Steps to use System Restore on your Windows Vista PC

System Restore is one the most preferred inbuilt utilities for recovering Windows Vista systems from malfunctions and other problems. A clear understanding of how System Restore works and steps to execute it successfully can help in resolving system errors quickly and without excessive hassle.

Windows System Restore is one of the most effective tools to recover from system glitches and other issues. To put it briefly, System Restore allows an authorized user to revert the system configuration to a previous functional state.

How Windows System Restore Works

When System Restore is activated on a system, it takes snapshots of system files, registry settings, and driver configuration at regular intervals. These snapshots are called restore points. If the system malfunctions, an authorized user can select a restore point of their choosing. The system will be reverted back to the state of configuration as captured by the selected restore point. By restoring Windows Vista to an earlier state, System Restore will clear the system of any recently installed programs or updates that may be causing issues.

A significant number of issues in Windows operating system emerge from one or more aspects of the operating system. By deconstructing these changes with System Restore, the problems can be rectified. It is the ideal tool to use in early phases of troubleshooting. System Restore is also quite simple to use and does not take more than ten to thirty minutes for its complete execution.

It must be noted that System Restore is not a file recovery tool and does not affect personal files like documents and images. It will only restore the system configuration and applications/drivers that may have been affected or uninstalled after the creation of the chosen restore point.

How to create a System Restore Point in Windows Vista

 The following steps can be followed to manually create a restore point in Windows Vista computers.

  1. Open Start Menu > Control Panel > System and Maintenance
  2. Under ‘System and Maintenance’, click ‘Backup Your Computer’.
  3. This will open the Backup and Restore Center window. Under ‘Tasks’, click ‘Create a Restore Point’ or ‘Change Settings’. (If the User Account Control displays a dialog box asking for permission to continue, click ‘Continue’.)
  4. This will open the ‘System Properties’ dialog box. On the ‘System Protection’ tab, click ‘Create’.
  5. A restore point is created on the System Drive (C:). The system drive is chosen by default, but if multiple drives exist, a restore point can be created for any of them. On selecting an additional drive, you’ll find that the ‘Create’ button dims. Click ‘Apply’ to create the restore point.
  6. Enter a description to identify the restore point. It is advisable to use the date of creation as an identifier. This is especially important if there are multiple restore points.
  7. Click ‘Create’. A dialog box appears confirming that the restore point has been created successfully.
  8. Click ‘Ok’ to close the dialog box, and then click ‘OK’ again to close the Control Panel window.


How to use System Restore in Windows Vista

 Open Start menu > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore.

  1. (If prompted, click on the ‘Continue’ button or provide the administrator password.)
  2. This will open the ‘System Restore’ window. Click ‘Next’. If the two options ‘Recommended restore’ and ‘Choose a different restore point’ appear, select ‘Choose a different restore point’ before clicking ‘Next’. This will take you to the list of available restore points.
  3. Select the restore point of choice. It is most effective to use one that was created right before the problem appeared. The list will show all restore points – those manually created and those automatically created by System Restore. If necessary, check the ‘Show more restore points’ checkbox in order to see older restore points. Click ‘Next’.
  4. Click ‘Finish’ on the ‘Confirm your restore point’ window. Since initiating System Restore will restart the computer, it is important to save your work/files and close any running programs.
  5. A dialog box stating ‘Once started, System Restore cannot be interrupted. Do you want to continue?’ will appear. Click ‘Yes’.
  6. Windows will now be restored to the configuration captured by the selected restore point. The process can take several minutes. You will see the message ‘Please wait while your Windows files and settings are being restored’. When completed, the computer will reboot normally.
  7. After the reboot, log into Windows. The message ‘System Restore completed successfully’ will appear. Click ‘Close’.
  8. Check if the issue has been resolved. If not, you can repeat the process by selecting another restore point.


Others ways to address system issues

 Windows Vista comes with a set of system recovery tools which can be accessed by booting your system and initiating the recovery environment. In addition to System Restore, the set includes:

    • Startup Repair
    • Windows Complete PC Restore
    • Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool
    • Command Prompt
  • Consider installing a solution that uses Reboot to Restore technology. A Reboot to Restore software preserves the pristine system configuration as defined by the user. On reboot, the software reverts the system back to the preserved baseline state and discard all changes made during the user session. In this case, system issues can be resolved with ease by simply restarting the computer.