How to Restore the System to an Earlier Date

By Gerri Blanc

Windows users who experience computer problems after adding programs, or after a virus has found its way onto the system can take advantage of the System Restore option. This brings your computer back to a previous state of normalcy depending on the date you choose. After restoring the system, your computer's processing will revert to its previous state.

For Windows XP

Step 1

Click on the "Start" menu in the lower left corner, then click on "All Programs."

Step 2

Click on "Accessories." Then choose the option titled "System Tools." A drop down menu will appear on the right. Click on the option "System Restore."

Step 3

Once the window titled "System Restore" appears, click on the option "Restore my computer to an earlier time." A new window will pop up, prompting you to pick a date to which the wizard will restore the computer's settings.

Step 4

Close any open programs, because your computer will shut down to restore the system. When it restarts, your computer will revert to the state it was in at the date you selected.

For Windows 7 and Windows Vista

Step 1

Press F8 on your keyboard.

Step 2

A window will open with some options; choose "System Recovery."

Step 3

Type in your user name and password when the prompt comes up. A window will then pop up with five recovery options.

Step 4

Click the option "System Restore." Follow the System Restore wizard to complete the process. Your computer will restart after you determine the date to which you want to restore your PC.

Tips & Warnings

  • Any program that caused problems for your computer will leave files on your PC regardless of the system restore. You will need to remove the program using the Add/Remove Programs option on your Control Panel.