If your computer starts doing weird things, slowing to a crawl, displaying cryptic error messages or even popping up warnings that you have 398 dangerous threats that need to be removed, it can cause some concern. I deal with each of these situations differently (after making sure the data is backed up of course).
However, in some cases, the problem is just rooted too deeply into the system to eliminate it using the most common methods. In those cases, one thing to try is System Restore. This is the function that allows you to take your computer back to the state it was in on a previous date.
For example, if you noticed all of these problems happening on Monday the 19th, you could take your computer back to Saturday the 17th. I usually like to play it safe and choose a date that is well prior to when the problem started.
In order for this to be an option, however, System Restore must be turned on. If it is not turned on, it is not saving any previous dates to which we can restore, and that option is not available.
Here is how you can see if your System Restore is turned on:
Windows XP: right click on My Computer and choose Properties. Click the System Restore tab and make sure the “Turn off System Restore on all drives” box is UNchecked.
Windows Vista: right click on Computer and choose Properties. Click on System Protection in upper left corner. In the new window, make sure there is a box checked for your main hard drive (usually the C drive). There should also be a date listed as the most recent restore point.
Windows 7: right click on Computer and choose Properties. Click on System Protection in upper left corner. In the new window, it will list your drive letters and indicate if System Restore is On or Off.
As you check the status of this important function, you might notice that you have the option to “Create a restore point”. That’s a good thing to remember. If you are planning to download some suspicious software, or install some program that you have some doubts about, it’s a good idea to create a restore point first – so you know you have a way out if things should go wrong.