Copywrite Advantage Computers OL 2011
System Restore...Friend or Foe
Hi everybody. I would like to take a few minutes and talk about a part of Windows that has been around for a long time. The item is called System Restore. System Restore is a feature that allows you to take your system back in time and repair either a bad registry entry or in some cases a poor installation of a program. It can get your system back up and running after a crash as well. Is it reliable? For the most part, no. System restore should never be relied upon as a fail-safe approach to getting your system back up and running.
Let me go into a bit of detail of what system restore does and doesn’t do. When you go to your start menu-programs-accessories-system tools-system restore, you are presented with an option to create a restore point or to take your machine back to previous session. When you click on the restore my computer option, you will be presented with several dates that may be available to restore your computer back to. Once you choose a date and initiate the process, the computer will fall back to date chosen by means of a snap shot taken of your computers drive at that time. Many folks believe that this snap shot is inclusive, but it is far from that. Mainly what you are doing is restoring the registry and some program files. Unless you have a document on your desktop, it will not be lost or brought back by system restore. Once the process completes, your computer will restart and you hold your breath and hope that you get the message that system restore was successful. All too often, it is not.
Because of the unreliability of this utility, it is always a good idea to have a full back up of your files located in a separate location other then your main hard drive. We receive many calls about system restore not allowing its restore points to work or in some cases the restore points have been completely erased. This is caused by either a computer virus or a system error. You cannot bring back an erased restore point nor can you make a restore point that is corrupted work. If you take the time to do a local backup, you will still have an option if the system restore fails. When it works, it is a great utility.
Local backups can be made in many ways. You can simply use a USB stick and copy and paste your files to it. you can use the built in backup system on windows, you can purchase a third party back up program or you can do a complete system clone. You can also use an online backup program like Carbonite. Personally, my favorite way to keep a backup is with a complete system clone. I use a product called Casper, which does an excellent job of this. You can do a system image to either an external hard rive of to a second internal hard rive placed directly in your system case. If you use this option you should also have an external drive as well in case of a catastrophe within your tower. The software does a complete bootable image of your drive and in the event of a disaster, you can easily just change out your hard rive and you are back up in minutes with minimal or no data loss. Remember that it is important to update your clone on a regular basis.
As you can see, regular backups are king, especially those times when system restore just does not want to cooperate.