In my last article, I looked at what System Protection is used for and why people should use it. In this article, I am going to discuss how to access System Protection using Windows 7. I will be looking at how to restore the computer to an earlier configuration, how to configure System Protection, and how to create restore points. To access System Protection, please use the following steps.
1. Click on the Start orb in the bottom left corner of the display.
2. Right-click on Computer.
3. Click on Properties.
4. The System information window will open as shown below.
5. On the left side of the System window, click on the System Protection option.
6. The System Properties window shown below will open.
From the System Properties windows, users can use restore points to revert the computer to an earlier configuration to hopefully resolve the issue that is causing the problem. On the System Properties window, there are three options that users can choose between. These options are System Restore, Configure, and Create. The System Restore button is the option users will need to select if the computer needs reverted to an earlier system configuration. The Configure button is used to configure System Restore’s settings, manage disk space, and to delete restore points if necessary. The Create button is used to manually create restore points.
1. To restore the computer to an earlier configuration, click on the System Restore button to load the System Restore wizard.
2. Click on the Next button.
3. The window that loads next is the main one users will work with to select points to restore from.
4. If the restore point shown is not the one needed, click on the checkbox for Show more restore points.
5. Users can scan for programs that will be affected by restoring the computer to the selected point by clicking the Scan for affected programs button. Windows 7 will scan for any programs that will be affected and show the window below. Affected programs are the programs that were either installed or deleted in relation to this restore point. Once done looking at the list of affected programs (if any programs will be affected), click on the Close button.
6. After selecting the restore point and checking for affected programs if necessary, click on Next.
7. The final window before the system restore runs asks users to confirm the restore point selected. Click on Finish.
The computer will restart during the restore process so users will need to make sure they have saved any documents prior to starting the System Restore process.
Restoring Windows to a Previous Configuration Using Installation Media
If users cannot boot into Windows 7 after drivers or other updates were installed, users may need to access System Restore using their Windows 7 installation media. To access System Restore using the installation media, please use the following steps.
1. Users will need to start the installation media as if they were going to install Windows 7. Instead of selecting to install Windows though, users should select the Repair your computer option.
2. After clicking Repair your computer, the System Recovery Options tool will search for Windows installations.
3. After the search finishes, users may be prompted with a message that Windows found problems with the computer’s startup options. If users wish to try repairing and restarting their computers, they can click on the Repair and restart button. Otherwise, click the No button to close the message.
4. If users have a system image they wish to restore, select the radio button for that option. Otherwise, leave it on the first option to use recovery tools. Click on Next on the System Recovery Options window.
5. The next window for the System Recovery Options have 5 choices. Click on System Restore.
From this point, the same System Restore wizard used within Windows will load and users can select the restore point needed.
To configure the computer’s System Protection options, click on the Configure button on the System Properties window.
Users can select from three restore settings, set the amount of hard drive space to use for storing restore points, and also delete all current restore points in the window that opens. The three options for the Restore settings are to:
- Restore system settings and previous versions of files
- Only restore previous versions of files
- Turn off system protection
My preference is to restore system settings and previous versions of files so that I don’t have to reconfigure the PC after performing the system restore. Users can choose how much space on the physical hard drive will be used for saving restore points. The window also shows how much space is currently being used for storing the restore points. To delete the existing restore points, click on the Delete button. A window will appear asking the user to confirm they wish to delete the restore points. The confirmation window also lets users know that they will not be able to undo changes after the restore points are deleted.
The final option in the System Properties window is Create. The Create button is used to create a system restore point.
1. To save a restore point, click on the Create button.
2. A window will open asking for a description to use with the restore point. Enter the description if needed and click on Create.
3. The restore point will be created at this time and a window stating that the restore point was created successfully will appear. Click on the Close button to close the window.
Restoring Previous Versions
In Windows 7, restoring previous versions of personal files is a simple process. Users just right-click on the file they wish to restore and click on Restore previous version in the context menu.
In the next window to load (shown below), users select the version of the file to restore (if there is a previous version available). Users then have three options. They can open the selected file version to see if it is the version needed. Users can copy the file selected so that a new file can be created or users can restore the selected file version. Opening the file to look at it and see if it is the version needed is beneficial when there are numerous version of the file available. Copying the file can be helpful if the current version of the file contains data that will still be needed. Users can then take the data they need from each file. Restoring the file is the simple option and can be done if the current version can be overwritten. After the user has finished with this window, they can click the OK button to close the window.
Accessing System Protection from the Control Panel
System Protection can also be accessed using the Control Panel. If the Control Panel View by: option is set to Large icons or Small icons, click on the System option and the System information window will load. If the View by: option is set to Category, users will have to select the System and Security category and then select the System option before the System information window will open. From the System information window, click on the System Protection link to access the System Protection functions.
In this article, I looked at how to use System Protection in Windows 7. I hope the information on how to use System Protection to restore the computer to an earlier configuration, create new restore points, and configure the system Protection settings is useful. If there are any questions or comments, please feel free to post in the comments below or email me at the link in my bio.
Jason Wynn says
I usually type “System Restore” the the search box because I can’t ever remember where it is through the menus.