In my last set of articles, I looked at how to update Windows. Sometimes users may have problems with their computers after updating them. Usually, the issues are related to either the operating system or incorrect drivers being installed. One way to address these issues is to use System Protection’s restore point functionality to revert the changes to the computers if users are not able to revert the changes themselves. In this article, I am going to look at what System Protection is, why people should use it, and how to use System Protection as well as mention some things to be aware of regarding System Protection.
What is System Protection?
System Protection is a utility program included in Windows operating systems. System Protection uses a feature called restore points to save versions of system files at different points in time. Restore points are made when there are major changes to the operating system, changes to hardware drivers, or changes to some software. Restore points can be created automatically or manually. System Protection allows users to create or delete restore points as well as configure settings such as the amount of hard drive space set aside for storing the restore points. System Protection is always enabled for my computer’s boot drive (the hard drive that the operating system is installed on). System Protection’s restore points do not make changes to user’s personal files. By having System Protection enabled, I have been able to resolve issues on my computers on multiple occasions after new drivers or other updates caused issues.
Although System Protection is primarily used for working with system files, Windows does have some other tools available for restoring previous versions of personal files. When System Protection is enabled for a hard drive, previous versions of personal files on that hard drive can be restored. Those tools will be looked at as part of the articles for using System Protection with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.
Why use System Protection?
System Protection provides a way to resolve issues on user’s computers when the user is unable to fix the issue themselves. By using the System Protection functionality built into Windows, users can revert the computer to a restore point prior to when the issue started happening. This is done using System Restore, a part of System Protection. Even when the computer cannot be booted into Windows, users can boot into a recovery mode using the Advanced Boot Options tools which includes access to System Restore. From this recovery mode, users can undo recent changes that may be causing the issue by using a previous restore point.
How to Use System Protection
To use System Protection, Windows users may need to enable System Protection on the hard drive they wish to save restore points for. For the hard drive that the Windows operating system is installed on, System Protection should already be enabled. Once System Protection has been enabled, users may want to configure the amount of hard drive space to use for the restore points or the types of restore to use.
After configuring System Protection, users can either let Windows create restore points automatically or the user can manually create a restore point by clicking the Create button shown in the image below. Configuring System Protection for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will be addressed in upcoming articles.
Things to be Aware of
There are a few things that users need to be aware of in regards to System Protection. Automatic restore points are created every seven days unless a restore point was created during the previous seven days. I have had issues with System Protection becoming disabled after some Windows Updates which has resulted in issues with restoring my computer in the past. Only hard drives that use the NTFS file system can have system protection enabled. Both Windows 7 and 8.1 use NTFS as the default file system. Old restore points will be deleted as the hard drive space set aside for storing restore points gets full so that additional space is created for future restore points. Finally, System Protection and System Restore are not meant as a backup solution as personal files are not changed when System Restore is used to revert the computer to the earlier configuration.
System Protection can be a beneficial tool in Windows for protecting user’s data and system files as well as helping users restore the computer to a working configuration if needed. I hope the information I have discussed about what System Protection is, why people should use it, and how to use System Protection was beneficial. If there are any comments or questions, feel free to post them below or email me at the link in my bio.