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Step-By-Step Tutorial: Windows Basics For The First Time User
Part 2:C – Maintaining Your Computer - System Restore

By Patricia Ouellette

In our February Issue we learned about Disk Clean Up. Now we are taking our maintenance one step further by looking at System Restore for Windows XP. This can be a real lifesaver at times. When you start having an unusually high frequency of errors and faults you may choose to restore your system. If you have had a virus infection you may choose to restore your system. Or if you loaded a program that will not uninstall completely, you may choose to restore.

You should always make sure that you have backed up your files before restoring your system. You could very well loose some of your most recent work if you do not have it backed up. It shouldn’t happen, but it is possible. System Restore is only supposed to restore system operational and registry files, not documents or data files. Just remember, the most unlikely or what is not supposed to happen, invariably does if you are not prepared.

System Restore needs to be turned on in order for it to be used. In some cases it will not be active when you install Windows XP or purchased your computer. So take some time to check to make sure that it has been activated or turned on.

Where Can I find System Restore?

System Restore can be found by following this path:

Start – All Programs (Program Files) – Accessories – System Tools – System Restore

If your System Restore is not activated or turned on you will get the Settings window up. The System Restore section should be visible, however if it isn’t, look at the tabs along the top of the window and click on the "System Restore" tab.

To turn System Restore on, place a check mark in the box that says "Turn On System Restore On All Drives," click apply at the bottom of the screen, close and then reopen to set a restore point.

When you reopen System Restore you will be in the "Welcome To System Restore" screen.

Setting A Restore Point

You need to set a restore point to be able to restore your system whenever you need to. It is as easy as following the directions on the screen.

Left click once on "Create a Restore Point." Then click "next" below.
Type in a description (e.g. date or post software ? install)
Click on "Create" – a notice will appear on the next screen with the date and description for the restore point you just created.
Click on "close."

Restoring Your System

Important Notice: Be sure you have no programs open or operating before you commence doing a system restore.

Once you have the Welcome to System Restore screen open:

Left click on "Restore My Computer To An Earlier Time." Click "Next" below.
The last Restore Point will be highlighted on the calendar to the left of the screen or listed on the right. Click on one and then "Next."
A confirmation is requested before the Restore will go ahead. Be sure you follow the directions in red on the screen.
Check that you do not have any programs running. Click "Next."
Your system will now restore to the selected restore point. Your computer will automatically shutdown and restart. This process can take a few minutes so sit back and be patient. Once your computer restarts you can go ahead and use it as normal.

Turn Off System Restore

Again you will need to go to the "Welcome To System Restore" screen. On the left at the bottom you will see "System Settings." Click on this and you should be on the system restore screen. If not, look across the tabs at the top and click on "System Restore."

Place a check mark in the box, which states "Turn Off System Restore On All Drives." Click "Apply" at the bottom of the screen and close.

Sometimes it is a good idea to turn off the system restore if you are loading software. I usually do this only if I come across difficulties in installation. There are times that Windows XP will recover the system when loading a program. Windows ME is renowned for this behavior. I have no idea why it does it, I only know it does. In this case I do turn off the system restore, load the software and then turn it back on and set a restore point.

I realize this can be a little confusing, but don’t panic or worry about it. Just be sure that you back up your files and you should be perfectly ok.

Next month we will be covering the all-important issue of "Backing Up" our precious files.
Trish Ouellette is a wife and step-mother of seven glorious children and three grand children. Trish and her husband Jim, run a small computer business from home, as well as two large Internet ministries, which keep her busy designing websites, fixing, upgrading and building computers and teaching computer and Internet technology. With every minute of her spare time she explores her talents in writing and art, which is available to view on her personal website Christ Driven Brush & Pen http://christdriven.evangel-list.com.
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