System Restore is always running in the background when the computer executes the Windows operating system. Each storage device attached to the computer is monitored separately for changes made through normal use of the computer system. At regular intervals, normally every 24 hours, System Restore will create a restore point, also called a checkpoint, on the computer even if no changes have been made. If the user deletes programs that are monitored by System Restore, the computer can be restored to any one of the previous restore points to repair any problems that surface.
System Restore Functions
The System Restore function within every version of the Windows operating system will perform certain functions when engaged by the user. Every system restore point is dated for easy reference by the user to find the best point in time to which the computer can be restored. When the user initiates the System Restore process, the computer:
- Restores the computer to a previous state that is stored within an automated or manual restore point.
- Performs the restoration without harming personal files because no files within the “My Documents” folder are accessed during the restoration.
- Stores one to three weeks of restore points based on the size of the disk partition set aside for the System Restore function to use.
- Will ensure that every restoration procedure is completely reversible. If the system restoration fails, the computer can be set back to the state prior to the initiation of the restore process.
System Restore provides multiple types of system restore points that can be selected by the user:
- Initial system checkpoints – When a new computer is turned on for the very first time, Windows creates a restore point for the user to revert to in the event of a problem that is catastrophic in nature.
- System checkpoints – The System Restore program will create a system restore point every 24 hours of calendar time or every 24 hours that the computer is running. If the computer is off for more than 24 consecutive hours, the software will create a restore point when the computer is booted.
- Program name installation checkpoints – Whenever an installation program is initiated, System Restore will create a restore point prior to any system changes by the install process.
- Automatic update restore points – Windows automatically downloads updates for the Windows operating system, and when those updates are applied, the System Restore function creates a restore point. If the Windows updates are downloaded and stored but not installed, the restore point is not created.
- Manual checkpoints – The user is able to create a manual restore point whenever changes are made or programs are installed. Being able to create a manual restore point allows the user to remove unwanted changes if something goes wrong in the installation of a program or other system change.
- Restore operation checkpoints – System Restore will create a restore point prior to actually applying the command to restore the computer.
- Unsigned device driver checkpoints – Any attempt to install device drivers that are not certified and signed by the producer of the driver file is preceded by an automatic restore point.
- Microsoft backup utility checkpoints – Whenever the user restores from an automated backup, System Restore creates a restore point to allow the user to remove the backed up files.
System Restore Limitations
When using the System Restore function to return the computer to a previous state, the user should realize certain truths about System Restore.
- At the time when System Restore is manually disabled, all stored System Restore points are deleted. The program will create a checkpoint at the time that the System Restore monitoring is turned on again.
- After a successful execution of the System Restore function to restore the computer to a point prior to the installation of a program, the program that was removed will no longer function on the computer. The program would have to be reinstalled.
- The Uninstall function must be performed to remove a program. The System Restore function does not replace actual removal of the program from the computer. Either the Windows “Add or Remove Programs” feature or the program’s uninstall process must be executed to remove the program software from the computer hard drive and registry.
- System Restore will monitor and restore files that have not been redirected. None of the settings in roaming user profiles will be saved in the System Restore checkpoint.
- System Restore is automatically set to monitor all physical disk drives connected to the computer. Drives and partitions that are later omitted from the System Restore monitoring settings will not be included in the creation of any System Restore points, either manual or automatic.
- Encrypted programs and files will be ignored by System Restore. If the user wishes to protect certain files from the System Restore process, the files can encrypted with System Restore disabled. When System Restore is turned on again, the encrypted files will be ignored when the next restore point is created.
Repair the Registry after Using System Restore
With so many changes occurring within the System Restore function, the registry will be modified repeatedly. Every restoration will create and delete multiple registry entries that must be corrected. The best approach to repairing the registry is to use the best registry cleaner, Registry Booster 2011, which is produced by Uniblue. I suggest downloading a Free Trial of Registry Booster 2011 before trying system restore. It might just save you a lot of time, trouble, and data loss!