How to Do a System Recovery

By Techwalla Computers Editor

If your Windows PC crashes, you may need a system recovery. If you've created restore points or backed up your system with Windows' automated system recovery software, this will be a fairly simple task. Recovery will take less time, and you won't have as much data loss. If you haven't backed up your system, you may need to use the recovery CD provided by your computer manufacturer.

Things You'll Need

  • Automated System Recovery floppy disk
  • Backup file
  • Windows XP CD
  • OEM CD

Step 1

Turn on the computer. Hit the "F8" key until a screen named "Windows Advance Options Menu" displays.

Step 2

Arrow down to "Last Known Good Configuration." Press the "Enter" key. Select "Windows XP" and hit "Enter." The computer will be restored to the last good restore point.

Step 3

Click the Windows "Start" button. Select "Programs," "Accessories," and "System Tools." Choose "System Restore." Choose "Restore Computer to an Earlier Time." Click "Next."

Step 4

Choose a restore point. Follow the prompts to restart the computer. If you still get an error, return to the "System Restore" tool and choose an earlier restore date.

Step 5

Run the restore from DOS if you can't get into Windows. Hit the "F8" key when the computer starts. Choose "Safe Mode-Command Prompt Only." Type "C:" at the command window. Type "systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe." Choose a restore point.

Step 6

Put the Windows XP CD in the CD-ROM drive and reboot the computer. Press "F2" to run Automated System Recovery from the Windows setup screen. Insert your Windows Automated System Recovery floppy disk into the drive and hit any key. After Windows setup starts to run, it will enter automated system recovery. Follow the prompts to select the last backup file.

Step 7

Locate your OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Recovery CD. This should be labeled "system recovery" and have the computer manufacturer's logo on it (for example, HP or Dell). Insert the CD into the CD drive. Reboot the computer. Follow the prompts to restore the system.

Tips & Warnings

  • After you restore to an earlier point, you must update your anti-virus definitions and Windows updates.
  • Running system recovery from your OEM CD will erase your hard drive. You will lose all data and will have to reinstall programs. Do this step only as a last resort.
  • If you need to completely restore your drive, remove your hard drive. Install a new hard drive and install Windows on it. Put in your old drive as a secondary drive. You should be able to copy some of your data from the old drive to the new one.