How to use System Restore in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

System Restore utility in Windows is quite helpful when you are trying to resolve any major system problem. It is a recovery tool that allows you to revert your system’s state to a previous point in time in case of a system malfunction. Thereby, it allows you to undo a major change performed recently on the system.

Windows System Restore does this by creating restore points. These are snapshots of your important program/system files including Windows registry, program/driver details, system settings and more created at different points in time. If your computer runs slowly after a major system change, such as new driver installation or Operating System (OS) update, reverting the system to a recent restore point might aid in fixing the problem.

System Restore does not include your personal files, such as documents, emails, or photos, as a part of its snapshot. Hence, its execution does not remove/replace any of your personal documents. Restoring any Windows 7 or Windows Vista system to an earlier restore point will uninstall applications that were installed after that point, and reinstall the ones present when the chosen restore point was created.

The way to access Windows System Restore is different for each of the Windows versions. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to enable and perform System Restore in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, along with some other alternative ways to fix system errors.

How to Enable System Restore in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

In most Windows 7 and Windows Vista computers, the Windows System Restore functionality is enabled by default for the System Drive or (C:) drive. If you want the System Restore protection coverage for other drives as well, you can do it by following the given steps:

  • Go to the ‘Start’ button and type ‘System Restore’ in the search box.
  • From the search results, select ‘Create a restore point’ to directly access the ‘System Protection’ tab on ‘System Properties’ window.
  • You will find a ‘Protection Setting’ section there, with all your hard drives listed under it. To enable System Restore protection for any hard drive, select it and click the ‘Configure’ button on the right.
  • In the following window, select the ‘Turn on system protection’ option and adjust the usage slider under the ‘Disk Space Usage’ as per the hard drive space you want to allocate for Windows System Restore to function.
  • Once it is done, click ‘OK’ to close the ‘System Properties’ window.


How to Create a  Restore Point manually in Windows Vista or Windows 7

System Restore creates restore points automatically – one Windows 7 creates one restore point every week whereas Windows Vista creates one every 24 hours. You can also create a restore point on your own by following the steps given below:

  • Open the ‘Start’ menu, right-click on the ‘Computer’ icon and select ‘Properties.’
  • This will take you to the ‘System and Security’ section of the ‘Control Panel.’ Select the ‘System Protection’ link placed on the left-hand side.
  • On the ‘System Protection’ tab, select the ‘Create’ button at the bottom that helps you to manually create a restore point.
  • A system protection dialog box will appear on the screen where you can provide a name/description for the restore point to be created. Once that is done, click the on ‘Create’ button in the dialog box. This will start the process of creating a restore point.
  • When the process is finished, a dialog box with the message ‘The restore point was created successfully’ will show up on the screen. Click ‘OK’ to complete the process.


How to Restore Windows Vista or Windows 7 Computer to an Earlier Restore Point

  • Head to Start> All Programs > Accessories > System Tools.
  • Select the program icon of ‘System Restore’ from the list of system tools.
  • The System Restore Wizard welcome page would appear on screen with the subheading “Restore system files and settings.” Select ‘Next’ to proceed further.

Note: You might also see two options on the screen called ‘Choose a Different Restore Point’ and ‘Recommended Restore,’ where latter pertains to an already selected restore point. If you are not sure which restore point you want to use, you should opt for the first option before proceeding further.

  • The following window will show the list of all automatically and manually created restore points with the following details: date and time, description and type. Select any restore point of your preference and click the ‘Next’ button on the bottom right.
  • Another window with subheading ‘Confirm your restore point’ will appear on screen with the specifications of the restore point chosen by you. Select the ‘Finish’ button at the bottom of the right side to proceed.
  • The following dialog box will appear with the heading ‘Once started, System Restore cannot be interrupted. Do you want to continue?’ Select the ‘Yes’ button to initiate the restoration procedure.
  • The system will reboot once the process is complete. Log in to the Windows, which will take you to the ‘System Restore completed successfully’ dialog box. Click the ‘Close’ button to finish the process.


Alternative Ways to Fix System Problems in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

Many a time, the System Restore functionality fails to resolve the underlying problem. In such cases, you can try any of the alternative ways to restore your Windows 7 or Vista computer back to a workable state:

  • Your PC, at times, can stop working or slowdown due to memory problems. To check for such issues, you can try running the “Windows Memory Diagnostic” tool.
  • You can use access additional recovery tools by booting your system using the original Windows Disc or a System Repair Disc or partition you can create. This can help you recover Windows from various serious errors by using tools like Startup Repair, System Image Recovery, Command Prompt, and more.
  • If you want to have a quick solution to your system problems, you can consider using Reboot to Restore software solutions. These applications will allow you to establish a baseline configuration of your choice. With each restart, the system will be reverted to that preset configuration state. The Reboot to Restore technology ensures that all the changes made during the user session, such as software downloads or alterations in system settings, are completely eliminated with each reboot. Thus, multiple issues like system slowdown, unauthorized changes, malware, configuration drifts, and more can be resolved by simply restarting the computer.