How to Revert Back to a Restore Point in Windows 7

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The following steps are for in the event that you need to revert your Windows 7 computer back to the previous configuration state of saved restore point. To understand more about restore points and how to create them in the first place, see tutorial on creating restore points.

To revert Windows 7 back to a saved restore point…

1. Go to Control Panel

Windows 7 Control Panel
2. Click on “System and Security” …

Windows 7 System Security
3. Click on “System” …

Click System in Windows 7

4. Click on “System protection” link
Windows 7 System Protection

5. In the “System Properties” dialog, click the “System Restore” button …
Windows 7 System Restore

6. A dialog will come up saying that the restore may have the possibility of uninstalling some software and drivers. But it will not affect your documents and personal files. In other words, deleted files will not get restored. Restore points are not for data backups. In the same token, newly created files will not disappear either after a restore. Restoring from a restore point should not alter any user data files or documents. Only system settings will revert back to the restore point state. Click “Next” to continue.

Windows 7 system restore dialog

7. The next dialog will list your possible restore points with the time and date of each restore point. Checkmark “Show more restore points” in order to see more.
Restore Point selection dialog in Windows 7

As you can see, some restore points were automatically created by Windows 7 upon major events such as system updates. Windows 7 will usually will create a restore point prior to installation of most software (but not all software installation will trigger a creation of a restore point). A restore point is also automatically created by Windows 7 prior to doing a restore. Hence it is possible to “undo” a restore. Except when you are doing a restore during “safe mode” or using the System Recovery Option — then there is no undo for the restore.

Note that when the System Restore disk space fills up, old restore points are deleted as new restore points are created.

8. To see what might be affected by the restore, you can click the “Scan for affected programs” button which will give you a dialog listing any programs and/or drivers that might be deleted or restored during the process.

Shows programs affected by restore of restore point

9. Click the “Next” button to proceed with the restore.

10. Confirm your restore point by clicking “Finish” button …

Confirm Windows 7 restore
Windows 7 will have to restart in order to complete the restore process. So save any files and close any programs before doing this.

11. Once the restore process starts, it can not be interrupted. So one final dialog, ask if you want to continue …

Windows 7 final restore point dialog
Click Yes.

12. After an automatic system restart, you should see a dialog confirming that the restore was successful

Windows 7 restore successful

13. Since we had just done a restore, if you go back to the System Restore dialog, you will see an option to undo this restore.

Option to Undo Restore in Windows 7
This undo will not be possible if you had done the restore while in Safe Mode or under System Recovery options.

14. And if you go back to look at the list of restore points now after the restore, you will see an extra restore point that Window 7 created for you just prior to the restore. This restore point is used for the undo function.

Restore point created in Windows 7
This extra restore point will not be present if you had done the restore while in Safe Mode or under System Recovery options.

Windows 7 will often automatically create a restore point just prior to a software installation. But there might be a possibility that it might not do so for all software installations. Below, we see that it had automatically created an restore point prior to installation of Adobe Lightroom 3 Beta, Java, and OpenOffice.org

Windows 7 restore points

Note: The screen-shots use are taken on a Sony Vaio VPC-CW21FX laptop with Windows 7.

More information:

For more information on creating restore points, see …

  • page 234 of Windows 7 for Dummies
  • page 831 to 833 of Windows 7: The Definitive Guide

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