Windows® XP is fairly old OS, but many people are still using it around the world, because it runs fine on slower machines, with less available memory, and almost all new versions of most software packages are still fully compatible with it. As it is well documented, and software developers have lot of experience with it, Windows ® XP applications work more reliably and less problems occur during upgrades.

Having said that, developers of malicious software also know much about XP, and you may expect to have problems with malware overwriting your system files, causing crashes and so on. Also in rare cases system software updates may cause problems of their own. In case of any newly installed software causing abnormal work, you can always return your XP to a point in time, where it worked flawlessly. The tool to achieve that is built-in, enabled by default, and is called “System restore”.

System restore points are created automatically by Windows ® XP at shutdown, when it is certain that your system was working normally. You may be tempted to disable this feature of the OS, as restore points occupy space on your system drive, but your better option is to limit the space it is using, to avoid great space loss, but still be automatically protected in case of a problem.

How to use “System restore” to return you system to previous state

  • First – remember to work as “Administrator” user, to have full system access, logon as user with administrator privileges before you begin.
  • Once you have done that, open Start menu, point to All Programs, select Accessories, point to System Tools, and then start System Restore.
  • When you are on the “Welcome to System Restore” page, click Restore my computer to an earlier time (this may be already selected), click Next.
  • On the “Select a Restore Point” page, select a restore point , created at time you are sure everything was stable, on “On this list, click a restore point” list, and then click Next.
  • On the Confirm Restore Point Selection page, click Next. After restore is complete your system will restart automatically.

Once you have restored to normal working OS, reinstall the software you need for normal work-flow. Remember that all software installed after the restoration point you have selected is removed. Also have in mind, that in extremely rare cases system restore may lead to abnormal results – mainly if some important system files have been overwritten by a virus or other malware. As the directory where restore points data are stored is very well protected this should happen only in extremely rare cases.

If everything went smoothly, your Windows® XP should be back to normal, with only few minutes lost.