How To Undo Changes To Your Computer Using System Restore In Windows 7

In this article I will walk you through the steps to take to do a system restore which will hopefully undo any undesired changes that may be affecting your computer’s performance. One of the common reasons that people may wish to complete a system restore, is due to the user having added a program or driver that is causing the system to become slow, unresponsive or just plain doesn’t function as well as it used to. Another cause could be an update via Microsoft that is conflicting with something.

Performing a system restore will not affect any of your documents or stored data such as personal photos, email etc.

Before you being this though it would be advisable to stop any antivirus program you may have running as some of them can be overly protective when it comes to creating system changes and may prevent you from completing a restore. From personal experience Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is usually OK when performing a System Restore.

To access the part of Windows that will allow you to run the System Restore function, go to your Start button (or just press the Windows key) and type System Restore. You will see System Restore highlighted, so just select it.

search for system restore

Upon clicking on this you will be presented with the first System Restore window that will enable you to select a restore point. By default it will recommend that you use the most recently created restore point as this will be when Windows was working correctly.

System Restore Window

If you wish to instead choose another restore point from an earlier point, then select the second option of Choose a different restore point, which will present you with earlier dates. If you are choosing this option I would also check the box next to Show more restore points. This is a better way to perform this function especially if the computers problems have been happening for a while now as it may give you a hint as to what may have caused the issue to start with.

look for an older restore point

You will also notice that there is a button called Scan for affected programs. This will give you a better picture of what programs will be affected as well as any updates from Windows that will be removed. In the image below for example, you can see that I installed VirtualBox on my system, so if I performed a System Restore using this restore point I would have to reinstall the program again. (FYI VirtualBox is a very useful program and I have never had an issue with it)

scanning for affected changes in system restore

affected programs for older restore point

Once you have decided what restore point you wish to go back to, select it (it will now be highlighted) and hit Next.

You will now get a confirmation window informing you of the restore point you have chosen and which drive it will affect. (normally your system drive which is C:)

You will also notice that it advises you to create a Password Reset Disk. If you have recently created a new Admin password and are unsure as to what it was, then you should create one as after the restore has been completed the Admin password will have been changed back to the one that was present at the time to which you are going back to.

When you are ready simply hit Finish.

confirm system restore point

You will now see a warning window which will tell you that when the system restore process begins, it cannot be interrupted until it has finished. How long will a system restore take will depend on how far you are taking the computer back as well as which programs/updates will be removed. The speed of your computer will also have an effect on the time that this process takes.

This is also the last time to back out if you want to. To do this just hit No and the system restore will not run.

To start the system restore just hit Yes.

system restore warning

Now depending on what point you are taking the computer back to or the speed of your machine, you may want to go a gram a cup of tea whilst it does its thing. The last time I had to run one it only took 5 mins to complete and reboot. The longest time I have seen a system restore take was about 30 mins, and that was on a pretty old machine where I used a very old restore point to go back to.

When the process has finished the computer will reboot itself and when the desktop comes back up, you will hopefully see a confirmation window that the computer has been set back to the point you chose.

system restore completed after boot

If you still find that you are having issues, then try another restore point.

Remember though that this will have removed any important updates from Microsoft for your computer from that point, so you should perform an update as soon as you are able.

Another way to perform a system restore is by using your System Rescue Disk or Windows Install DVD as these contain some great System Recovery Options. If you haven’t created a System Rescue Disk then I would advise that you do this as soon as you can as it can help with quite a few problems that you may have. To create one follow this tutorial.

If you can’t get to the operating system to perform a system restore in the way shown above and you also don’t have a System Rescue Disk or install disk then you can download an untouched (new) install disk legally for your version of Windows 7 here. Just make sure that you choose the one that matches the operating system that you are currently running. You will then have to change the boot order in BIOS to boot to one of these disks.

To access System Restore via the System Rescue Disk or Install disk or to find out what some of the other System Recovery options do, then please see the bottom part of this article which will explain further on how to do this.

I hope this has been of use to you, and if you have any questions, then please feel free to ask in the comments below and I will try to help you out.

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