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HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Using Microsoft System Restore (Windows Vista)

This document applies to HP and Compaq computers with Windows Vista.

This document explains how to use and troubleshoot the Microsoft System Restore feature in Windows Vista.

NOTE: Microsoft's System Restore program is not the same program as the HP or Compaq System Recovery process. HP System Recovery restores the entire software configuration back to way it originally came from the factory.

About System Restore

System Restore is Windows software that creates restore points, a "memory" of the system files and settings on the computer at a particular point in time. System Restore creates restore points automatically and you can create a restore point as needed.

When System Restore is used to restore the system, it replaces currently used files and settings with files and settings from another time. For example, after a new computer is started for the first time, a restore point is created. Two days later, several system files are accidentally removed causing Internet Explorer to stop working. With System Restore, you can restore the system back to the first day, fixing the problem.

If the problems do not go away or become worse after performing a system restore, you can use System Restore again to go back.


Creating a restore point

Windows Vista automatically creates restore points at regularly scheduled intervals and before many software installations. If you would still like to create a restore point manually, use the following steps:

  1. To be safe, backup any important files before creating a restore point.

  2. Click Start , right-click Computer, and select Properties.
  3. From the tasks pane on the left, click System Protection.

  4. Select a disk from the list, usually (C:), and then click the Create button.

    Figure 1: System Protection tab

  5. Enter a name that describes the restore point.

    Figure 2: Window for entering the restore point description

  6. Click Create.

  7. When finished, Windows opens a window stating that the restore point was created successfully.

    Figure 3: Success message


Restoring Windows to a previous point

If the computer stops working correctly, you can restore it to a previous point in time. Use the following steps to restore your computer’s configuration:

  1. To be safe, backup any important files before restoring from a restore point.

  2. Close any software windows that are open.

  3. Click Start , All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then System Restore.

    The "Restore system files and settings" window opens.

    Figure 4: "Restore system files and settings" window

  4. Select Choose a different restore point, and click Next.

  5. Select a date and time from the list of available restore points and click Next. All affected system files will be added, removed, or changed to the same versions that were in the computer's system file configuration on the selected date.

    CAUTION: Software and drivers installed after the selected date may not work correctly and may need to be reinstalled.

    Figure 5: "Choose a restore point" window

  6. Click Finish in the "Confirm your restore point" window.

  7. Click Yes in the confirmation message that opens.

  8. The computer should shut down and turn back on automatically after the restoration completes.

    The Restoration Complete window appears.

    Figure 6: Success message

  9. Click OK. The computer has now been restored to a previous time when it worked correctly.

    NOTE: If an error message appears stating that the computer cannot be restored to the point selected, try System Restore again using a different restore point. If errors persist, the only option may be to use HP System Recovery to revert the computer back to the original software configuration.
  10. After System Restore is finished, update computer software as follows:

    1. Update the system virus definitions. For more information, go to the Resolving and Preventing Viruses on Your Computer page.

    2. Get the latest critical system updates using Microsoft's Windows update. For more information, go to the Updating Drivers and Software with Windows Update page.

    3. Update the software on the computer from the HP Website. For more information, go to the Obtaining Software and Drivers page.


Undoing a restore

To set the software configuration as it was, slightly prior to when system restore was used, use System Restore again. Select a restore point that occurs prior to the date of the System Restore and is described with "Undo: Restore Operation".

Figure 7: "Choose a restore Point" window


Restoring when Windows Vista cannot start normally

Use the following steps when Windows does not open:

  1. Turn off the computer and wait at least 5 seconds with the computer in a full off state.

  2. Turn on the computer and press the F8 key repeatedly as the computer starts.

    An "Advanced Boot Options" screen opens.

  3. Select Repair Your Computer and press Enter.

  4. Select a keyboard layout that matches your country/region and click Next.

  5. When the login prompt appears, select the user name with Administrator rights (not Administrator) from the User Name drop down. The user name with Administrator rights is most likely the first user name that was entered during the initial computer setup.

  6. Type the logon password into the Password field and then click OK.

    NOTE: If you do not know the password, leave the Password field blank and click OK. If you are unable to get past the password window, notify the system administrator for the password or perform an HP System Recovery to restore the system to its previous state.

    A System Recovery Options window opens.

    Figure 8: System Recovery Options

  7. Click System Restore.

  8. Use System Restore as normal to restore Windows to a previous point .


System Restore fails

Use the following steps if System Restore fails to create a restore point or fails to restore.

Step 1: Disable Virus Scanning protection

Malware scanning software can have built-in protection systems that prevent other software programs from altering their structure - including Windows System Restore. When System Restore is unable to use the files of the scanning software, System Restore fails and gives the following message:

Restoration Incomplete. Your computer cannot be restored ...

To successfully restore your system, temporarily disable virus scanning and the built-in protection. As an example, many HP and Compaq desktop computers come with Symantec Norton software. If your computer has Norton Internet Security, you can use the steps that follow to temporarily disable its built-in protection.

  1. Open Norton Internet Security.

  2. Click the Settings page to open and view the settings.

  3. Click Virus and Spyware Protection options under the Additional Options section.

  4. Remove the selection from Turn on protection for my Symantec product.

    Figure 9: Turn on protection for my Symantec product

  5. After you have successfully completed a System Restore, repeat this procedure, selecting Turn on protection for my Symantec product to make sure Norton is protected against threats.

Step 2: Enable System Restore

If System Restore does not work in Windows Vista, make sure that it is enabled and active. Use the following steps to make sure System Restore is enabled and active:

  1. Click Start , right-click Computer, and select Properties.
  2. From the tasks pane on the left, click System Protection.

  3. Make sure that the main drive, usually (C:), is selected in the Automatic restore points section:

    • If the drive is not selected, select it and click OK. This was the problem.

    • If the drive is already selected, close the System Properties window. To use system recovery, try creating a restore point as described in this document. If that does not work, to use system restore, you may need perform a System Recovery to revert the computer back to its original software configuration.

    Figure 10: Main drive with System Restore enabled

Step 3: Using System Restore from Safe Mode

Use the following steps to open and use System Restore in Windows Vista safe mode:

  1. Turn on the computer and immediately press the F8 key repeatedly until a startup menu opens.

  2. From the Advanced Boot Options Menu select Safe Mode with command prompt and press Enter.

  3. At the command prompt, type rstrui.exe, and then press Enter.

  4. Read and respond to the screens to restore the system.

  5. Reconnect the network connection when finished.

Step 4: Start from Windows System Recovery Options

Use the section Restoring when Windows Vista cannot start normally to open System Restore from the System Recovery Options screen.


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