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How To Use Windows 7 Restore Points

If your Windows 7 PC has become unstable or corrupt, here's how to retrieve happier times using a restore point.

You say you've never bothered tomanually create a restore point? No matter. You can retrieve settings from one of the many restore points that Windows 7 automatically creates for you.

Windows periodically takes a snapshot of all system settings so there's always a healthy configuration to return to.

Click Start. Select the search box and type: system restore

Hit Enter.

You have two choices. Select Recommended Restore if your problems followed a recent and major program install, infection or Registry tweak.

Restore the system to the most recent time Windows worked without problems.

If that doesn't work, go back even further to a specific time by checking Choose a Different Restore Point. Click Next.

You'll be presented with a list of previous restore points, along with a description of the action or update that triggered it. If you want still more options, check Show More Restore Points. Select one. Generally, the most recent restore point is the best choice.

Select it and Scan For Affected Programs.

Scanning affected programs shows you exactly what returning to your selected restore point will do to various programs and settings. It's important to look closely at this.

Select an acceptable restore point and click Next.

If you recently changed your system password, I recommend creating a password reset disk. When you're satisfied, click Finish.

A dialog box will pop up to ensure you really want to perform a system restore. It can’t be undone. If you're sure, click Yes. This starts your system restore.

NOTE: Don't mess with the keyboard or mouse or any attached hardware devices during this process.

The PC will restart and you'll see a series of messages while the restore completes. As always, your mileage will vary.

After the restore completes, log back into your account.

Once the desktop loads up, you'll see a message like this.

System restore is an important part of maintaining your Windows PC. If something goes awry with your system, doing a restore is a key troubleshooting tool.

Brian Burgess is the executive editor at BYTE. Follow him @mysticgeek. Got a comment or idea? Send it to him at

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