CPR for XP review:

CPR for XP

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Easy installation; offers added protection over Windows XP's built-in System Restore feature; can rejuvenate most nonbooting systems.

The Bad Minimal documentation; cannot restore systems that have missing boot-level files.

The Bottom Line CPR for XP provides a healthy dose of preventive care for Windows XP systems and can be a potential lifesaver for corrupted, nonbooting systems. If you're worried about possible data loss on XP, this app may well be worth the $30.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.0 Overall

By Bruce Stewart

Registry corruption, changes to hidden boot-level files, or an incompatible software installation can bring Windows XP to its knees. If you run XP and are concerned about possible data loss, or you've already corrupted your system in a way that keeps it from booting up, CPR for XP will be well worth its $30 price tag. This small utility improves upon XP's native System Restore functionality by aggressively setting checkpoints and including some additional boot files. But the real reason to own CPR for XP is the CD, which doubles as a bootable recovery disk for damaged XP systems. By Bruce Stewart

Registry corruption, changes to hidden boot-level files, or an incompatible software installation can bring Windows XP to its knees. If you run XP and are concerned about possible data loss, or you've already corrupted your system in a way that keeps it from booting up, CPR for XP will be well worth its $30 price tag. This small utility improves upon XP's native System Restore functionality by aggressively setting checkpoints and including some additional boot files. But the real reason to own CPR for XP is the CD, which doubles as a bootable recovery disk for damaged XP systems.

Improved checkpoints
CPR for XP works with XP's native System Restore, a nifty feature that allows you to set up checkpoints, or restore points, to return your PC to a precrash state if things go awry. Unlike XP, which overwrites restore points, CPR for XP creates a permanently saved Super Checkpoint when the app is first installed. This permanent checkpoint, and all others created by CPR for XP, includes system boot files such as ntldr, mbr, and boot.ini, which XP's System Restore neglects to save.

CPR for XP kicks into action whenever you start to install another program, creating a checkpoint before any setup or installer program executes. In our tests, CPR for XP recognized every single program we tried to install and offered the option to create a checkpoint first. That's an effective approach, since the majority of system problems are caused by faulty software installations.

Bring nonbooting PCs back to life
The biggest strength of CPR for XP is its ability to restore nonbootable XP systems--that is, PCs that are otherwise dead. Without CPR for XP, nonbooting PCs can't take advantage of XP's System Restore, and they require you, at the very least, to reformat your drive and reinstall your software. But the CPR for XP CD lets you boot into a command-line program and access System Restore snapshots and your PC's data. In most cases, you'll be able to restore the nonbooting PC to a previously set checkpoint, but if not, CPR for XP also lets you off-load data from the system to a disk.

One feature we love: CPR for XP can restore nonbooting PCs back to earlier XP-created checkpoints even if CPR for XP wasn't previously installed.

When boot files go awry
CPR for XP got us out of situations where the XP install disk and disk drive utilities offered only a complete reinstall. We edited XP's Registry, specifically altering hkey_local_machine\software\classes to remove or change critical system files in order to prevent XP from booting, then we tried CPR for XP. The software performed admirably on a damaged PC, but it couldn't restore our system when we completely removed a boot-level file. CPR for XP promises that feature in the next version, but in all fairness, it's not a serious omission; such files are far more likely to be corrupted than totally removed.

The only glitch we found occurred when we had to change the BIOS to boot from a CD. CPR for XP does offer a workaround, though. You can create a bootable floppy from the installation disk, and if you use the floppy in conjunction with the CPR for XP boot CD, you should still be able to start up a corrupted system even if it wasn't previously set to boot from a CD.

Limited documentation
CPR for XP comes with very brief printed documentation and a link to MyEZfix.com's sparse Web site for online help. Luckily, the installation process is easy and self-explanatory, as are the checkpoint dialog boxes that pop up whenever you install a new program on your system. You get free tech-support calls for the first 30 days, and e-mail support is available for an indefinite time. However, telephone support is available only between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday.

If you want to improve upon Windows XP's System Restore protection or try to bring a corrupted XP system back to life, CPR for XP is a good choice. It doesn't do a lot, but what it does can be a real system-saver.

CPR for XP automatically activates and suggests creating a restore checkpoint before any installer program is run.

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