How to restore Windows XP to a previous state

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


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.

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

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

How to use System Restore to restore Windows XP to a previous state
How to undo a system restoration after you perform a System Restore


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:


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:

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.

Artikelnummer: 306084 – Letzte Überarbeitung: 30.09.2013 – Revision: 1