How to Do a Full System Restore

By Contributing Writer

You've bought a computer, it works well and everything's peachy-keen. Unfortunately, 4 months later, something goes terribly wrong. You don't know what it is, or how to fix it, and you've resigned yourself to digging through the piles of CDs to find the operating system disk to completely wipe your computer.But there's a better way. Windows computers have a function called system restore, which will restore your computer to a time before everything went haywire.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows XP or Vista

Step 1

For both operating systems (OS), go to the Start menu, in the bottom left of your screen.

Step 2

Scroll up to Programs.

Step 3

Scroll to Accessories.

Step 4

Scroll to System Tools, and select System Restore.

Step 5

For XP, a window will come up asking you if you want to create a restore point or restore the computer to an earlier time. Click the first choice.For Vista, it's much simpler. After you select system restore, a window will come up with a recommended restore point, or the choice to choose a different restore point. Click either one you want, depending on whether you have a backed-up date in mind.

Step 6

For XP, a window with a calendar will appear. Dates marked in bold are days when a backup took place. Click on whatever day you want, and depending on what occurred that day, there may be more than one back up. Choose the one you want, and hit Next.Vista is much simpler. After you've made you choice from the previous step, it will ask you to confirm that this is the date you wish to restore to. Just hit Finish, and let it do its thing.

Step 7

In XP, you'll now see a window asking whether this is the date you want to restore to, as well as warnings regarding loss of recent work. If you're sure, hit Next, and let the computer roll back to before everything came crashing down.