Restore and recover a Windows PC How to create a system restore point

If your PC starts behaving erratically, a restore point lets you return Windows to an earlier working state. This process takes a snapshot of key system files, letting you restore your PC to this state.

Making restore points is simple, and restoring your PC won’t affect your documents or files. You should create a restore point before you make any changes to your PC, such as installing new software or hardware.

Does your PC need replacing with a new one? See our guide to buying a new PC.

Creating a system restore point

Take the following steps in Windows 7:

Click Start and type the words system restore, then click the Create a restore point link that appears.

In the dialogue box that opens, click the Create button. Type a name for your restore point – it’s best to choose something that’s easy to for you to recognise later on. Finish by clicking Create and then Close.

Create a restore point

When to use a system restore point

If your computer starts behaving erratically, or slows down, it could be worth rewinding it to a better working prior state by using your earlier created system restore point.

This is particularly useful if you suspect the cause of your PCs current problems occurred after the installation of a certain program. Or if you know that your system was performing well before a certain date.

Using your system restore point

Using a previously created system restore point is easy, simply follow these instructions: Press the Windows key on your keyboard and type system restore.

Click the Restore system files and settings from a restore point link that appears. Click Next. Highlight the restore point you want to revert to in the list that appears (you can check the Show more restore points option at the bottom for older restore points). Click Next, and a summary screen will be displayed.

Show restore points
Click Scan for affected programs. This will display a list of any software that may be removed or restored by the process. It’s worth taking a moment to look over this list, just in case any important programs you use are affected. Make a note of these then click Close > Finish > Yes.
Scan for affected programs

Eventually, your PC will restart and display a summary of the procedure. Click Close.

Now that your system has restored to a more stable version of itself you should be free to reinstall any programs that the system restore has removed (as noted during the Scan for affected programs stage).

More on this…

  • How to back up your data – our guide to safely backing up your data
  • Speed up a slow computer – how to make a slow computer run faster
  • Best hard drive brands – customer satisfaction revealed in our Which? survey

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