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Help. My Windows 7 System Restore just doesn't want to work!

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 15, 2013 9:11 AM PDT
Question:

Help. My Windows 7 System Restore just doesn't want to work!


I hope you and the other members can help me out. Like Gary last week,
I am having problems with System Restore in Windows 7. My problem is a
little different. Unlike Gary I can find my System Restore it just
does not work. It never has since I installed the system. I have tried
using it many times using different restore points with the same
results, I always get the following results:

-- System Restore did not complete successfully.
-- System files and setting were not changed.
-- System Restore failed to extract the original copy of the directory from the restore point.
-- Source %System Root%\Registration
-- Destination : ComPlusStaging

I have scanned my system with various antivirus and antimalware
programs and found nothing. I have checked services and Volume Shadow
Copy is on Automatic. Also checked Windows Manager and it is OK. I have
also tried System Restore in Safe Mode with same results. I tried
everything short of complete reinstall, which I really do not want to
do. Can Anyone HELP! Thanks.

--Submitted by Paul C.
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System restore.
by Dafydd Forum moderator / March 15, 2013 9:15 AM PDT

Some antivirus apps will not allow this. Try disabling it and try again.

Dafydd.

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System restore
by dogface69 / March 15, 2013 2:09 PM PDT
In reply to: System restore.

You were correct to say to disable the anti virus software, but he has already done that. By running the restore in safe mode that should automaticly turn the anti virus off . So that won't work.

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(NT) System Restore.
by Dafydd Forum moderator / March 16, 2013 7:17 AM PDT
In reply to: System restore
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System Restore.
by Dafydd Forum moderator / March 16, 2013 7:25 AM PDT
In reply to: System Restore.

Does not always disable Av otherwise you couldn't scan in safe mode.

Dafydd.

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Replace Hard Drive (HHD).
by 3JGProductions / March 22, 2013 6:43 PM PDT
In reply to: System restore

To often during a PC or Laptop malfunction, and or basic application with programs and the Windows operating system, we overlook, maybe the Hard Drive isn't working properly or has met its shelf-life.
Dependent upon its (HHD) age, computer year, you might have to repace it. When you ask for assistance or suggestions please give complete information, concerning, computer make or brand & model number.

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Alternative Replacement
by 1downloader1 / March 24, 2013 3:50 AM PDT

Why not replace the operating system. When I found System Restore didn't work - NOT EVER - I switched to Linux. Since then I've never needed anti-virus, System Restore or any such thing and I've never had a blue screen of death or a black screen of death or any other screen of death for five years; the OS just works - a novel concept I know to Microsoft Windows users, but you can get used to it.

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This is begining to bug me, even though it should not...
by vl1969 / March 24, 2013 9:38 PM PDT

I have only one (1) question to people like you...

ARE YOU COMPLEATLY AND CERTIFYEBLY STUPID OR JUST PRETEND TO BE?

giving advice like this (if something does not work on your windows PC switch to Linux) is stupid 99.5% of the time.
especially when the question is for one or the other secondary functions of the OS.

it's like telling some one who complains about a dome light of his Chevy not working properly to change to Ford, as it is always works for you.

you know the saying: "If you hold a hummer everything looks like a nail to you."

I have used windows since the version 1.0 (yes that old) and I only start to realy like it when win98 came out. I did not like Vista at all(it never worked properly for me ) but I do like win7 (it works greate almost 99.9% of the time), the system restore never worked for me. and you know what, I did not care much anyhow. if everything else is working the way you like/need than find a fix or work around for the future that doesn't and move on.

FYI : I have nothing against Linux, I do not love it but I do not hate it either.
I will use a linux system when I need to. (I have home File server running a version of linux)
I am planning a setup for my Media Server with Linux OS as well.
but that is becouse for those 2 or 3 applications requirements Linux is a vyable OS , as in it can be used successfully (it is commonly used now by many people ,thus help and information is there to use) and it is free and not locked down by licenses so I can experiment with it easealy and freely.
also it can be setup as very lightweight to concerve the power and resources wich is very important for server applications.

but for user workstation use it might not be a good fit for a multitude of reasons.
and just blanket statement like your really get me raildup

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I stand by my answer
by 1downloader1 / March 25, 2013 7:21 AM PDT

I can spell completely and certifiably.

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Yes, please make fun of my spelling.
by vl1969 / March 25, 2013 9:23 PM PDT
In reply to: I stand by my answer

Yes, please make fun of my spelling.
Instead of addressing the real issue.
Like my subject said, I do not know why I even bother anymore.

