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How to Use Windows Vista System Restore?

written by: Dianna Monda Dill•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 6/15/2009

Windows Vista System Restore is a powerful utility that enables you to literally "restore" your computer to the exact same state as it was at a prior point in time. It is especially useful for troubleshooting your system. This Windows tutorial show you how to perform a Windows Vista System Restore.

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    The Windows Vista System Restore Utility

    Windows Vista System Restore is designed to roll back your computer system to the specific state it was at a previous point in time. If you chose to, you could even restore the computer to its original configuration at the time that it shipped brand new from the factory.

    When you perform a Windows Vista System Restore, the process will undo registry, dll and system changes, while leaving all your data and documents untouched. The System Restore utility is especially useful for troubleshooting, particularly after installing a new driver, programs or a system update. It may also be used in getting rid of viruses, Trojans and other malware.

    System Restore will automatically create a restore point each time you install a new driver or program, or when you perform a system update. In effect, it backs up your system and registry files exactly as they are before the installation or update is done. You also have the option to manually create system restore points of your own. The utility can also be configured to automatically create restore points at specified intervals.

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    How to Perform a Windows Vista System Restore

    Step #1

    Click on the Start button on the bottom-left of your desktop. Click on All Programs in the Start menu. Find and click on "Accessories."

    Step #2

    In the Accessories menu, hover your mouse over System Tools and then click System Restore. Click Yes when you get a User Account Control prompt to confirm that you want to continue.

    Step #3

    The System Restore window will now appear, presenting you with two options:

    =>> Recommended Restore

    This option takes your computer back to its most recent system change. It is recommended because it restores your PC to its most recent state, that is, the state right before you installed a new program. This is especially helpful in diagnosing a problem. Selecting this option automatically launches the restoration process.

    =>> Choose a Different Restore Point.

    This option enables you to manually select the specific restore point that you want your PC restored to. Once you choose a restore point, click on Next to proceed. On the next screen, confirm your selected restore point and then click Next. This brings you to a second confirmation screen. Simply click Yes to proceed. This launches the restoration process.

    Step #4

    Reboot your computer to rollback your system to your selected restore point.

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    If you get an error message during the restore process, then perform the system restore from Safe Mode. You can get in to safe mode by rebooting your PC and tapping the F8 key just before Windows starts up.