Turn Back The Hands Of Time

Travel to the past with Windows' System Restore

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Superman had to fly backward around the earth super fast to reverse time and save Lois Lane. If you’re a Windows ME or XP user, you have System Restore to bring Windows back to life–and it won’t make you work nearly that hard. In two or three minutes, a clickable wizard rolls your system back to a state when Windows was running just fine.

System Restore isn’t a backup system for your disk, it just creates “restore points,” specific dated information and data that lets it recreate the essentials of the operating environment you had at the last check point before the disaster. System Restore replaces system files, not user files, with earlier versions, so you don’t have to worry about your 10-chapter novel being rolled back to chapter three–unless it’s named like a system file. But what if you’re looking for that new device driver that trashed your system? It’s gone. The good program you installed after it? You’ll have to reinstall that, too.

Windows creates the restore points when you start XP for the first time, when you allow a Windows Update or unsigned device driver to install, before a system restoration, and during other events. But it’s wise to create them yourself with the wizard when the system you have is running well.

Here’s how to help System Restore make Windows fly backward for you:

Click Start\Programs\Accessories\ System Tools\System Restore. Choose “Create a restore point” and click Next. Type a name for the restore point, such as “First manual restore point.” The date is added for you. Click Create, then Close. Create future restore points and name them things such as, “Before installing video card from half price table.”

Do your work. Back it up. Live your life.

When it becomes necessary to restore Windows to a prior state, Click: Start\Programs\Accessories\System Tools\System Restore. Choose “Restore my computer to an earlier time.” A calendar appears. Dates that contain restore points are in bold. Choose the most recent date that would serve and click Next. After a confirmation screen and a warning to close programs, System Restore gives Windows a new lease on life.

Took out too much or too little? There is an “Undo my last restoration” option in the wizard. Use that before trying another date.