Part of the Microsoft features, System Restore is a way to save your computer if something awful happens to it. It allows you to roll back your system files, registry keys, installed programs and other components on your computer back to a time and date when things were not malfunctioning and going haywire. In many ways it is like time travel for your computer to return to a moment when it was not spinning out of control and shutting down.
Suppose you have a virus or some spy ware that is infecting your computer and you know that it got on your system just a week or two ago. Or suppose that your computer is miserably acting up for reasons you do not even understand. With System Restore, you can manually select a point of restoration by going to your control panel and choosing to System Restore. You choose a date to roll back to and then the computer will erase all files and components and installations and setting changes taking your computer back to that chosen date. Your desktop might change if you changed it recently, all of your chosen settings will not be what they were. You can undo this restore if you wish and get everything back again.
System restore backs up your computer’s registry, the files in your Windows File Protection folder, and your local user profile. Also your COM+ and WMI databases are backed up and so is your IIS Metabase and all the specific file types that are monitored by Windows.
Your computer will be creating natural restore points so that a list will be drawn up for you as you use your computer normally. Whenever something goes wrong, you can choose from this list of restore points because your computer has compiled possible times when you installed or did something that could be causing the problems. When you install anything at all using Windows Installer, or any other installers, System Restore will make it a restore point. If Windows Update installs new updates, another restore point is born. If you install any driver not signed by Windows Hardware Quality Labs, one will be made. Every 24 hours of computer use or every 24 calendar hours, the system will make a system checkpoint and this is only done if the system is idle.
Another restore point will be made if you have kept your computer off for more than 24 hours and then when you turn it on, one will appear. Finally, you can request for your computer to make a restore point anytime that you believe one ought to be necessary. Be aware, though, that each time a new restore point is created, an old one is booted out.
When you rollback your files, you might worry what all you could lose. With Windows Vista, you will not lose any personal files in My Documents. That is certain, so if you want to protect something then putting it in that folder will guarantee that it stays safe no matter when you restore your computer back to. Also, you can restore your system as long as you boot up normally or through safe mode. If your computer doesn’t boot up at all, you can’t do the restore at all and will have to try to use something else to restore your system.