How To Use System Restore in Windows XP

In Windows XP system restore is always on by default and I really do not recommend turning it off for any reason at all. It is a fantastic feature of Windows XP that new computer users seem to overlook. I can tell you right now, system restore has saved my life at least one hundred times. See how to create a restore point in Windows Seven.

What exactly is system restore?

System restore is a feature included with Windows XP that will restore your computer to an earlier restore point. If you have system restore enabled on your computer it will automatically create restore points for you. You can also manually create a restore point and call it anything you like. So therefore if you had created a restore point and named it “new computer 10/15/08” if you have a problem a month later, you can go back in time to that point.

Why should you use system restore for windows XP?

System Restore can save you a lot of stress and worry if you use it to your advantage. When you have a nice new computer, immediately set a system restore point and name it so you will remember what your computer will be restored to.

You should also set a restore point before installing, un-installing, deleting files, moving files, copying files, defragging, updating, and more… Trust me. If you remember to do this you will be laughing. You should also use system restore when you are going to enter the windows registry or even when you are using a registry cleaner program as sometimes they delete the wrong files and cause problems.

What files does system restore actually restore or delete?

If you restore your computer to an earlier restore point the files that you created will still be on your computer. For instance, you may have saved some photos to the my pictures folder, then had a problem with the computer, and then restored it to an earlier restore point. The photo’s will still be in the my pictures folder even if you restore your computer to a month before you even had the photo’s on your computer. It will be the same with any file that you have created. Word documents, pictures, emails, etc, will still be there.

Also when you use system restore, any programs that you installed may be gone. For example if you install the google toolbar and then restore your computer to a month earlier, the google toolbar will have to be installed again.

Here is another example: If you install a program and it turns out to have a problem with it. You restart your computer, hoping this will fix it. When the computer starts up your graphics appears all fuzzy. You try re-installing your graphics driver and restarting but that does not work.. Oh no!!! If you use system restore and restore your computer back to just before you installed the program, your problem will disappear.

How to find system restore

System Restore is a Windows system tool and is located in the start menu.

  1. Go to the  Start menu
  2. Choose  All Programs
  3. Then choose Accessories from the menu
  4. Then System Tools, then choose System Restore

How  to turn System Restore on or off

You can choose to turn System Restore on or off by going to the system properties box and then going to the System Restore tab. To get to the system properties you can double click on the system icon in control panel or go to the start menu to my computer, right click on it and choose properties. On the system restore tab you will see a box to tick to turn off system restore.

Watch this video for more information on how to use system restore in Windows XP

Copy entire Hard Drive to another, no need to reinstall Windows!


  • After you have used system restore, when you enter system restore again it will have an option to undo your last restoration.
  • You can start system restore from a command prompt by typing %systemroot%system32restorerstrui.exe This is very useful if you are having a problem with using Windows.
  • The system restore feature saves as many restore points as it can fit into its allocated space. When this space is full it will delete the oldest point in order to save the most recent.
  • If you disable system restore you will loose your saved restore points.
  • Create a restore point before you install a new program or even when you uninstall one. This way if anything happens you can fix your computer within minutes!!! Save yourself the stress of trying to find out what is causing the problem..
  • To use system restore you must be logged in as an administrator.
  • If you create a restore point and have a virus, if you restore back to that point you will have the virus again. Antivirus programs cannot access the restore points to scan them. So it is best to make sure your system is clean before setting the restore point.
  • If you have accidentally deleted a file and try to use system restore to bring it back, it won’t work.


  1. zolar1 says

    Be forewarned that if you turn off system restore you lose ALL of your previous restore points. Seems Microsoft made a serious mistake in this area. You should have been able to turn it on and off without erasing anything…