Create a Restore Point in Windows 7

Many of the more serious problems encountered by computer users can be directly attributed to system files. These files include the Windows Registry, DLL files and device drivers. These files are often changed when new programs are installed, or they can become corrupted by unexpected power outages, electrical spikes, or a number of other ways. When these files become corrupted, damaged, or otherwise made incompatible with other system files, your computer could exhibit all manner of unexpected and perplexing problems: from shutting down without warning, to not being able to run certain programs or completely locking up. When unexpected things begin to happen, a Windows restore point often represents the best way to get your computer running normally again.

A Snapshot of your System Files

A Windows restore point is essentially a snapshot of your computer’s system files and settings at a given moment in time, allowing those files to be restored to the exact state they were in at that moment, when the computer was working correctly. Windows 7 automatically creates restore points on a daily basis and before any major system updates are performed by Windows Update. Relying on these automatically created restore points is risky, however, as there are several things that can prevent these automatic restore points from being created: because the computer was in use or on battery power at midnight for instance. Additionally, because Windows does not automatically create restore points prior to the installation of new software programs or hardware, which is one of the most likely ways to encounter serious problems with your computer, it is highly recommended that you manually create a restore point before making any installations or major changes to your computer system.

Manually creating restore points is quick and easy, and the time and effort that it will save, should a problem be encountered, makes it very much worth the trouble.

Create a Restore Point

1. Close all running programs.
2. Click on the Start button, right-click on Computer and click Properties. This will bring up the System Control Panel.
3. In the upper left-hand area of the System Control Panel click System protection. This will take you to the System Protection tab of the System Properties window.
4. Click the Create button and name the new restore point.
5. Click the Create button.
6. You will now see a window that says “Creating a restore point…”. Wait for it to finish and you will see the following message: “The restore point was created successfully”.
7. Click OK.

That’s all there is to it.

Some other things to note

• System restore only works on hard disks which have been formatted with the NTFS file system. It will not work with FAT32 drives. If you are unsure which file system your computer has, you can simply open Windows Explorer, right-click on the C: drive, and click Properties. Near the top of the resulting window will be a line that says File system: which should be followed by “NTFS”.

• Restoring your computer using system restore will not recover deleted personal files such as email, pictures or documents. To recover deleted or corrupted personal files, you should use a backup program such as Windows Backup.

• If you have just installed a new program and your computer is behaving unexpectedly, always attempt to uninstall that program prior to using system restore.

• The above procedure for creating restore points is exactly the same for Windows Vista, although there may be some slight variations in the text displayed. Earlier Windows operating systems will require different steps.

• Restore points created in earlier versions of the Windows operating system, such as XP, cannot be used on computers after they have been upgraded to Windows 7.

If the Manual Restore Point Creation Should Fail

In the unlikely event that the manual restore point creation should fail, as would be noted by an error message stating that the restore point could not be created, the most likely cause would be that system protection is turned off.

To check that system protection is turned on, follow the first three steps listed above in the “To Create a Restore Point” section. This will return you to the System Protection tab of the System Properties window. In the middle of this window you will see a “Protection Settings” table with two columns: “Available Drives” and “Protection”. Look through the “Available Drives” column until you see the row that has the word “(System)” following the drive letter (normally C:). Check to ensure that the Protection column is “On” for that row. If it is not, then click on the Configure button on the current window, bringing up the “System Protection for ‘Drive Name’ C:” window. At the top of this window, click on the button to select Restore system settings and previous versions of files, then click on OK and return to the above steps to create your restore point.

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