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Windows Me

Windows Me System Restore

Windows Me's System Restore is one of the new features added to this latest OS from Microsoft. System Restore acts as a safety net, allowing you to return your system to a previously known (working) state in the event that an application or driver installation wreaks havoc with the system. It's not a backup program, like Microsoft Backup, and it shouldn't be used instead of one.

There are several 3rd party products on the market which let you add this functionality to Windows 9x. The best known is Adaptec's GoBack, which has quite a few extra features over System Restore, but hey, System Restore comes bundled with the OS, so lets see what it can do for us!

System Restore is designed to automatically monitor and record changes made to the core Windows system files and to the registry. System Restore can then allow you to undo a change that caused a problem in your system. This is accomplished by periodically recording a "Restore Point" (or System CheckPoint) that gives you the ability to roll your system back to the point in time when your computer was known to function properly.

You must remember that System Restore is not intended to be an "uninstaller" (or a backup program). If Windows does not function properly after installing software or drivers, you should use the Add/Remove Programs tool in Control Panel to remove the software before using System Restore.

File Types Monitored By System Restore

System Restore monitors most system files with .exe, .vxd, .dll, .com, and .sys extensions. It does not monitor user-created files (for example, files that have .txt, .doc, or .xls extensions), the My Documents folder, Temporary Internet files (including the Internet Explorer History, Cookies, or Favorites files), the Recycle Bin, or the Windows Swap (.swp) file.

Automatically Created Restore Points

By default, System Restore is set to monitor your system automatically, and will create new restore points automatically, according to the following rules:

Event-triggered restore points

System Restore will automatically create a restore point before the following events:

  • Application installations (provided the application utilizes a current installer that is System Restore RestorePT.API compliant such as the new Microsoft Software Installer (MSI) technology or InstallShield 6.1 Pro and later). In the event the application causes harm to the user's system, choosing a restore point before the application was installed allows the user to roll the system state back to the time before the installation of the application, if needed.
  • AutoUpdate installation. The AutoUpdate feature of Windows Me provides an easier way for home users to download critical Windows updates in an unobtrusive way. Once the update is downloaded, the user is presented with the opportunity to install the update on the user's system. When the user chooses to install the update, the System Restore feature will create a restore point before the actual installation of the update begins.
  • Restore operation. If a user, for example, accidentally chooses the wrong system state to restore back to, the user can, by choosing a restore point before this operation, undo the restore operation. The user can then choose the correct restore point (If however, the Restore is done in Safe Mode, a Restore Point will not be created).

Scheduled restore points

In addition to creating restore points before certain events, System Restore provides users with the ability to restore to other specific days and times. Automatic System CheckPoints are created for every 10 hours of computer up time but only after the computer has been idle for 2 minutes. If this criterion is not met, then a System CheckPoint will be created once every 24 hours after the system has been idle for 2 minutes.

The Restore Point and System CheckPoint files that are created under the above conditions are stored in compressed (.cab) format and are located in the _Restore folder (also known as the "Data Store") on the drive on which Windows Millennium is installed. The Data Store cannot be moved or modified. Each fixed disk on your computer will also contain a _Restore folder for indexing and monitoring purposes and each of these folders will contain a file called Srdiskid.dat.

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