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Do you find Windows System Restore utility to be useful?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / January 18, 2013 7:53 AM PST
Do you find Windows System Restore utility to be useful?

- Very useful, it's saved me many times. (Why so many times?)
- Somewhat useful. (How so?)
- Not useful. (Tell us why.)
- I use other system restoration utilities. (Tell us what you use.)
- I'd use it more if it worked properly. (What's wrong with it?)
- I have no idea; I've never used it. (You've been lucky then.)
- What is this System Restore utility you speak of? (Are you just kidding around?)
- I don't use Windows.
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Very useful but I still do backups
by wpgwpg / January 18, 2013 8:09 AM PST

I don't use it all that often, but it's saved my bacon more than once. The nice thing about it is that you can return your OS to an earlier date without disturbing your data. On the other hand, I still make full system backups weekly with incremental backups every 4 hours for those times when I have to replace a hard drive or some other serious problem. It's also handy if you're the neighborhood guru folks call when they have problems and don't have backups.

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Didn't work for me
by mwooge / January 18, 2013 10:42 AM PST

I've tried it a couple of times, with XP, and it proved useless. No help at all.

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Windows System Restore utility
by divyagyan / January 23, 2013 2:37 PM PST

i have no idea about Windows System Restore utility. if some one know about this please share about this .

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Re: system restore
by Kees_B Forum moderator / January 23, 2013 3:57 PM PST

As a starter, type system restore in the 'help and support' in the start menu. Or google WINDOWS SYSTEM RESTORE. No need for anyone here to tell you all you info you'll find that way.


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Avoid Hacking, Turn OFF System Restore!
by Demaclies / January 18, 2013 8:51 AM PST

Anyone who uses XP, and no one does anymore.... unless they value reliability.... knows that anti-virus can not function with system restore operating and protecting 'data'. Most virus instigating worms rely on system restore to protect their ability to 're-install' after AV sweeps, from protected data archives in the system restore reg. If you want to get rid of the problems, you have to turn off SR (system restore), or you will get no satisfaction... it's that simple. System restore? Why, your HDD will die before you need it... LOL

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I'm glad it's there
by ESUNintel / January 18, 2013 8:52 AM PST

It's one of those features that I always forget about, but when I run into issues and remember it's there I get happy. If has helped me a few times, but also lets me down sometimes. For example - I hate the fact I have to install software; it's not fun looking for the disks (or download location), looking for product keys, and having to re-install. The other day I had to install Rosetta Stone again since Windows Recovery removed it along with other software, and their software requires it be de-activated through the software - so I had to contact customer support to get it re-installed.

I do wish it were more like Apple's Time Machine backup - I never have to re-install anything on a Mac, and hardly ever need to type a product key back in for software. hopefully Microsoft can provide something like Time Machine eventually.

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System Restore
by Ron Geiken / January 18, 2013 9:20 AM PST

Most of the time, I use this utility to actually set a Restore Point. This might be good to do if you are going to do something that could affect system operation like installing new software. If you have CCleaner on your computer, you can check how many restore points you have. A lot of times if there are more than a weeks worth, you can delete the older ones which I do once in a while. I would make sure that I have at least 3 or 4 restore point though. If you earliest restore point is several days to a week old, you might want to create a new one so that you will not have to make up too much if you have a time when you computer won't boot. Almost every time Windows installs an update, it will create a restore point. New software installs will usually do that too. A lot of times especially if things have been flaky, I will create and EOE End of Evening when I am about to turn the computer off especially if it seems be be in a stable condition. This can be a valuable tool to get your computer working good again when it doesn't boot correctly and you are offered this option.

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Absolutely useless
by Luhng / January 18, 2013 11:17 AM PST

From the day I installed Vista until the day I dumped it I must have made 40+ attempts to restore using Windows restore (most just to confirm it still didn't work) and every time I got the end message that the restore had failed.

I even tried it on pristine installs (straight after installing Windows and then adding one programme) and it still couldn't do it.

Windows has succeeded, beyond any expectations, of making an absolute failure of:


Searching i.e. I can know for a fact I have multiple files or folders with particular names or extensions on a drive and Windows can't detect them even when pointed directly to them.

Detection of crashed programmes i.e. Windows repeatedly claims programmes (including it's own such as Explorer) have ceased to function when they are merely thinking often forcing shutdown.

Detection of newly installed hardware i.e. $100 phone can connect any headset via bluetooth immediately. Windows? Installs my stereo headset as a mono with microphone (but, of course that doesn't matter because, even though it's "installed and working correctly" it doesn't work). Same for attaching a smartphone, epad or external drive directly, most of the time it can't detect they've been attached. Even plugging in a simple USB drive is hit and miss.

Keeping up with the times i.e. I have a PC with USB3 ports. Even with the drivers (claimed by Windows) as installed correctly it simply can't detect and use a USB3 device.

I use a proprietary programme to back up and restore my OS (100% success rate)

Troubleshooting anything e.g. any of the specified problems above. Since the installation of Windows 3.1 I have never had their troubleshooter correct a problem.

(And I have decades of building my own PC's and programming them.)

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I've never successfully managed to use it!
by feduchin / January 18, 2013 2:54 PM PST

I've tried, but I think something gets in the way because it's never said "successful".
I think maybe ZoneAlarm or something gets in the way. I've tried disabling things but it's never happened. I've just had to find other ways to get around whatever problem I had; which indeed I just about always have.
On the whole though, I have found Windows 7 very good, as reliable as XP, but quicker and less likely to experience any problems with.

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by porsche10x / January 18, 2013 10:27 PM PST

Well, didn't quite see the choice I wanted. I do think it's useful, but I've never HAD to use it.

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by alaskagram / January 20, 2013 8:25 AM PST

I have used system restore, but as noted in another reply I had a virus re-install it's self and crashed my whole system.Windows update has a nasty habit of wrecking havoc with my video editing program and system restore was my best friend until it opened me up to infection.Now I am the twice shy guy.I no longer automatically update.By at least looking at the update before installing, I know what caused the crash , if it crashes.

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Oh Yeah ! I use it a lot!
by itsdigger / January 20, 2013 8:44 AM PST

I'm always trying different programs and doing some pretty stupid things on this computer as I treat it like a toy instead of a tool. My other computer is the tool. I install a bunch of stuff just to try it out and I mess it up quite often so if I can't fix it pretty simply, I just do a system restore. it's work every time and it's the best invention since sliced bread.....Digger

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when XP was my OS
by hashiff / January 20, 2013 12:44 PM PST

I used system restore numerous times and always quite successfully. Since I use Win 7 as my OS,(2 years+ now) I have never needed it. I have found 7 to be so trouble free that I recall when I had 95 as my OS I had nothing but trouble and never thought a computer could be as reliable as it now is

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