Using System Restore

Every time you download or install a application, new game, or software update, you make changes to your computer. Sometimes that change may make your system unstable. Have you ever wanted to go back to the way it was? With System Restore, you can.

System Restore works a lot like the Undo command in Microsoft Word. You can use System Restore to remove any system changes that were made since the last time you remember your computer working correctly. System Restore does not affect your personal data files (such as Microsoft Word documents, browsing history, drawings, favorites, or e-mail) so you won't lose changes made to these files.

How does System restore work?

Windows periodically records a snapshot of your computer. These snapshots are called restore points. Windows also creates restore points at the time of significant system events (such as when an application or driver is installed) or you can create and name your own restore points at any time. If you've installed a program that has made your computer unstable, you can open system restore, choose a restore point, and return your computer to its previous stable state.

When you run System Restore, a calendar is displayed to help you find restore points. If you don't use your computer every day, some days might not have any restore points. If you use your computer frequently, you might have restore points almost every day, and some days might have several restore points.

Use System Restore to undo changes you've made to your computer

Before you open the System Restore console, you may want to save your work and close all programs since System Restore requires you to restart your computer.

There are many ways to access System Restore, such as through Help and Support or through your All Programs folder.

Through Help and Support:

1. Click Start Help and Support.

2. Under Pick a Task, click Undo changes to your computer with System Restore.

3. Follow the instructions on the wizard.

Through the All Programs menu:

1. Click Start All Programs Accessories System Tools System Restore.

2. Follow the instructions on the wizard.

Creating a restore point can be useful any time you anticipate making changes to your computer that are risky or might make your computer unstable. If something goes wrong, you select the restore point you just created and Windows undoes any system changes made since that time.

How to create restore point

1. Open System Restore (as above).

2. Click Create a restore point, and then click Next.

3. Type a description then click "Create".

How to restore your system using System Restore

1. Open System Restore.

2. Click Restore my computer to an earlier time, and then click Next.

3. Select a Restore Point screen shows with a calendar displaying in bold all of the dates that have restore points available. Choose the most recent exact date you want. The list shows the restore points that are available for the selected date. Click "Next".

4. Confirm by clicking "Next".

Note: System Restore does not replace the process of uninstalling a program. To completely remove the files installed by a program, you must remove the program using Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel or the program's own uninstall program. See "Remove a program".