If your Windows XP system starts acting strange, a typical fix is to use System Restore to remove any system changes made since the last time you created a Restore Point. System Restore is a tool that automatically monitors and records any changes that are made to the core Windows system files and to the registry. If any change causes your system to become unstable, System Restore can roll back the system to a point in time when your computer was known to function correctly.

For System Restore to work it is important that you have previous Restore Points on your computer. If you do not have Restore Points then it wouldn’t be possible for you to Rollback the computer to any previous date.

How to start system restore?

Typically System restore can be access by going to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System tools -> System restore, but what if the situation is so bad that the Graphical Interface of XP is not even loading up and you are not reaching the desktop to work upon. In such cases you mat try booting the system in Safe Mode with Command prompt and execute the System Restore utility. Steps for doing the same ate given below:

  1. Start the computer and start tapping the F8 key. This will give you a list of Advance Boot up options and you need to select “Safe Mode with Command Prompt”.
  2. Login as Administrator when prompted.
  3. Once you reach the Command Prompt execute the following command:%systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe

This will initiate the System Restore utility and further just follow the instructions over there to roll back your computer to an earlier date.

Some other facts about System restore.

How to Enable/Disable system Restore?

Open the System window by going to Control Panel and opening System. In the System window click on the System Restore tab. On this tab there is a checkbox for Turning ON or OFF the System Restore.

How to create Restore Points?

Open the System Restore Window from Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System tools -> System restore. Select “Create a Restore Point”.

What all is restored by System Restore?

System Restore keeps track of the following and this is what gets restored when we restore the computer to an earlier date:1. Windows Registry2. Local Profiles3. COM + DB4. WFP.DLL Cache5. WMI DB6. IIS Metabase

What is not restored by System Restore?

  1. DRM Settings
  2. Passwords in SAM Hive
  3. WPA Settings
  4. User created files
  5. Items listed in the following keys in the Registry
  • HKLM\System\Controlset001\Control\Backuprestore\Filesnottobackup
  • HKLM\System\Controlset001\Control\Backuprestore\Keysnottorestore

6. Contents of Redirected folders



How to control the disk space used by System Restore?

Open the System window by going to Control Panel and opening System. In the System window click on the System Restore tab. select the drive and click on settings. There you will get a slider to set the size allocated to system restore for keeping the restore files.

Can System Restore be used in place of Windows Backup Utility?

System Restore only monitors specific system and application files. It does not backup personal data. Restore Points are only keptfor 90 days by Windows and then automatically deleted by default. Windows Backup Utility on the other hand is a permanent backup tool that backs up all of your system and personal files on your system. It gives you ability to save this backup copy to a local disk or to a separate form of media where it can be drawn from at any time.