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System Restore Problems

by Ed Bellah / March 1, 2007 10:44 PM PST

I am running an HP Pavilion a1624n with Win XP Media Center 2005, running on a wireless network with one other desktop and one laptop. I also use Firefox browser and have NAV 2007. I have had this PC for about two months and the first time or two that I tried System Restore, it worked OK, Now, (with System Restore turned ON),it has gone downhill and when I try to run it, it goes through the process but at the end I get the error message "your computer cannot be restored to 00/00/00. No changes have been made." It does not make the automatic 24 hour restore points, even though it does make restore points when new programs are installed and manual restore points can be made. It works fine in Safe Mode using the rstrui.exe command. This latest problem started yesterday. When I go through the Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Restore channel, I get the popup error message, "System Restore is not able to protect your computer. Please restart your computer, and then run System Restore again." The same message pops up after restart.

Is there any way to fix this or to re-install only System Restore from the Recover partition (D:)? Any help appreciated.

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I forgot to add
by Ed Bellah / March 1, 2007 11:06 PM PST

that now, even when trying to use the Safe Mode rstrui.exe, I still get the "System Restore is not able to protect your computer. Please restart your computer, and then run System Restore again" error message, so System Restore function is completely unaccessible at this point.

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Looks grim. See link.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 1, 2007 11:50 PM PST
In reply to: I forgot to add
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Just a small point
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 2, 2007 5:39 AM PST

You mentioned that System Restore does not make automatic 24 hour restore points.

As I understand it, there is no in-built scheduler with XP's System Restore and so you cannot schedule it to create restore points every 24 hours. You probably can with the Task Scheduler.

Also, the 24 hour automation is not what we think of as the 24 hour clock, eg everyday at noon, etc, but instead it is 24 hours of continuous usage. If XP is running continuously for 26 hours for instance, then after 24 hours a restore point would have been created. But if the system is turned off, or rebooted, the 24 hour time period is reset.


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Ed Bellah
by tomron / March 2, 2007 6:08 AM PST
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Thanks to Bob, Markflax and tomron
by Ed Bellah / March 2, 2007 6:52 AM PST
In reply to: Ed Bellah

Thanks for all the tips. First to Bob, I went through all the tips and did manage to fix the accessibility problem. I can now access System Restore, but am back to where I was earlier. System Restore will not restore by going thru Start\Accessories\System Tools, but does work in Safe Mode with the rstrui.exe.

For Markflax, I wasn't sure about the 24 hour automatic restore point, but before posting I left my PC on for 36 continuous hours and no point was established. I'll try again and see what happens.

Tomron, I went through your links and the only thing I could find that may be a problem was the post about searching for the sr.inf file, right-clicking and installing, which resolved that problem. I did a search and don't have the sr.inf file. I have another HP Pavilion (with WinXP HE) and did a search on it and found the file in the Windows/inf directory. I do not have a Windows/inf directory on this machine (WinXP Media Center Edition 2005). Could this be a problem?

Again thanks for all the helpful information.

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What I would do
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 2, 2007 7:16 PM PST

Disabling System Restore is a favorite trick of virus and spyware writers. Here is what I would do.

1] Remove all restore points by turning off System Restore, (right click My Computer, select Properties, then the "System Restore" tab). Viruses and other malware often get saved with backups in restore points, so removing all restore points gets rid of those. As SR isn't working for you at the moment in Normal Mode, you are not losing anything.

2] Beef up your PC security, eg;

a) You need a firewall,
b) You need an anti-virus, running in the background, and kept uptodate with its virus defintions,
c) You need two or more anti-spyware apps, one of which should be running in the background, and all of which are kept uptodate.

3] Goto Housecall, , and run a full online anti-virus scan. Remove everything it finds.

4] Download all uptodate virus and spyware definitions, then reboot into Safe Mode and run the anti-virus application and all the anti-spyware applications, one at a time, in Safe Mode. Remove everything they find. In Safe Mode this will take a while.

These are the anti-malware apps I use;

a) Firewall - ZoneAlarm free, (anti-virus and anti-spyware components disabled).
b) AVG Free anti-virus, always running in the background.
c) Windows Defender, always running in the background.
d) AVG Free anti-spyware, used as backup scanner
e) Spybot Search & Destroy, used as a backup scanner
f) SpywareBlaster, used as a preventer, it inoculates the OS and does not work as a scanner.

5] When all these have done, return to Safe Mode and download, install and run CCleaner, to remove all cookies, Temporary Internet Files, temp files, and history files.

6] Turn System Restore back on, and create a new System Restore point.

Hopefully this will clean your system, and you will get System Restore working again.


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Re-installing system restore
by glennlee / March 3, 2007 3:55 AM PST
In reply to: What I would do

Virus writers often disable the system restore function as part of their devious mischief. I had this happen to me, and system restore was still inoperable after finding and removing the virus. I successfully re-installed system restore be following the detailed instructions here. Some files are "hidden" so pay attention to details.

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Thanks Glenn
by Ed Bellah / March 3, 2007 9:49 AM PST

I had tried doing the install of sr.inf, but as you say, it asked for the Win XP CD. This is an HP Pavilion with the system recovery partition (D:) and no CD. I am going to contact MS and ask for one, if possible. I do have a purchased Windows XPwSP2 Home on another PC with the CD, but I don't know if it would work on this one, which is XP Media Center Edition 2005. Anyway, I saved and printed out your step-by-step for possible later use. Thanks,

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Thanks Mark,
by Ed Bellah / March 3, 2007 9:42 AM PST
In reply to: What I would do

I went through and did all the tasks you recommended. I ran all of the scans in Safe Mode and only SpybotS&D came up with one tracking cookie. I had run the scans over the last two days, but not in Safe Mode. I had quit using ZoneAlarmPro since my wireless router has it's own firewall, but I enabled the ZAP again, with anti-virus and anti-spyware disabled as you recommended. Also, I went to WindowsUpdate and downloaded all updates that I didn't have, then I downloaded and ran Windows Defender, and lo and behold - System Restore works OK for now. It creates restore points when applications are installed and we'll see about the automatic points later. By the way, how do you get Windows Defender to run in the background? I can only close or minimize the program. Thanks for everything.

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I'm glad you got it sorted
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 3, 2007 6:28 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks Mark,

Hi Ed,

Congratulations on getting System Restore back. Good work.

I bet your Windows Defender is already working in the background. Two ways to check;

1] Task Manager - Press CTRL + ALT + DEL together. In the Task Manager window, click the "Processes" tab, and then click the column header for "Image name", (to sort into alphabetical). If you can see MsMpEng.exe running, then that is Windows Defender.

2] Open your Services console - Goto Start > Run, type in "services.msc", (without the quotes), and click OK. In the right hand window, scroll down until you see Windows Defender. Its Status should show Started, and its Startup Type should show Automatic. If not, then highlight the entry, right click it, and select "Properties". In the Properties window, change the Startup type: to Automatic.

About your lack of an XP CD. I doubt if Microsoft will supply you with one for your HP computer, because they will say you should approach HP themselves. In fact that's the advice we give. Where computer retailers sell PC's with OEM Operating Systems installed but no CD's, then the retailers should be asked to supply them. There may be a small charge.

Also, about the XP CD you already have for another machine. You're right that using that for "this" computer may not work. Although that CD may install XP OK, validation will be a problem because that CD is already validated on another computer.

Well done in sorting this out.


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