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Windows Vista System Restore Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is System Restore? How do I open System Restore?
How can I manually create a restore point? When are the Restore Points created?
How do I use System Restore to undo changes? How do I find System Protection?
After using System Restore, can I undo the changes it made? What files does System Restore monitor?
What files are not monitored by System Restore? How long does Vista keep restore points?
My restore points disappear when I switch between XP and Vista How can I turn System Restore on/off?

How much hard disk space is required for System Restore to work?

Does system restore work with FAT32 disks?
System Restore fails with error 0x8007000E Can I control the amount of disk space system restore uses?

 

Use the information below at your own risk.  See "Terms of Use"

What is System Restore?

Its purpose is to create a snapshot of the systems configuration. Using system restore, you can easily return the operating system back to a known good configuration.

The system restore feature was not designed to be used as a troubleshooter. If for instance you have installed a new driver that has adversely effected your system, the method of rolling back the driver to the old version should be used prior to using system restore. Another common use for system restore is to uninstall a recently installed program. Using the programs uninstall utility is the preferred method. Or, if the program doesn't have an uninstall method you can use Add/Remove Programs.

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How do I open System Restore?

There are a few methods you can use to open System Restore:

Method #1:
  1. Go to Start
  2. In the search field, type in: system restore
  3. Select system restore from the resulting list.

Method #2:

  1. Press the Windows key + R. This will open the "Run" command box.
  2. Type in: rstrui.exe [Enter]

Method #3:

  1. Go to Start
  2. Select All Programs
  3. Select Accessories
  4. Select System Tools
  5. Select System Restore

Note: You may be prompted to enter an administrators password.

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How can I manually create a restore point?

  1. Go to Start
  2. Right Click the My Computer icon
  3. Select Properties
  4. Select System Protection from the left pane
  5. Select the drive that you would like to create a restore point in. The default location is the C:\ drive.
  6. Type a name for the restore point to help you remember why you've created it (eg: video card driver update).
  7. Click the "Create" button

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When are the Restore Points created?
Restore points are created everyday and also before any significant system change such as; Installing a program or updating a device driver. Vista also allows users to create a restore point manually.

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How do I use System Restore to undo changes?

  1. Go to Start
  2. Select All Programs
  3. Select Accessories
  4. Select System Tools
  5. Select System Restore
  6. Click the Next button
  7. Select the option titled: Choose a different restore point
  8. Click the Next button
  9. Select a date and time that you would like to restore your computer to.
  10. Click the Next button to begin the restoration process.
  11. In the confirmation message, select Yes.

Once the System Restore process completes, your system will automatically restart.

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How do I find System Protection?

Here are a few methods to choose from:

Method #1:
  1. Press the Windows key + Pause/Break
  2. With the System Properties window open, click the System Protection tab

Method #2:

  1. Go to Start
  2. Right click My Computer
  3. Select Properties
  4. Select the System Protection tab

Method #3:

  1. Go to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select System and Maintenance
  4. Select System
  5. Select System Protection from the left pane

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After using System Restore, can I undo the changes it made?

Yes. Prior to using system restore a restore point is created. To undo the changes follow the instructions below:
  1. Go to Start>> All Programs>> Accessories>> System Tools>> System Restore
  2. With System Restore open, click the option titled: Undo System Restore
  3. Click the Next button
  4. Select the choice that applies and click Finish.

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What files does System Restore monitor?

System Restore monitors all operating system files, installed programs and Windows registry settings. It also monitors batch files, scripts and executable files.

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What files are not monitored by System Restore?

System Restore does not monitor personal files such as; email, personal documents and photos. You will need to backup these files manually in order to restore them in the event you should lose these files.

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How long does Vista keep restore points?

The restore points keep accumulating until the maximum allotted default space is filled. Once this maximum space is full, the restore points will begin to delete automatically as the next is created.

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My restore points disappear when I switch between XP and Vista

This is a common occurrence for those that have a dual boot between older Windows versions and Vista. The reason this happens is because in Vista, the restore points are handled a little differently than in older Windows versions. The older versions do not see the Vista restore points as being valid so they automatically delete them. Once you switch back over to Vista, the restore points will begin accumulating again.

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How can I turn System Restore on/off?

It is not recommended to disable system restore because in the event something should go wrong, you won't be able to restore to a previous date, but for those of you that have asked, here's how:
  1. Go to Start
  2. Select Control Panel
  3. Select System and Maintenance
  4. Select System
  5. Select the System Protection link
  6. Uncheck the disk drive for which you would like to turn system restore off
  7. Click the "Turn System Restore Off" button. System Restore will no longer monitor and create restore points for the unchecked disk drive.

To turn the system restore feature back on, recheck the drive in step #6 above, then click Apply.

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How much hard disk space is required for System Restore to work?

In order for System Restore to function on your hard disk, it needs at least 300 MB of free space for each drive that it is to function on. System Restore will not function on disks that are smaller than 1 gigabyte (GB).

If you were to turn off System Protection (the feature that creates the restore points), all restore points from that disk are deleted. Once System Protection is turned back on, new restore points will begin to be created.

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Does system restore work with FAT32 disks?

No. System Restore in Vista requires the NTFS file system in order to work. This is because Vista uses shadow copies to create restore points. Shadow copies are not supported by any FAT file system.

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System Restore fails with error 0x8007000E

This error usually occurs when there is only 512MB of RAM installed on a system heavily occupied with large data files. Usually, upgrading your RAM to at least 1 GB solves this problem.

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Can I control the amount of disk space system restore uses?

Yes, you control how much disk space to allocate to Vista for the restore points. Here's how:
  1. Go to Start
  2. In the search field, type: cmd
  3. Right click the "cmd" item and select "Run as administrator" Click OK for any User Account Control prompts.
  4. At the command prompt, type the following (copy & paste for accuracy):

    vssadmin list shadowstorage
     
  5. Press Enter

The above command will list the current amount of Used, Allocated and Maximum allowed storage size for the Volume Shadow Storage on your computer.

To resize the amount of disk space that Vista allocates to shadow storage, type the following exactly as shown, press enter when done:

vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /MaxSize=2GB

Note: The above example assumes that the root drive for your system is C:

You should receive a message that informs you that the command was successful.
To change the maximum allocation, replace 2GB with your preferred amount (eg: 600MB or 5GB).

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