Windows 7 is still the one of the most widely used Windows operating system. The suite of supported troubleshooting tools is one of the reasons that it functions seamlessly even today. These troubleshooting programs have distinct functionalities, which allow users to resolve various system-related issues. System Recovery tools to restore Windows 7 include inbuilt options like System Restore, System Image Recovery, Startup Repair, Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool and Command Prompt as well as third-party solutions like Reboot to Restore software. Each of these options is useful in specific cases and collectively suffice for nearly all Windows 7 PC problems that users frequently face, except those of hardware. Below is a detailed description of the functionality of System Recovery Options and how you can execute them.
What is Windows System Restore?
System Restore is one of the most used tools for troubleshooting Windows PC issues. It is useful especially when a device starts malfunctioning after an OS update or software installation. It is also effective when the device starts behaving unexpectedly due to some unwanted changes made in system settings.
System Restore in Windows 7 captures snapshots of the device configuration in every seven days. These snapshots are called Restore Points, which Windows uses as the reference when you perform a system restoration. Restore Points are also generated when a program or application is installed or uninstalled, or when system changes like Windows or driver updates are performed. The number of Restore Points stored by System Restore software depends upon the allocated memory. When you encounter a persistent malfunction, you can select an appropriate Restore Point and execute Windows System Restore. It may take up to 30 minutes to restore Windows 7.
Windows System Restore does not have any effect on personal files. It only restores the system files, registry, system settings, and other OS-related elements. Hence, your files like documents and images remain intact even after you restore Windows 7. It also means that the files you have deleted cannot be recovered using this tool.
Windows System Restore uninstalls all updates and applications that you installed after the creation date and time of selected Restore Point. Similarly, it restores the updates and applications that you uninstalled after the creation of that Restore Point.
How to do a System Restore in Windows 7?
You can use System Restore only if it was enabled by default on your PC. If it is not enabled, you should do so at the earliest to be able to restore Windows 7 when required.
Take the following steps to enable System Restore:
- Click the Windows button to open the Start menu.
- Right-click on the Computer tab in the right column of the menu. A list menu will appear.
- Click Properties in the list menu. A new window System will open up.
- Click System Protection in the left column of this window. It will take you to the System Properties window with the System Protection tab already open.
- In the Protection Settings box, check the protection status and select the drive that you want to be protected by System Restore. Click the Configure button, then click the Apply button, and then the OK button.
System Restore will be enabled for the selected drive. You can repeat this process for other drives as well. If Windows System Restore was not enabled on your PC before and you have just done it, there will not be any Restore Point available. You can create it manually or wait for System Restore to create it automatically for you.
To create a Restore Point manually, take steps 1-4 as mentioned above.
- Click the Create button in the System Protection tab. The System Protection dialog box will appear.
- Enter a descriptive name for the Restore Point so that you can recall its purpose when executing System Restore. Click the Create button. You will get back to the System Properties dialog box.
- Click the Apply button and then the OK button.
Your current system configuration will be saved as a Restore Point.
To execute System Restore, take steps 1-4 again from “How to enable System Restore” section to reach the System Protection tab.
- Click the System Restore button. The System Restore dialog box will appear.
- Click the Next button. It is recommended that you click the ‘Scan for affected programs’ button to see the list of applications that will be deleted and those that will be reinstalled. Click the Close button.
- Select a Restore Point from the list. Click the Next button.
(You can select “Show more restore points” checkbox as well to access earlier Restore Points if available)
- Click the Finish button. A confirmation dialog box will appear.
- Click the Yes button. System Restore will be initiated.
When restoration completes, your PC will restart automatically and be ready for use. If you find that the problem persists, you can execute System Restore again using another Restore Point.
What is Startup Repair option in Windows 7?
Startup Repair is useful when your Windows 7 PC fails to boot up. It gets initiated automatically and scans the system to identify issues. The tool then recommends the relevant troubleshooting program for the issue. Startup Repair resolves boot-up issues that arise from corrupt or missing system files. In case of a major issue, you may have to manually initiate Startup Repair from the System Recovery Options suite.
How to use Startup Repair in Windows 7 PC?
Take the following steps to access the System Recovery Options dialog box:
- Take out all external drives from your PC and restart your PC.
- Keep the F8 key pressed as Windows attempts to boot up. If you pressed the F8 key after the Windows logo had appeared, you will have to restart and try again.
- You will reach the Advanced Boot Options window. Select the Repair your computer option using the arrow keys, and press the Enter key.
- Select your preferred keyboard format, and click the Next button. You will reach the System Recovery Options window.
- Click the Startup Repair option. The tool will start scanning the system to detect and resolve issues.
- If no issue is found, click the Finish button. If any issue is found, Startup Repair will automatically attempt to resolve it.
- If the issue is resolved, click the Finish button to restart the device and let the repair take effect.
- A dialog box will show the details of diagnosis and repair. Click the Close button to exit.
- If Startup Repair fails to resolve the issue, you will have to run it again or try another troubleshooting tool. By default, Startup Repair recommends System Restore.
- Click the Cancel button. Startup Repair will seek your permission to send a report to Microsoft to improve service. Choose an option per your preference to exit.
What is the Windows Memory Diagnostic option in Windows 7?
Windows Memory Diagnostic can be used to identify issues related to RAM. At times, faulty system memory leads to unexpected software errors in spite of the system configuration being in a proper state.
How to use Windows Memory Diagnostic option in Windows 7 PC?
Take the following steps to execute Windows Memory Diagnostic to fix RAM issues:
- Click the Windows button. Type “memory” in the search box.
- Click the Windows Memory Diagnostic option in the search results. The Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool dialog box will appear.
- Select one of the two options. If you select the first option, Windows will restart to run the ‘Standard’ test. If you select the second option, the tool will run the test when you switch-on the device the next time. You can also perform an exhaustive test by switching to the ‘Extended’ option for better results.
Take the following steps to change modify the test options:
- Run the Windows Memory Diagnostic program. Once the system restarts, Press F1 on the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool screen. 3 options will appear – Basic, Standard, and Extended.
- Use the Tab key to highlight the desired option. If you want to perform a deep Windows Memory Diagnostic test, highlight Extended and press F10 to apply it.
If your device is not booting up, you can access Windows Memory Diagnostic from System Recovery Options suite (perform steps 1-4 from “How to use Startup Repair in Windows 7 PC” section above to open System Recovery Options menu).
When the test completes and no RAM error is found, Windows Memory Diagnostic generates a pop-up from the toolbar to notify you about the same. If the tool finds any error, it tries to identify the faulty memory module and informs you about it. It also informs whether the RAM hardware is faulty, in which case it the RAM card has to be replaced.
Reboot to Restore
Reboot to Restore software is a third party troubleshooting tool for Windows 7. It initiates system restoration when a computer is restarted. It preserves a defined system configuration as the baseline, and with every restart, reverts the system back to this baseline state. If any issues need quick troubleshooting, the user can simply restart the system. This means that within a few minutes, the system can be restored to a pristine baseline state.