How to set a system restore point in Windows XP

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Article ID: 948247 - View products that this article applies to.
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INTRODUCTION

Sometimes, a new program can make your computer behave unpredictably, and uninstalling the program does not help. Windows XP has a feature known as System Restore that can help. You can use System Restore to select a time when your computer is working as you want. This is known as a system restore point. Then, if something goes wrong with your computer, you can use the system restore point to restore your computer back to when it was working. When you restore your computer, you will not lose any recent work, such as documents and e-mail. This article describes a brief step-by-step method that is easy to follow for setting up a system restore point in Windows XP.

The following self-help steps are for beginning computer users.

Set a system restore point by using System Restore

Setting a restore point lets you select a point in time when your computer is working as you want. Then, you can use the restore point to undo any unwanted changes to your computer in the future.

This method is rated: Easy.

To set up a restore point, follow these steps:
  1. Close any programs that are open.
  2. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click System Restore. The System Restore Wizard opens.

    Note If the System Restore Wizard does not open, the System Restore feature may be turned off. To turn System Restore on, see the "More Information" section in this article.
  3. Click Create a restore point, and then click Next.
  4. In Restore point description box, type a description for the restore point. Use a description that is easy to understand. If you are creating a restore point before you install specific software or hardware, you could use that information in the description.

    Note The date and time are automatically added to your restore point. Therefore, you do not have to use them in your description.
  5. Do one of the following:
    • To finish creating this restore point, click the Create button. The System Restore Wizard notifies you when the restore point is created.
    • To stop creating a restore point and to return to the Welcome to System Restore page, click the Back button.
    • To stop creating a restore point and to exit the System Restore Wizard, click the Cancel button.
  6. When you are finished, click the Close button.
Congratulations! You have successfully created a restore point, and you are finished.

Notes
  • Windows XP automatically creates system restore points every day. Typically, it creates restore points before a program or a hardware device is installed.
  • If you install a program, but then later you use a restore point that was created before you installed that program, the program will no longer work. If you want to use the program again, you must reinstall it.
  • System Restore differs from uninstalling a program. To completely remove a program, you must remove the program by using Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel or by using the program's own uninstall program. For more information, search for the help topic "Change or remove a program" in Windows XP Help and Support.

Restore point verification

To view the restore point, repeat step 2. Then, in the Welcome to System Restore page of the System Restore Wizard, select Restore my computer to an earlier time, and then click Next. Then select the date when the restore point was created from the calendar on the Select a Restore Point page. All the restore points that were created on the selected date are listed by name in the list box on the right side of the calendar.

If this method worked

If the system restore point is created, you are finished!

If this method did not work

If the system restore point was not created, unfortunately this content is unable to help you any further. So, your next step is to try advanced troubleshooting. If you must use advanced troubleshooting and if you are not an advanced user, you might want to ask someone for help, or you might want to contact Support.

Advanced Troubleshooting

If you are not comfortable with advanced troubleshooting, you might want to contact support for Windows XP. For information about how to contact support, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/
For more information about advanced system restore point troubleshooting, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
295299 How to use the System Restore Utility with Windows Management Instrumentation in Windows XP
307545 How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting

MORE INFORMATION

To create a restore point, the System Restore feature must be turned on. By default, System Restore is turned on in Windows XP. System Restore can be turned off in Windows XP Professional only.

To turn on System Restore, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.
  2. Click the System Restore tab.
  3. Make sure that the Turn off System Restore check box is not selected. Or, make sure that the Turn off System Restore on all drives check box is not selected.
  4. Click OK.

Properties

Article ID: 948247 - Last Review: February 6, 2008 - Revision: 1.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Keywords: 
kbresolve kbexpertisebeginner kbhowto KB948247

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