Using System Restore to Fix Computer Problems

“I Think I Downloaded a Virus”

It’s so easy for your computer to ‘catch a cold.’ Thousands of websites require you to install some kind of special application in order to view them. So people get very used to pressing the ‘OK’ button without reading all the stipulations.

Suddenly you find yourself staring at thousands of advertisements every time you use the computer (this is called adware). Or maybe you find that your home page is changed (the page you start from when you go on the internet), and you can’t seem to change it back to where it was. Or you get an actual malicious virus, and your computer goes haywire.

As time goes on, the more these little programs load themselves onto your computer, the more they become leaches…sucking up your memory and precious computer resources. The result: suddenly it takes your computer three times longer to do anything.

With any of these problems, it can become a real hassle to get rid of them. They make software that’s supposed to fix them, but the software doesn’t always work. They only pick up on a percentage of known viruses or adware.

(On a side note, be very careful about which virus protectors you install on your computer. I recommend only using well known brands with good reputations such as Norton AntiVirus. You’ll see thousands of adware, spyware, and virus removers online…but many of these are actually the very things you’re trying to get rid of. They do get rid of some viruses, but they also install more advertising software on your computer.)

One of the easiest ways to recover from a mistake is to use the System Restore function in Windows XP/Vista. System Restore takes a snapshot of your computer every time you make changes to the system. If you start to notice something wrong after making a change, you can go back to the last time you remember your computer working correctly.

A cool thing about it is, you can make a ‘restore point’ (take a snapshot of your computer system) manually. So if your computer works well right now, go ahead and create a restore point.

Start by clicking your start button (bottom left hand of screen), go to ‘All Programs’, Accessories, System Tools, and clicking on ‘System Restore’.

A window will open up, asking you to choose between creating a restore point or restoring your computer to a previously restored point. Choose to create one, and click next.

Next, you’ll be asked to name the restore point. Choose any name you want, like “My Computer Works Now”, and click next.

To restore your computer to a previously saved point, follow the same procedures, only choose appropriately at the first menu. You’ll be shown a calendar where you can pick a day. Click on a day you remember your computer working properly (you can only choose the dates shown in bold).

The left side of the menu screen offers various restore points within that day. Choose one and follow the directions.

Presto! You’ve just undone any system changes that happened between that time and now, and this will remove a large percentage of viruses…but it won’t do everything.

For example, and this is something good, it won’t erase your emails and personal documents. But you should still back up all of your information. Another thing it won’t always do, and this might be something bad, is remove all of the programs installed during that time. You might have to use the ‘Remove Programs’ function from the control panel.

If a system restore doesn’t help your problem, and the virus removing software doesn’t work, then you might be faced with reformatting your harddrive. But system restore seems to take care of about 90 % of computer problems…so it’s better to try that before going through the headache of reinstalling everything.

Article by, Nov. 02, 2009

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