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System Restore Points

Creating a system restore point in Windows 7 allows you to take a snapshot of your computer’s settings while everything works correctly. Then, if anything messes up, you can return to that restore point quite easily. Often when we install new software, things go wrong, so setting up a restore point is recommended before you make any major changes to your system.

The good news is that Windows 7 automatically creates system restore points (it calls them checkpoints) once a day. Additionally, it also saves a restore point every time you successfully start Windows.

A system restore point contains Registry entries and copies of certain critical programs including drivers and key system files. It’s a “snapshot” of crucial system settings and programs. Rolling back to a restore point replaces your undesirable current settings and programs with older versions that date from when the restore point was saved.

Often, Windows 7 can detect when you’re about to do something significant to your system (for example, installing a new network card) and creates a restore point automatically. Unfortunately, though, it can’t always tell.

But if you suspect that what you’re about to do to your PC may break it, you can always save a restore point yourself.

How To Create A Restore Point

It’s a good idea to wait until your system is running smoothly before you take a restore point. When it is, do the following:

  1. Make sure that you’re using an administrator account.
  2. Click the Start button, right click on Computer and select Properties. On the left, click on System Protection.
System Protection - Windows 7

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Registry entries and copies of certain critical programs including, notably, drivers and key system files — a “snapshot” of crucial system settings and programs.

Now click on the Create button (bottom right).

Create A Restore Point In Windows 7

In the next window you can name the restore point. It’s a good idea to use a meaningful description that gives you a clue about what you are about to do after the restore point has been created. Then click Create.

Name the restore point

When the restore point has been created, you should get the following confirmation message.

Restore point created

Should anything go wrong, you can now revert to this checkpoint. Let’s look at the process of rolling back your computer to a restore point.

Rolling Back To A Restore Point

If you make a change to your system and things go wrong, you may want to roll back to the last point in time that your system was running smoothly. To revert to a system restore point, click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore. System Restore presents a list of recent available restore points.

Roll Back To A System Restore Point

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It’s a good idea to check what will be affected by rolling back to a particular restore point, so select it and then click Scan for affected programs. System Restore tells you which programs and drivers have system entries (typically in the Registry) that will be altered and which programs will be deleted if you select that specific restore point. If you’re happy with the changes that willl take place on restoring to this checkpoint, click Next. You’ll then need to confirm the restore and click Finish to start the proceedings.

Note that system restore doesn’t change any of your data files, such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets etc. It just reverts to previous states of system files and system settings.