How to Use System Restore in Windows XP


System Restore is a mechanism in the Windows XP operating system that automatically keeps track of any major changes to your computer, such as automatic security updates and installation of new software applications. System Restore creates a backup version of all the settings and files on your computer, which you can revert to in the event of a system failure. These backup versions are referred to as restore points. There are few steps that you must follow to use System Restore in Windows XP to avoid losing any unsaved data.

  • Make sure that you have adequate available space on your hard drive to use System Restore. In order to store all of the necessary data to create restore points, Windows Restore needs at least 200 MB of space on your computer's hard drive to use to operate properly. If you do not have enough open space, Windows Restore will automatically start overwriting the oldest files, which may be fine depending on your preferences for creating backup files of your data.

  • Click on the "Start" button in Windows XP to run System Restore. Select "Control Panel" from the menu, and choose "Performance and Maintenance" from the list, followed by "System." Choose "Properties" from the "System" menu, and click on the tab labeled "System Restore" to increase the amount of disk space you have reserved for System Restore. Press "OK" when you are done.

  • Try restarting your computer if you are having trouble with its operation before resorting to System Restore. Using System Restore requires resetting many of the settings on your computer and may result in losing some files that you do not have saved elsewhere, so it should only be used as a last resort. Restarting a computer that is having technical issues often solves the problem, despite how simple it might sound.

  • Run System Restore if all other troubleshooting methods are unsuccessful in repairing your computer. Click "Start" on the main Windows XP menu, and choose "All Programs," followed by "Accessories." Choose "System Tools" from the menu, and click on "System Restore."

  • Click on "Restore my computer to an earlier time," and then press "Next." You will see a calendar with dates that show when the most recent restore points were created. In most cases, you should choose the most recent date, unless for some reason there is a specific date you would like to revert your computer's settings to, such as the most recent date before you installed a program that seems to be causing your computer's issues.

  • Close all open programs on your computer, and then press "Next" to proceed with the System Restore process. Your computer will shut down on its own and will restart when the System Restore application is finished. Click "OK" when the computer reboots, and you should be able to resume using your computer as you normally would.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is helpful to remember that in Windows XP, System Restore routinely creates restore points without any effort or prompting on your part. When Windows XP is installed on a computer, the default settings are to create restore points on a daily basis.
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