PS>> BUT I STAND BY MY REPLY TOO

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Thank You!
by shodan816 / December 23, 2013 12:08 AM PST
In reply to: I stand by my answer

Some of us like to fix broken things for no better reason than "they are broken!"

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Perfect Post
by Fredrick Bun / March 27, 2013 2:43 AM PDT

vl1969, I loved your reply, it was dead on, also, don't you hate when people start to try and correct one's spelling, especially when it has nothing to do with the importance of the subject which you were trying to explain, your answer was very interesting, informative and to the point, and what these other people were concerned with was the spelling which is so childish, I could understand if one starts to spell so outrageously that one needs to say something, but on a minor error come on lets grow up.

Thank you for the good reply vl1969, and thank goodness I have more important things to worry about than some misspelled word.

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another funny tale of woe
by James Denison / August 23, 2015 11:44 AM PDT

In the years here I've seen similar all in the windows world. Someone will tell a problem like their restore function not working, then someone will not they don't have th elatest windows OS and that they should upgrade. The person does the upgrade and the same problem comes up. Turns out since it was an upgrade the same trojan, virus, or browser exploit went right along with the upgrade, because it wasn't a clean install.

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Youre right. I too am use to it.
by spittsp / March 27, 2013 10:48 AM PDT

When Ubuntu crashes. It restarts and it is fine. No such luck with Windows.

When Windows restore did not work on my computer I noticed other problems. I eventually had to reinstall Windows and restore worked.

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It works for me 98% of the time.
by wpgwpg / March 15, 2013 9:18 AM PDT

I've used System Restore numerous times since 2002 and it's extremely rare for it not to work in my experience. Obviously if you have corrupted system files, it will fail. You can check for corrupted system files. Open an administrator command prompt and run SFC if the above doesn't help. Click START, then type CMD in the search box, right-click CMD.EXE and click Run as administrator. Then from the command prompt type sfc /scannow.
Another problem could be caused by bad sectors on the hard drive. Run chkdsk & check for that.

Good luck.

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System Restore Really Only Good Run in Safe Mode
by wwgorman / March 16, 2013 11:30 AM PDT

I have used System Restore many times but I have found that it works best in the Safe Mode otherwise you may get the message at the end of the process: "System Restore did not Complete Successfully. No Changes Were Made to your Computer." In the Safe Mode I believe I have had a 100% success rate.

I too had the "Not Valid Microsoft Windows" error and BOUGHT my Windows 7 Professional directly from Microsoft. I called them and they corrected the problem by taking control of my computer and doing whatever voodoo they do.

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System Restore
by adocherty / March 22, 2013 12:59 PM PDT

Thx for the command prompts. I'd forgotten about those since I started using Win 7. Well, I just did the scan and no errors on discs or no bad sectors. I have had so many crashes that I now leave my laptop on all the time as when it shuts down I can't depend on it starting again. I get frozen on the black screen, then it asks if I want Windows to restore to a previous date, but most of the time (not always) it can't. I then use the backup on my external WD hard drive which usually works. I also have a System Repair disc which has been successful in getting me back running but at the present time the disc is still in the drive as I get an error msg that it can't find something when I remove it, (cant remember what it was but not something I was looking for)so I'm totally lost as to what is going on. I only have one antivirus program running (MSE)

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this jogged my brain "I get frozen on the black screen"
by ClissaT / March 22, 2013 4:15 PM PDT
In reply to: System Restore

I have had a problem from the beginning with my win7 laptop where the nVidia driver for the monitor is not working properly. I was getting all sorts of messages portraying all manner of disasters possibly happening. Took me months to work it all out. I kept religious notes on every start-up & have rheems of them now. I still have the driver problem but I now have a simple fix for the times when start-up goes awry.

During start-up you are asked to log-in, then there should be a quick flash & your desktop should appear. Well sometimes I would get that, sometimes I got the original small low res desktop, but often nothing, just a black screen. The cursor would be there for a second or 2 then it was gone too. I did all sorts of things to get that monitor happening like hard shutdowns which just prevoked the little monster even more & brought up all those messages at next start-up!

Eventually I worked out that if it was either the low res screen or no screen, if I waited about 5-20secs of black screen until windows was fully loaded (watching for the little harddrive indicator light to stop blinking) then pressed the start button for about 3 secs until the keyboard lights went out & of course the small low res desktop(if it had come up) also went out, then waited a few more secs, the start button would begin to flash. Then I press it just once & wait between 2secs & 20secs & whalla! the correct nVidia driven desktop appears all in working condition.

