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How to Use System Restore in Windows XP

So, you want to recover your Windows XP to the way things used to be. Perhaps your 12-year-old niece decided to “update” your PC. Or maybe you added a piece of hardware that causes a conflict. No matter the cause, you can follow these steps to use System Restore in Windows XP:

  1. Save everything.

    Save all files and close all open programs before System Restore restarts your computer.

  2. From the Start button menu, choose All Programs→Accessories→System Tools→System Restore.

    The main System Restore window is displayed.

  3. Choose the option Restore My Computer to an Earlier Time.

  4. Click the Next button.

  5. Click the Next button.

  6. Choose a restore point from the cute calendar-like thing.

    The most recent date is chosen by default use it unless you already tried it and experienced problems.

  7. Click the Next button.

  8. Read the warning.

    The text warning is in Red. However, you are, good to go.

  9. Click the Next button.

    It should be named Finish because it’s the last step: System Restore restarts Windows XP.

After logging in again, wait a bit more. Eventually, a confirmation message appears explaining that Windows has been restored. You will also see a window that details what happened; click OK to close the window.

Restoring the system is also a start-up option. Choose the option Last Known Good Configuration, which is more or less the last system restore point.

Choosing an older restore point increases the likelihood that the restore won’t be successful. If possible, you can try to incrementally restore by choosing a more recent restore point and then running System Restore again with an increasingly older restore point.

When you restore to an older restore point, you remove any software and hardware updates installed in the “between time,” where some programs and certain hardware don’t work and require reinstallation after the System Restore operation is complete.

You can also perform System Restore in Safe mode. That’s a good choice, especially when the computer is unusable otherwise.

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