How to Find a Restore Point on a Computer

By Margaret Worthington

Windows System Restore, a feature of the Windows operating system that was introduced with Windows XP, is a great way to help undo problems and changes on your computer. It operates by taking periodic "snapshots" of the state of your computer so that if a problem occurs, you can roll back your computer to a snapshot that was taken before the problem occurred. A great feature of System Restore is that it doesn't touch your data, only the Windows system files.

Step 1

Start your computer and log in to Windows. You should log in to Windows with an administrator-level account, such as the built-in user account named "Administrator" or with a regular user account that has administrator privileges. This will help avoid any issues when working with System Restore.

Step 2

Press the "Start" button, then choose "All Programs." Select the "Accessories" section, then go to the "System Tools" and choose the "System Restore" program from the list.

Step 3

Choose the option to restore your computer to an earlier point in time when the System Restore program window appears, then click the "Next" button. A calendar will appear that offers a list of restore points and some limited information about what occurred on the system during those restore points. Many program installations and changes will cause the computer to create a restore point directly before the change was made and will label those restore points as such.

Step 4

Click on the date that you want to go back to, then select a restore point from that date.

Step 5

Click the "Next" button once you've selected a restore point and the computer will attempt to revert back to that time. The computer will reboot during this process. Once finished, it will let you know if the restoration was successful.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Windows restoration process that is used by the System Restore program is largely reversible, so if you restore your computer and find that doing so did not solve your problem, you can undo the changes.
  • If you have performed a lot of computer operations, such as transferring files or making large system changes, System Restore migt not work on your computer. You can help overcome this by changing the System Restore settings so that the computer creates a restore point on a more frequent basis.

References & Resources