Network Troubleshooting: System Restore - dummies

Network Troubleshooting: System Restore

By Doug Lowe

System Restore is a Windows feature that periodically saves important Windows configuration information and allows you to later return your system to a previously saved configuration. This can often fix problems by reverting your computer to a time when it was working.

By default, Windows saves restore points whenever you install new software on your computer or apply a system update. Restore points are also saved automatically every seven days.

Although System Restore is turned on by default, you should verify that System Restore is active and running to make sure that System Restore points are being created. To do that, right-click Computer from the Start menu, choose Properties, and then click the System Protection tab.

The dialog box shown is displayed. Verify that the Protection status for your computer’s C: drive is On. If it isn’t, select the C: drive and click the Configure button to configure System Restore for the drive.


If your computer develops a problem, you can restore it to a previously saved restore point by clicking the System Protection tab. This brings up the System Restore Wizard. This wizard allows you to select the restore point you want to use.


Here are a few additional thoughts to remember about System Restore:

  • System Restore does not delete data files from your system. Thus, files in your Documents folder won’t be lost.

  • System Restore does remove any applications or system updates you’ve installed since the restore point was made. Thus, you need to reinstall those applications or system updates — unless, of course, you determine that an application or system update was the cause of your problem in the first place.

  • System Restore automatically restarts your computer. The restart may be slow because some of the changes made by System Restore happen after the restart.

  • Do not turn off or cut power to your computer during System Restore. Doing so may leave your computer in an unrecoverable state.