How to Use System Restore in Windows XP - dummies

By Dan Gookin

So, you want to recover your Windows PC to the way things used to be. Perhaps your 13-year-old nephew decided to trick out 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. 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.

  6. Click the Next button.

  7. Read the warning.

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

  8. Click the Next button.

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

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 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.

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