Article ID: 306084 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q306084

To continue receiving security updates for Windows, make sure you're running Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3). For more information, refer to this Microsoft webpage: Support is ending for some versions of Windows

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INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to use the System Restore tool to return your computer to a previous state. System Restore takes "snapshots" of critical system files and some program files and registry settings, and then it stores this information as restore points. If your computer is not functioning correctly, you can use these restore points to return Windows XP to a previous state when your computer was functioning correctly. It can also change scripts, batch files, and other kinds of executable files on your computer.

This article is for a beginning to intermediate computer user.

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Note System Restore does not affect personal files, such as email messages, documents, or photos. You can only restore files that you have deleted if you have made backups of those files.

More information

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Note To perform the System Restore, you must be logged on to Windows as an administrator. If your computer is part of a network, you might have to ask the system administrator for help.

To verify that you are logged on to Windows as an administrator, follow these steps
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  1. Open the Date and Time dialog box.
    1. Click Start, and then click Run.
    2. Type the following command in the Run dialog box, and then click OK:
      timedate.cpl  (The screen shot for this step is listed below).

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      The screen shot for this step
  2. Use one of the appropriate steps, depending on the result.
    • If the Date and Time Properties dialog box appears, you are already logged on as an administrator. Click Cancel to close the Date and TimeProperties dialog box. (The screen shot for this step is listed below).

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      The screen shot for this step
    • If you receive the following message, you are not logged on as an administrator. (The screen shot for this step is listed below).

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      The screen shot for this step
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How to use System Restore to restore Windows XP to a previous state

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To use System Restore to restore Windows XP to a previous state, follow these steps:
  1. Log on to Windows as an administrator.
  2. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click System Restore. (The screen shot for this step is listed below).

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    The screen shot for this step
  3. On the Welcome to System Restore page, click to select the Restore my computer to an earlier time option, and then click Next. (The screen shot for this step is listed below).

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    The screen shot for this step
  4. On the Select a Restore Point page, click the most recent system restore point in the On this list, click a restore point list, and then click Next.
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    Note A System Restore message may appear that lists configuration changes that System Restore will make. Click OK. (The screen shot for this step is listed below).

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    The screen shot for this step
  5. On the Confirm Restore Point Selection page, click Next. System Restore restores the previous Windows XP configuration, and then restarts the computer.
  6. Log on to the computer as an administrator. Then, click OK on the System Restore Restoration Complete page. (The screen shot for this step is listed below).

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    The screen shot for this step
If you successfully restored your computer to a previous state and the computer runs as expected, you are finished.


If the restore process completed successfully but the computer does not run as expected, go to the "How to undo a system restoration after you perform a System Restore" section. If you received an error message, and the restore process was not completed, or if you cannot run System Restore, go to the "Next Steps" section.
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How to undo a system restoration after you perform a System Restore

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You may have unintentionally restored Windows XP to a previous configuration that you do not want. To undo the restoration, follow these steps:
  1. Log on to Windows as an administrator.
  2. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click System Restore. (The screen shot for this step is listed below).

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    The screen shot for this step
  3. On the Welcome to System Restore page, click to select the Undo my last restoration option, and then click Next.
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    Note A System Restore message may appear that lists configuration changes that System Restore will make. Click OK. (The screen shot for this step is listed below).

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    The screen shot for this step
  4. On the Confirm Restoration Undo page, click Next. System Restore restores the original Windows XP configuration and then restarts the computer.
  5. Log on to the computer as an administrator. The System Restore Undo Complete page appears. (The screen shot for this step is listed below).

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    The screen shot for this step
  6. Click OK. You can now run System Restore again from a different restore point.
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NEXT STEPS

If these methods did not work for you, you can use the Microsoft Customer Support Services website to find other solutions to your problem. Services that the Microsoft Customer Support Services websites provide include the following:
  • Searchable Knowledge Base: Search technical support information and self-help tools for Microsoft products.
  • Solution Centers: View product-specific frequently asked questions and support highlights.
  • Other Support Options: Use the web to ask a question, contact Microsoft Customer Support Services, or provide feedback.
If you continue to have problems, you might want to contact Support:

References

For more information about steps to take if the System Restore tool in Windows XP does not start, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
304449 How to start the System Restore tool by using the safe mode option with the Command prompt in Windows XP
For more information about System Restore, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start.
  2. Click Help and Support.
  3. Type system restore in the Search box, and then press Enter.

Properties

Article ID: 306084 - Last Review: September 30, 2013 - Revision: 17.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Keywords: 
kbenv kbhowtomaster kbcip KB306084

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