Things that can cause the driver to get it's t!ts in a twist are:- using non-standard desktop backgrounds that apparently don't save correctly at shutdown; not shutting down properly; using the laptop on battery right from start-up.

Things that cause all those horrid messages & incorrect self-diagnoses are:- pressing the start button too long the second time & having the whole system shut down (rather than it just going to sleep) which causes various messages on the next start-up again; doing all sorts of things trying to get the black screen to work; redoing start-up all the time, tinkering, taking note of the self-diagnosis & trying those offerings & making yet more changes that are all piling ontop of an existing problem. It hates that! The darned thing learn all these bad habits the more start-up & shutdown cycles it does that contain issues & problems, the further away from a fix you get. You need to give it time to unlearn so it regains proper start-up functions.

Ignore the whole restore crap for now & make sure your drivers are working ok. Then just use the plain desktop background to begin with, give it a few start-ups to learn better habits, then reassess. Yes you still have a restore problem but if it's your driver not working, you now have a way to at least use your pc.

I hope this helps you or others with these annoying issues.

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You'll never have to use System Restore Again
by br7251 / March 22, 2013 9:08 PM PDT

Actually, if you got a Chromebook, you will NEVER have to use System Restore EVER again!! Also, you will NEVER have to WAIT for another UPDATE as long as you live!! And, the bonus here is you will NEVER lose any of your data, because you can put that data on Google Drive!!

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You'll never have to use System Restore Again....
by jcolegrove / April 7, 2013 6:35 AM PDT

As bugs would say...."What a maroon"....WTF....if you can't be part of the solution....don't add to the frustration with this idiotic statement....dude....pull your head out of your ***....the man is looking a constructive answer....

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Completely transparent.
by xxxmichaelking / August 23, 2015 11:33 AM PDT

@jcolegrove and @vl1969 :  the Linux and Chromebook "replies" you guys shot down were both posted for precisely the same reason by two individuals who share a common trait. When guys like that reply "switch to Linux" or "get a Chromebook", they know full well the OP isn't going to take one look at the reply and start reformatting their drive (Linux) or chuck their desktop/laptop out the window and head on down to Best Buy (Chromebook). So why post it then? Because neither of them gives a sh*t about helping the OP, because it's all about them. Their purpose in posting is to show everyone how different, how cool, how avant-garde they are, not to actually help anyone.

Of course, they have no clue that, to those who are more experienced, more mature, more intelligent, more perceptive, and more selfless than they are, all they see is someone holding up a big sign that says " YO !  HEY, LOOK OVER HERE !  MASSIVE INSECURITY RIGHT HERE !  LOOK OVER HERE !  WILL SOMEONE PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO ME AND ACKNOWLEDGE MY UNIQUENESS, MAYBE EVEN ENVY ME A LITTLE ?  PLEASE ?! "

NO.

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two years ago
by James Denison / August 23, 2015 11:48 AM PDT

they might have cared more. Probably not so much now. Tried Linux lately?

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Had the same problem you did
by bigbear639 / March 24, 2013 2:33 PM PDT
In reply to: System Restore

Same procedures, I left my Notebook on all the time too. I eventually found that it was a program. System Mechanic was conflicting with my Antivirus program. System restore failed a number of times and the repair function did not work. I just kept trying Restore and after about 2 hours the Computer started working again

On top that I was unable to update IE9 because my computer never had Service Pack 1 installed. MSFT tryed time and time again to install it by taking control of my Computer. In fact 6:00PM to 6:00 AM on Friday and even upgraded my OS from Windows Home to Ultimate for free and still no SP1. Took the weekend off and we worked on it again Mon 4:00PM until 6:00AM Tue. The Tech was in India and went out of his way to get it upgraded.
It may seem like a lot of time but thee were often times we could not do anything but scan for problems update drivers and extract time and again the setup files which then would fail after an hour. Finally it installed and of course then after he finished I had to completely update Win Security about 110, the another 60 some and then another 40 or so. Then individually hide 77 Language packs, which would have taken 5 hours to install an I don't need them. Computer works like a charm.

Also while we were working on the first computer he attempted to fix my Hotmail/Outlook as it would not run in IE10, but would in another browser setting a shortcut to the other Outlook link worked. He said that many other users had the same problem and that my computer was scheduled to be updated tio fix that problem by mid May. He was able to work on both at the same time and upgraded me from W Home to Pro for free. He also spoke excellent English.

