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How to Create Windows Vista Restore Points

Restore Points enable you to repair a Vista operating system.  System Restore started life in XP, and thus is part of a moderately mature backup technology.

Purpose of System Restore

To understand the meaning of System Restore, place the emphasis on the word System.  Now its function becomes clear; namely to restore operating system files. When you repair a Vista system, you avoid over-writing data, such as spreadsheets or emails, like you would with a reformat and reinstall.

You don't have to worry about having to take periodic snapshots, because System Restore automatically creates a restore point whenever the operating system changes significantly.  However, if that isn’t often enough for you, restore points can be created manually.

How to Create a Vista Restore Point

Instructions to reach 'System Protection'

  1. Navigate to the Control Panel --> System and Maintenance.
  2. Click on System.  Select System Protection from the left menu.
  3. Make sure that the C: drive, or the drive with the Windows folder is ticked.
  4. Click on the 'Create' Button.
  5. Type a description in the resulting dialog box.
  6. Enjoy the 'Creating a restore point....' progress bar.

Using a System Restore in Anger

As so often, Microsoft Vista provides at least two ways of performing a task.  To return to a previous restore point, you could either:

  1. Click on the 'System Restore' button in the screenshot above.
  2. Navigate to the Backup and Restore Center and click on the link: Repair Windows using System Restore'.
  3. From the next screen, either choose 'Recommended Restore'
  4. Or else select 'Choose a different restore point'.  Now decide which Date and Description would represent the best repair option for your operating system.

Summary of Vista's Restore Points

Mastering Vista's Restore Points Involves to major halves. The first half involves making sure that your operating system is actually protected by one or more Restore Points.  The second half requires choosing a proper restore point, or a point that is likely to produce an effective repair. One final note: restore points don't affect your data files such as Word Documents or Excel Spreadsheets.

  • burnley14
    I've never gotten a restore point to solve my problem effectively. If it's bad enough that I'm searching for a restore point, it almost never works and I end up reinstalling the entire OS
  • I, too, have seldom had success with restore points, at least in XP. So I have used Norton Ghost in advance of installing new software so I can re-image my machine to an earlier date.
  • tanguswolf
    I thought system restore was first introduced in Windows Millenium the rush to market os prior to XP release. Oh what a sweet piece of OS it was.
  • Codesmith
    I always turn off system restore. Instead I repartition my drive and move the location of my desktop, my documents, firefox profiles to the 2nd partition. The first partition is just for installed software.

    I use True Image to do full backups of my C: drive. I use syncback to backup my data folders to an external hard drive.

    OS failure ... boot from CD and restore from the latest backups.
    Hard drive failure ... restore documents from external hard drive.

    System Restore is better than nothing but barely.

  • Codesmith
    PS Macrium Reflect FREE Edition is a 100% workable substitute if you can't afford $30 for True Image.

  • rpmrush
    Can a restore point of a fresh image really perform the same as a fresh image? Will it rid Windows rot?
  • System Restore has been a God send all these years with XP Pro. I've been running it on 3 machines and whenever I've screwed up I just go back far enough to erase my mistake. Bam, everything is back up to speed and my rig is rightous again. 5 minutes from start to finish and all my emails etc. are fine. I might have to download a program again but it's a small sacrifice for a quick fix. * Make sure your systems has enough MB's to leave you plenty of Restores. I received one computer and when it came time to do a restore I had one and that wouldn't do it. I always back up with Acronis True Image so I had to go through the hassle of a backup which takes allot more than 5 minutes. * When I got my Vista Home Premium Laptop the first time I went to use System Restore it was'nt there! I had to put it together and I still couldn't add MB's. The bottom line is, It's been a lifesaver. Saved my bacon more times than I can remember. * sjeffreya