7 users - From the start menu, type in System Restore.

    You'll be presented with the System Restore program. On the left hand side, there's information about what System Restore is and what it does; on the right, are the options to restore the computer to an earlier time or to create a new restore point. Choosing to restore the computer, click next. You are then presented with the list of all current restore points. From here, you just need to choose which one you'd like. Follow the instructions to bring the computer back to that point.

    Sometimes, system restore doesn't work. Perhaps you don't have any recent restore points or the virus on your computer won't allow you to get to system restore. That's when a system reformat may be needed. Check out our guide on how to reformat your computer. Make sure that you have your system disc with you. This disc is usually in the items that came with the computer when you purchased it; this disc will bring your computer back to the manufacturer's settings before purchase.

    You also have the option of installing another operating system on the computer, but bear in mind that some of your programs may not work on this system. Mac operating systems can not be installed on Windows computers, though the reverse is true. Linux OSs can be installed, but again, some programs may not work with this new OS. The same is true if upgrading from one Windows OS to another.