What is the Microsoft® Windows® XP System Restore utility and how do I use it?

Overview
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. When to Use System Restore Details on Microsoft® Windows® XP System Restore Which Files System Restore Recovers in Microsoft® Windows® XP What Is Not Restored With the Microsoft® Windows® XP Operating System Configure the System Restore Utility Create A Restore Point Manually in Microsoft® Windows® XP Restore the Computer To A Prior Restore Point in Microsoft® Windows® XP Learn More About System Restore in Microsoft® Windows® XP

When to Use System Restore
The System Restore feature included with the Microsoft® Windows® XP Home and Professional Editions enables you to restore your PC to a previous state without losing personal data files. NOTE: You must be logging into the system as an Administrator or have administrative privileges to use this feature.
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Details on Microsoft® Windows® XP System Restore
The default setting of System Restore creates a new checkpoint (a snapshot of the current system configuration) daily. System Restore also creates new checkpoints when new software (including applications and drivers) is installed. By default, System Restore will use up to 12% of available hard drive space to store checkpoints. It will start deleting older checkpoints when it hits that maximum space limit. System Restore is a tool that allows you to roll the system back or restore it to a previous state in order to correct issues caused by the system becoming unstable. This utility should be used whenever you suspect that the system is improperly configured. Configuration problems can occur as the result of installing incompatible software or hardware or making faulty configuration changes.
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Which Files System Restore Recovers in Microsoft Windows XP
A restore process restores all of the following: Registry Profiles (local only-roaming user profiles are not impacted by a system restore) COM+ Database WFP.dll cache WMI Database IIS Metabase General critical system and application files, such as .exe and .dll files Drivers Auto/Windows update installed bits Ntbackup recoveries (on monitored files) Any file downloaded from the Internet and stored in a location other than My Documents

NOTE: For information and a complete list of the monitored file extensions, navigate to the following link: www.msdn.microsoft.com
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What Is Not Restored With the Microsoft® Windows® XP Operating System
NOTE: System Restore cannot be used to reinstall a full program by restoring to a point in time before an application was uninstalled to put it back on the system. The installer removes all the application files including non-monitored file types. If restoring to a point before an uninstall, System Restore will only be able to undo the removal of monitored file types (such as .exe and .dll) but not help files, (.tmp, .jpeg, .bmp) and many other file types. The list below contains examples of what is not restored by a System Restore: Any file types not monitored by System Restore like personal data files. For example, files with extensions .doc, .jpg, and .txt Passwords in the SAM hive (user passwords are not restored) WPA settings (Windows authentication information is not restored) Specific directories are excluded for example, "My Documents." Anything contained in this folder, regardless of file extension, will not be altered. User-created data stored in the user profile Changes made within another OS environment but on the same disk (in alternate partition-dual boot) Windows or Auto Update files stored in Windows Update download directory that have not yet been installed NOTE: Dell Technical Support Boundaries and Alternative Support Solutions The remainder of this article covers topics and/or procedures that are not covered by Limited Warranty or supported by Dell's Technical Support staff. Dell's

These guidelines are provided as a courtesy to you; Dell technical support neither guarantees nor assists customers in completing these steps. If you need help with the remainder of this article, or if you need help with your hardware, software, or peripherals as a result of actions taken because of this article, you can visit the Dell Community Forum. The Community Forum provides a free, virtual location for customers to discuss problems, pose questions, and offer solutions to a myriad of issues. Also, you can call the Dell HelpDesk anytime if you need help. For a fee, HelpDesk technicians are trained to answer "how to" questions on many third-party software applications and popular electronic products, as well as offer assistance to help clean up your computer and teach you how to protect against virus and spyware attacks. To learn more about Community Forums, visit the To learn more about HelpDesk, visit the Dell Community Forums website.

Dell HelpDesk website. Dell Warranty website.

To learn more about Dell's limited warranties, visit the
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Configure the System Restore Utility

To configure the System Restore utility, perform the following steps: 1. Click the Start button, right-click My Computer, and then left-click Properties. The System Properties window appears. 2. Click the System Restore tab. 3. There are two parameters for System Restore that can be configured here: The amount of disk space System Restore uses Whether or not System Restore is enabled on this system 4. To change the amount of disk space System Restore uses, adjust the Disk Space to use slider until the desired percentage of disk space is reached. NOTE: To disable System Restore, click to select Turn Off System Restore. If you do this, you will not be able to use this system utility to restore your system to a previous state if your system becomes unstable.
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Create A Restore Point Manually in Microsoft® Windows® XP
To create a restore point manually, perform the following steps: 1. Click the Start button and then click Help and Support. The Help and Support window appears. 2. Click the Undo changes to your computer with System Restore option under the Pick a task section. Figure 1 - Pick A Task Window The Welcome to System Restore window appears. 3. Click the Create a restore point option and then click the Next button. Figure 2 - Welcome to System Restore Window Options 4. In the text box labeled Restore point description, type a name for this restore point. Figure 3 - Restore Point Description Field NOTE: Use a name that reflects the reason the Restore Point is being created, such as "Editing the Registry," "Beginning Troubleshooting," or "Testing the System". 5. Click the Create button. The system begins to back up files to the hard drive. This may take a few minutes to complete. 6. Click the Close button to exit from the System Restore program after you are notified that the new restore point has been created.
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Restore the Computer to a Prior Restore Point in Microsoft® Windows® XP
To restore Windows® XP to an earlier restore point, perform the following steps: 1. Click the Start button and then click Help and Support. The Help and Support window appears. 2. Click the Undo changes to your computer with System Restore option under the Pick a task section. Figure 1 - Pick a Task Window

The Welcome to System Restore window appears. 3. Click the Restore my computer to an earlier time option and then click the Next button. Figure 2 - Calendar of Restore Points Created 4. Click the Next button. The system confirms the restore point you selected. 5. Verify the information listed and then click the Next button. The computer restarts and restores the computer back to the restore point that you previously selected. Once the system has been re-started and you log back on, the system notifies you that the restoration is complete. 6. Verify that restoring the system has fixed your problem. NOTE: If your issue has not been resolved, repeat the steps above using the next oldest restore point available.
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Learn More about System Restore in Microsoft® Windows® XP
To learn more about System Restore in the Windows XP Help and Support Center, follow these steps: 1. Automatically launch the Help and Support window by clicking here, or, click the Start button and then click the Help and Support option. The Help and Support window appears. 2. Click on the Performance and maintenance option. 3. Click on the Using System Restore to undo changes option. 4. From the topics available for reference, select an article from the list that you can view.
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