How to Use System Restore in Windows 7 and Vista - dummies

How to Use System Restore in Windows 7 and Vista

By Dan Gookin

If you did a driver or hardware update and now it conflicts with something already in your computer, you will want to recover your PC to the way things were. Follow these steps to use System Restore in Windows 7 and Windows Vista:

  1. Save all your files.

    System Restore operation restarts the computer. Save your files then close your programs. Do it now.

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

  3. In Windows Vista, click the Continue button or type the administrator’s password.

    System Restore’s main window appears. That is, unless you’ve recently restored the system, in which case you see an option to undo the System Restore.

  4. Click the Next button.

    A list of recent restore points appears. The most recent restore point is selected, which is most likely the one you want. If you don’t see recent restore points and instead see another screen, choose the Recommended Restore option.


  5. Click the Next button.

    A screen detailing which hard drives to restore is shown. The one you need is most likely already selected.

  6. Click the Next button.

    You may not have a second Next button, in which case you just:

  7. Click the Finish button.

  8. Click Yes to restart Windows.

    Wait while Windows restarts.

After you log in again, you need to wait a bit more. Eventually, you see a confirmation message explaining that Windows has been restored: You see (after a seemingly endless amount of time) a dialog box explaining how the System Restore operation went; click the Close button.

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.

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