IMPORTANT: System Restore Information UPDATED
Many have posted multiple times what System Restore Will do and what System Restore Won't Do but this advice is often ignored because at least once a week somebody will post saying they used System Restore for something and it didn't work, they went back weeks to get a "good" restore point or they used System Restore and now they can't use a program, can't find a program or parts of a program are missing. Or somebody else has advised the use of System Restore for something that it is not designed to do.
Because of this I felt compelled to create this thread in hopes that everybody will read it BEFORE using System Restore.
System Restore is not the "end all and be all" for fixing something as many people seem to think.
When offering advice concerning System Restore I have relied on these threads from Ask Leo
System Restore is Not a Substitute for Backing Up
Why isn't there a restore point where I want to go back to?
Occasionally in malware removal threads we have seen the advice given:
"go to system restore and then restore to a day prior to the contamination"
Bad Advice. System Restore cannot be counted on to uninstall a program and this includes an infection. You have to look at an infection as a bad program. It won't remove it, it may only remove the footprints you need to FIND the infection. In Addition, it is almost impossible to know for sure WHEN the infection entered the computer. You may experience symptoms of the infection and wrongly believe that was the moment the infection came onto your computer but in reality sometime in the past days, weeks or even a month may have been when that very first "crumb" of the infection came onto the computer just to wait. What is it waiting for? It is waiting for the user to "pull the trigger". What is that trigger? Each infection that may be hiding has it's own trigger. After removals have begun it may be possible to find that trigger, but many times that is not possible.
Now for what I have found doing additional research in recent days, including the differences in System Restore in XP and System Restore in subsequent operating systems, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Windows XP; when it seemed we might benefit from using it, it may not quite work how we expect.
recover data files.
be removed. For example, people have reported losing recently downloaded
files after doing a System Restore. Hence, it is advisable to place any
such files in the My Documents folder or some sub-folder of the My Documents
folder as that folder is specifically protected from System Restore.
System Restore Removes Files During a Restore Procedure
Windows automatically makes restore points now and then such as when installing critical updates. This is not really a substitute for making backups and the results will be mixed.
One real difference is that you can check what programs will be affected when using a restore point, but it will really only detect programs that were actually uninstalled, not just corrupted. But you must Choose to Check this when considering System Restore, it will not show you this automatically. After choosing your restore point then you must click the button that says Scan for Affected Programs in order to receive the information.
See my attachment #1
Suppose you accidentally UNINSTALL a program you did not want to remove, say you hit the one below the program you actually want to remove in Uninstall a Program for instance. Can you get that back? Highly unlikely.
See attachment #2.
There you see exactly what I saw on my own System Restore. I chose the oldest point available, which you should NEVER choose but I chose it to make a point, it was the date of the last Windows Updates done, January 9, 2013.
Take a look at all programs that will likely be Uninstalled (there are 6 Programs including Firefox 220.127.116.11 and 11 Windows Updates) and what programs it says that MIGHT be reinstalled, it also says "These programs might not work correctly after the restore and might need to be reinstalled." There are 9 programs, including Firefox 17.0.1 and 2 drivers!
So I could lose nearly ALL of the updates I had done to various programs over the last month, including TWO for Firefox, taking me back to version 17.0.1 which may not work right because it "came back" do to using System Restore, plus ALL of the Updates Done on January 9, 2013 would be removed, meaning I would have to reinstall them again. I also could "get back" two drivers that were incorrect and very likely would compound the problems I had because of those in the first place.
Did I go forward with that System Restore? Of course not, this was just a "test run" to show exactly what may have happened if I had.
The whole point of this post is to say Don't jump into using System Restore if you are having any type of problem. You may compound those problems beyond repair. Can you "undo" a System Restore, yes on the new operating systems, but this does NOT guarantee that it will be 100% undone.
System Restore is NOT the "Magic Fixer" and you should never consider it to be, it was not considered to be either when it was created. It should never be considered something that will bring your computer back 100% to a state it was before because it absolutely will NOT.
To take the computer back to what it was, when you knew it operated 100% correctly, your software all worked correctly, etc., then use and Imaging Program to create an Image of the the drive and all contained and save it someplace OFF the computer, a DVD, External drive, wherever it will be safe and easily accessable if you need it.
1.Dell Inspiron 17 5759
Windows 10 64bit
Firefox v.52.0 ;WLM2012; Avira Free, Windows Firewall, MBAM, SpywareBlaster, SUPERAntispyware
2.Dell Inspiron N7010; Laptop Windows 7 64bit SP1
*same programs as computer 1 above*
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