Using System Restore

24 February, 2015
By Joe Callison

One of the easiest ways to fix most software problems with your computer yourself is to use the built-in System Restore feature of Microsoft Windows to roll back any changes to your operating system and programs to a previous point in time when your computer was working properly. This does not affect any user-created documents, pictures, music, etc. that have been added- they will remain untouched.  The following instructions are based on Windows 7, but are similar for Windows 8 and even XP. 

An easy way to get to System Restore is to type it in the “search programs and files” box that opens just above the Start button when you click on it. System Restore should appear under Programs at the top of the list of search results that are displayed. Click on System Restore in the list and a window will open that looks like this


Click on Next and a list of possible restore points will appear with the date and time of when they were created. I have displayed one restore point below as an example:

Select a restore point with a date and time when you are sure the computer was working properly and click Next to begin the restoration process. Be patient, it takes a while to restore and your computer will need to restart. A message box will appear after restarting to let you know whether Windows succeeded in the restoration or had to revert back to the latest settings. If unsuccessful, you can repeat the process by choosing a different restore point. After a successful restoration, any program or Windows updates that had been done since the date and time of the restore point will have to be done again.

Windows creates restore points automatically when changes to programs and settings are made so that they can be easily undone if the changes cause problems. A limited number of the most recent restore points are kept, based on the amount of hard drive space you allow for them. The settings can be accessed by typing System in the “search programs and files” box and clicking on System under the heading of Control Panel in the list that appears. This window can also be found by doing a right-click with your mouse on Computer in the right pane of your Start menu to get another menu and click on Properties at the bottom of the menu list.

A window will open that looks like this:

Click on System Protection in the left pane under Control Panel Home and a window will open that looks like this:

Click on Configure and you will get the following:

The slide bar for Max Usage can be set as desired and then click OK. You should only need a very small percentage of your disk space to store several restore points unless you have a very small-capacity hard drive.

Don’t be afraid to use System Restore. It was included in Windows for you to easily be a DIY geek!

Posted by Joe Callison

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