Backup Software Reviews
System Restore is a component of Windows XP that you can use to
restore your computer to a previous state, if a problem occurs,
without losing your personal data files (such as Microsoft Word
documents, browsing history, drawings, favorites, or e-mail). System
Restore monitors changes to the system and some application files, and
it automatically creates easily identified restore points.
These restore points allow you to revert the system to a previous
time. They are created daily and at the time of significant system
events (such as when an application or driver is installed). You can
also create and name your own restore points at any time.
The actual number of saved restore points depends on how much
activity there has been on your computer, the size of your hard disk
(or the partition that contains your Windows XP folder), and how much
disk space has been allocated on your computer to store System Restore
Restoring your computer to a previous state
System Restore automatically tracks changes to your computer at all
times and at specific intervals by creating restore points before
changes occur. Restore points are stored states of your computer. You
can also manually create restore points to record your computer state
and settings before you make changes to your computer. This allows you
to restore the computer to a previous state, by choosing a restore
point on a date or time prior to when you made the change.
For example, if you accidentally delete monitored program files
(such as files that have the .exe or .dll file name extensions), or
monitored program files become corrupted, you can restore your
computer to a state that existed before those changes occurred. By
default, System Restore monitors and restores all partitions and
drives on your computer. It also monitors all installations of
applications or drivers that users perform through delivery mechanisms
such as CD-ROM or floppy disk.
In some rare instances, during the restoration process System
Restore restores a folder that has the same name as an existing
folder. To avoid writing over the existing file, System Restore
renames the folder by adding a numeric suffix to the name.
Restoring your computer without losing your personal files
System Restore does not cause you to lose your personal files or
passwords. Items like documents, e-mail messages, browsing history, and
the last specified password are saved when you revert to an earlier
state with System Restore.
System Restore protects your personal files by not restoring any
files in the My Documents folder. It also does not restore any files
that use common data file name extensions, such as .doc or .xls. If
you're not sure whether your personal files use common data file name
extensions, and you do not want the data files to be affected by
System Restore, save them in the My Documents folder.
If a program was installed after the restore point that you are
restoring to was created, the program might be uninstalled as part of
the restoration process. Data files that are created with the program
are not lost. However, in order to open the files again, you must
reinstall the associated program.
Types of Restore Points
Initial System checkpoints. This restore point is created
the first time you start your computer after you upgrade it to Windows
XP or when you first start a new computer. Selecting this restore
point reverts Windows XP and programs to the state they were in at
that time. All files with data file name extensions (such as .doc,
.htm, .xls, etc.) and all files in the My Documents folder are not
restored. If System Restore must remove all old restore points to make
room for new changes, a new restore point is created and restore
points creation resumes from that time.
System checkpoints. System Restore creates restore points
on a regular basis even if you have not made any changes to the
system. System Restore automatically creates these restore points
every 24 hours of calendar time, or every 24 hours your computer is
turned on. If your computer is turned off for more than 24 hours,
System Restore creates a restore point the next time you start the
computer. The computer must be idle for a few minutes before System
Restore creates a scheduled restore point. Selecting a scheduled
restore point restores Windows XP Professional and programs to the
state they were in at that time. Any files with data file name
extensions (such as .doc, .htm, .xls, etc.) and all files in the My
Documents folder are not restored.
Program name installation restore points. When you install
a program by using the latest installers such as InstallShield and
Windows XP Installer, System Restore creates a restore point. Use
these restore points to track changes made to your system or to
restore your computer to the state it was in before you installed the
program. Selecting this restore point removes installed files and
registry settings, and restores programs and system files that were
altered by the installation. To revert the changes made by a program
that does not use one of the specified installers, select the most
recent restore point before the program was installed.
Automatic update restore points. If you use Windows XP
Professional automatic updates to receive downloaded updates, System
Restore creates a restore point before installing the updating
software. If items are downloaded, but not installed, a restore point
is not created. A restore point is created only when the components
start to install. Use these points to track changes you made to your
system or if these updates might conflict with other products on your
Manually created restore points. You can manually create
your own restore points in the System Restore Wizard. When a created
restore point is listed in the Select a restore point screen, it
includes the name you gave it and is prefaced with the day, date and
time it was created. You can create a restore point when you like the
way your computer is functioning or before you make changes on your
computer, like installing programs, that might make your computer
Restore operation restore points. Each time you perform a
restoration, it is a change made to your computer. System Restore
creates restore operation restore points to track the change and the
restoration. You can select these restore operation restore points in
the Select a restore point screen in the System Restore Wizard to undo
Unsigned device driver restore points. System Restore
immediately creates a restore point if it detects that you are
installing a driver to your computer that has not been signed or
certified by Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL). If the installation
of the driver makes undesirable changes to your computer, you can
select these restore points in the System Restore Wizard to undo the
changes and restore your computer to the state that existed before you
installed the driver.
Microsoft Backup utility recovery restore points. When you
perform a recovery using the Backup utility, System Restore
immediately creates a restore point before the process starts. If the
recovery puts your computer in an undesirable state, you can select
these restore points in the Select a restore point screen in the
System Restore Wizard to undo the changes and restore your computer to
the state that existed before you performed the recovery.
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