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How to Use Windows XP System Restore

At one time or another, this has probably happened to you, too. You turn on your computer (boot up) getting ready to type a special report, business presentation, or an email, and the computer just doesn't want to work today.

Whether it's the word processor, spreadsheet, or financial package that isn't working, most people aren't aware that Microsoft Windows XP System Restore is a built in feature that just may save the day.

Basically, XP System Restore is like a little helper that runs behind the scenes taking "snapshots" of various parts of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. So, if a part of Microsoft Windows XP stops working one day, the System Restore utility is able to reference one of these "snapshots" and restore your system from a previous day.

It's kind of like going back in time to a day when your computer worked. All your current data (Microsoft Word files, etc.) are still retained, so you don't have to worry about losing any present day files.

Here's how to restore your computer.

 Follow these simple steps:
1. Close any open programs.
2. Click on the Windows "Start" button (normally located on the bottom of your computer desktop)
3. Click on "All Programs"
4. Click on "Accessories"
5. Click on "System Tools"
6. Then click on "System Restore"
7. At this point the System Restore wizard will launch. You will see two options:
         a. "Restore my system from an earlier date"
         b. "Create a system restore point"
If you only need to restore your system and get it working correctly again, select option "a" and click "Next."
8. From this screen you can select a "restore to" date from the calendar. So, if you knew that your computer worked fine two days ago, just pick that date and click "Next."
9. The next screen is the confirmation window. Just verify the information on the screen and click "Next." Windows XP will then reboot and try to restore your system with the settings from the date you selected.

The System Restore process can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on how much reconfiguration Windows XP needs to do and how fast a PC you have.

When System Restore is done, a screen will pop up with the results of the restore. If it was successful, you can then log into the system and start using the computer again. Any problem issues that you were having are now hopefully gone.

Now, about 7b above — the "Create a system restore point" option. Use this option  when you want to force Windows XP to take a snapshot of your system just before you install a program or alter any system settings that you are not sure of.

System Restore is like a safety net for when you install system drivers (video, audio, etc) or any internet programs (sometimes riddled with malicious worms and spyware)

If you want to go back to a virgin state, simply create a restore point "before" installing any software. This way, if your machine starts acting weird, you can restore your settings from the selected point.

With a little practice, the XP System Restore utility is easy to use and a great way to help insure the safety of your computer
.                                 ... Richard Rossbauer

Richard started his "Firewalls and Virus Protection" website and "Security Alert News Reporter" to help everyday Internet users navigate safely through the Cyber Space that has become a 'Cyber Jungle', loaded with ambushes and booby traps. He promotes his "Computer Security Awareness Campaign" thru his website at

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