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How to Mount a System Restore Point to Restore a Single File

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Ever wanted to restore a file from the past, but don’t have a good way to do it? With System Restore Explore you can mount a System Restore snapshot, and browse a past copy of your entire drive.

Going Back In Time With System Restore Explorer

Head over to the developer’s website and grab yourself a free copy of System Restore Explorer. The program requires a simple next, next finish kind of install. Once the installation has completed the program will launch, to display a list of available system restore points.

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To mount a restore point select it from the list and hit the Mount botton, when it become available.

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Once you have mounted the restore point, it will open an explorer window for you to browse through the drive as if it was you system drive.
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To restore a file, simple navigate to its location and copy it to the location of your choice, which can be anywhere out of the mounted directory.

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When you are finished be sure to go back and un-mount the  restore point.

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This trick will work on Windows XP, Vista and 7.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 10/13/11

Comments (8)

  1. Robert Cartman

    Nice post, but it dowsn’t work on XP! Read the linked article again, where it says:
    “… I have tested this tool on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 beta, unfortunately the SRRemoveRestorePoint function didn’t appear to function as described on Windows XP, so I have had to restrict the use of this tool to Windows Vista and newer…”

  2. SDreamer

    For Windows 7 and some Vista users, wouldn’t it be easier just to right click on the file/folder and go to properties–>Previous Versions? I think Windows Shadow Copy essentially users the System Restore points to get back to previous versions of files/folders.

  3. Dave Robinson

    I have used many old restore points over the past few years. (I still use XP SP2). I tend to make new restore points as a matter of course maybe once a week and delete the older ones. Set permissions to see the Sys Vol info folder. Copy the whole folder. Paste onto another drive. I usually make a folder SVI- date (e.g. SVI 081011) and paste into there. You can lose some of the older RP numbers to save space as it can be large. I often write these to a CD/DVD as part of my backup regime. If required, as in when XP stops saving restore points JUST when you need them, just copy and paste the same folder back. Numerous posts deny this can be done, many articles say it’s not possible with XP and query why anyone would want to do it anyway. Works for me (on numerous occasions) but then again I did it prior to reading the articles…

  4. Joe O'Loughlin

    This item won’t work/install on a WIN XP machine

  5. Jack McGann

    per Sdreamer
    For Windows 7 and some Vista users, wouldn’t it be easier just to right click on the file/folder and go to properties–>Previous Versions?

    Are you assuming the file is on the current drive? What if the file had been deleted by mistake, but still existed on the restore point? I’m just asking, I don’t know what the restore point holds..

  6. Charles

    Very handy tool thanks Taylor for all your input here

  7. mobilemike4

    For those of you on xp you can use a live usb or cd of puppy linux. Boot up, mount the c drive and dig thru the restore points you can replace SAM, registry etc with copy paste then boot back into xp.theres lots of info on using linux to restore xp on google and HTG

  8. Meddi N.

    This is a handy tool, wonder why no one’s mentioning it anywhere… HowToGeek yo!

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