System restore utility in Windows XP works by taking snapshots of crucial system files, program files and registry settings and storing this information as restore points. If for some reason the computer is not working properly, the system can be reset to a previous state using these restore points, at which the system still functioned normally. Although a system restore could change some scripts, batch files and other types of EXE files, complete uninstallation of programs are not possible via system restoration.

Personal Files are not Affected

Its much more easier to understand the process of system restoration by exploring what exactly does it NOT do. For example restoring the system using System restore does not affect personal files and folders. Any changes made to files such as Word documents, e-mails, drawings, browsing history, downloaded files and favorites are all excluded from the reset of a System Restore.

On the same breath, deleted files cannot be recovered by a System Restore. The only hope for a deleted file is an appropriate back up of the same file. System restore of Windows XP and other Windows versions work with certain system files and registry files only.

System restore methods

System restore in Windows XP can be initiated from within the accessories menu as well as via the command prompt. ‘System restore’ option is found within ‘System tools’ under ‘Accessories’ in ‘Program Files’ pull out menu , which can be accessed by pressing the ‘Start’ button in Windows XP. then the user will be prompted with a calendar page that displays available most recent restore points. Rest of the procedure is as simple as just selecting the restore point from the list and clicking few links.

System restore can also be done via the command line interface in Windows XP. To access the command prompt all it takes is to press ‘Start’; ‘Run’ and enter ‘cmd’ in the dialog box. However the actual operation of a system restore in command prompt is suitable only for advanced users, since the execution of system restore commands in normal GUI interface of Windows XP is not only much more straightforward but also saves from lot of hassles.

Reverse A System Restoration

A system restoration may need to be reversed for various reasons. For example if the system has been restored to a system configuration on the contrary to what the user actually requires, unintentionally perhaps, the process may need to be reversed. In this case a reverse of the last system restore is possible via the same menu options. This will reverse only whatever the configuration changes effected by the particular system restore.

Windows XP’s system restore utility is a quite useful tool in case of remedying minor system problems and instability issues. However using system restore tools quite often and as a first line of troubleshooting process for each and every system issue can actually backfire and possibly create instability problems within the system. So system restore in Windows XP has to be used only at crucial situations according to the issue in hand.