Article ID: 2534454 - View products that this article applies to.

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 web page: Support is ending for some versions of Windows

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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 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.

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

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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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How to use System Restore to restore Windows XP to a previous state

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How to undo a system restoration after you perform a System Restore

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If these methods did not work for you, you can use the Microsoft Customer Support Services Web site to find other solutions to your problem. Some services that the Microsoft Customer Support Services Web sites 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:


For additional 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 from a command prompt in Windows XP
For additional information about System Restore,
  1. Click Start.
  2. Click Help and Support.
  3. Type system restore in the Search box, and then press ENTER.


Article ID: 2534454 - Last Review: November 21, 2012 - Revision: 3.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
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