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services
by johncihs / March 23, 2013 3:37 AM PDT

There is the possibility system restore is turned off in services. To get there:
Click on Start
Control Panel
Admininstrative Tools
Click on Services
Scroll down to system restore
System restore should show the service "started" and "automatic"
If not right click on the descriptive line
A box will open
Click on properties
a second box will open
Start the service and then change the startup type to automatic
click ok
close all open windows and try system restore again

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System Restore
by pmishler / March 23, 2013 4:24 AM PDT
In reply to: services

I opened the Services panel and found that System Restore is not listed.
I have Win 7 build 7601.
So now what?

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System Restore
by genetuck / March 23, 2013 8:29 AM PDT
In reply to: System Restore

pmishler, did you ever find System Restore listed in Services? On my Windows 7 I had to do a search in Control Panel to find Services, and when I found it System Restore also was not listed.

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System Restore-not listed
by sidel1932 / March 24, 2013 2:06 PM PDT
In reply to: System Restore

I'm in the same situation, and checking microsoft's web document on System Restore, I see that it is a service that must be requested. Apparently that can be done by going through:
Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > and selecting System Restore

My question is: the pros and cons?
I can see advantages, because I think my backup system only backs up data, not the system (I want to check that).
But what is the cost - in terms of speed and storage?

Is System Restore something I should definitely have?

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System Restore
by genetuck / March 24, 2013 4:59 PM PDT

If I remember this right.........you can turn it on and off by right-clicking Computer in Windows Explorer, click on properties, click on system protection, click on the drive you want to control, click on configure, and turn System Restore on or off. This is for Windows 7 and maybe XP, I didn't check.

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system restore not working
by pchristu / March 23, 2013 8:47 AM PDT
In reply to: services

I have an HP Mini, running Windows 7, and system restore has not run from the beginning; when I try to start it I get the little circling arrow with the statement; Initializing........ This goes on indefinitely and Restore never starts. When I followed your suggestions, under Services there is no listing for System Restore, Restore, Windows System Restore, or any variation on the theme. Any ideas?

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A Good Example of how System Restore Is NOT A BACKUP

Hi Paul,

There are a hundred reasons why System Restore may not be working on your Windows 7 System. Corrupt files, failing hard drive, bad RAM, viruses, malware, and a host of other potential problems. System Restore is a utility provided by the Windows 7 Operating System that affects Windows system files, programs, and registry settings. It can also make changes to scripts, batch files, and other types of executable files on your computer. But System Restore is not intended to be "A BACKUP" for your computer system as much as it is intended to be a "GO BACK" feature when things go wrong. It works best when attempting to recover from a bad update, a faulty driver, or corrupted file. Unfortunately, System Restore is HIGHLY UNRELIABLE as a tool for complete restoration.

Even Microsoft Recommends that users create a System Backup soon after receiving a new computer, or reloading the Windows Operating System. They also suggest you should create a "Recovery Disk" which can serve as a true restoration point for your system, and back up your system on a regular basis.

I've been banging my drum for years here on CNET about backups, and over that time the only thing that's changed is that today it's cheaper and easier than ever to keep your system and files backed up and safeguarded from disaster. This is just my humble opinion of course, but if you are going to spend $400 - $1,000 or more for a computer system, it just makes good sense to spend an extra $50-$60 bucks to have a reliable backup drive. On my home system I think I have 4 hard drives running 24/7. Every one of the hard drives has a clone that sits on my shelf at the ready in case I need it.

My final piece of advice regarding your situation Paul, is to consider doing a "Repair Installation" of Windows 7. Much like System Restore, a Repair Installation is not a cure all, but it should remedy the problem you seem to be having with System Restore not working at all. You should remember that a Repair Installation is a method of LAST RESORT, in an attempt to get Windows 7 functioning properly and at the same time preserving all of your data. If you're planning on attempting this procedure, MAKE SURE YOU BACK UP IMPORTANT FILES FIRST. It sounds like you have Windows 7 working with a few exceptions, so after you back up your files, a repair installation should do the job for you.

Best of Luck

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backup everything
by drdoyle / March 15, 2013 12:47 PM PDT

I like the way you think. So maybe you could help me do this. I want to backup everything including not only the data, but all the programs and operating system; everything! Why; because I don't want to have to reload each program separately, just a one shot load it back in. Can this be done? Some kind of mirror hard drive or cloud drive. Is there a program that does this? These new hard drives just seem to crash more often. -Dan-

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