Saturday, September 27, 2008

Your System Restore Point

There seems to be continued confusion on what role Windows’ System Restore should play in ones backup regimen.

System Restore should be part of your backup regimen, but only as a quick fix for a
Windows system problem that occurs during a specific activity e.g., the installation of a program that goes awry.

The purpose of System Restore is to take a snapshot of your current Windows system when all is well. Should your Windows’ system become corrupt for whatever reason, System Restore more often than not can restore the health of your computer by blowing off the corrupt version of your Windows system and replacing it with the healthy version saved as a System Restore Point.

But there’s a catch. A System Restore Point becomes obsolete almost immediately after it is created. So to be assured of a successful System Restore the Restore Point must be created immediately prior to the corrupting incident and the restore made as soon as possible after the corrupting incident.

And this is why. Your Registry, the data base that contains your current Windows system configuration, is constantly changing. If the System Restore Point you use to restore your corrupted Windows system is not current, the restored configuration will not contain all your most recent Registry changes.

If you promise only to scroll through your Registry, do this: click Start > Run > Regedit. You’ll discover just how large your Registry data base is. In fact, your Registry includes every entry and change made to your Windows system from the time Windows was installed to the most recent change or entry you may have made to include changes as insignificant as deleting a Desktop shortcut and as significant as installing a new program or a Windows update.

Thus if you encounter a problem installing a program and use a System Restore Point several weeks old (even only days old), the restored Registry will not contain the numerous and often critical changes made to your Registry since your created the Restore Point.

A rule of thumb is to create a System Restore Point before any activity that involves adding to, deleting from or changing your Windows system.

This does not mean in an absolute desperate situation you cannot try to restore your system using a dated Restore Point. But by doing so you might be jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

Here’s wishing you a Good boot.

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