How-To Geek

Using System Restore in XP

Windows is well-known for having driver and .dll conflicts, as well as all sorts of software that causes problems with your computer. Luckily there’s a System restore feature that can return your computer back to a known working configuration, as long as you’ve created a restore point.

Note that some software installations will create restore points automatically, but you should run it manually before installing any questionable applications. (Or better yet, don’t install questionable applications!)


Creating a Restore Point Manually

To create a Restore Point click on Start \ programs\ Accessories \ System Tools \ System Restore, and you’ll be given a wizard screen.


Click on “Create a restore point” and then click the Next button. You’ll be brought to a screen where you can type in a description for your restore point. Use something memorable if possible.


Once your restore point is created (which might take a while), you will get a confirmation screen.


All done creating the restore point!


Restoring from a Restore Point

To restore from a previously created restore point, open System Restore the same as above, but this time we’ll select “Restore my computer to an earlier time”. Note that System Restore is going to reboot your computer in order to restore.


Click the next button, and you’ll be shown a calendar with bolded dates wherever there is a restore point. Click on the date, and then click a restore point in the right hand side.


You’ll get a confirmation screen asking if you really want to do this. We’ll assume that there’s a problem requiring you to restore, so go ahead.


Your system will reboot and then restore your computer back to the previous configuration.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 06/27/07

Comments (69)

  1. David Alan Fox

    I keep receiving this error message that states that my computer is making unauthorized copies of my systen and internet files. How can I fix this? Thank you

  2. Deadpool

    I have a problem like that to, tell me if you find an answer.

  3. Bob

    Sounds like you have a trojan. Download, it should fix the smithfield trojan.

  4. Joe

    My pc keeps losing power. After I boot up, weather on-line or not, the screen goes blank, by pc shuts down and the re boots itself. I then have to sign in again. It does not do this when I am using another’s sign-in, only when I am using mine.
    I have Windows Xp.

  5. snj.know

    I saw a PC that refresh each time we restart the machine, we can do what ever install, change settings,
    but after restart the machine windows comes to previous look, Including windows partition have set this feature and another partition let to save files to users.

    windows partition is like read-only CD, only little difference between it, we can save files moment we using. but after restart > previous look!

    please explain me, how to do this, and how it works,
    and i want to know is that something by using System Restore? Thank U.

  6. kathy

    keep getting a windows is not installed fully
    can’t get into computer how can i by pass and restore
    I have a hp windows xp media center edition 2005 and no restoration disk can you help

  7. shanthosh

    no problem.before the windows xp loading screen press F8 key.then select the option for directory services restore mode then allow it to do the magic

  8. shanthosh

    joe i think u have a serious virus problem in ur computer.please download an antivirus utility or update ur existing antivirus utility

  9. smudger

    keep getting that several applications failed to start due to COMRes.dll not been found…any help please

  10. shanthosh12

    hey smudger
    ur computer had been affected by virus.i think u already removed it,but along with it u must have deleted a critical system file.
    there r 2 options available for u
    1 method
    2.type cmd
    3.type sfc\scannow in the dos window
    4.insert windows xp cd
    5.dll cache wud be replaced by the original file
    2 method
    1.reinstall or repair win xp

    i think the above methods wud solve the problem.otherwise contact me

  11. Jeff

    I keep getting an error message after running system restore that it could not restore to that restore point. I’ve tried several times and keep getting the same error message. Help please

  12. Kelly J Fent

    Hey, Jeff – Me too! I am getting totally frustrated. I’ve tried the 5 latest restore “checkpoints”/dates & times, and it keeps sending error message telling me it can’t restore to that point. Have you found an answer? Can someone out there please help us? (BTW, HP Help & Support was useless, too.)

  13. Chuck

    I also can’t get system restore to work on XP. Just keep getting ” system restore incomplete ” Been trying all restore points available. HELP!!!!!

  14. Takkiburis

    Try using recovery console. refresh your MBR and BOOTDISK.

  15. Rebecca

    what happens if my system restore windows comes up white as if it were “not responding” except its not frozen there is just NOTHING there

  16. Tina

    One day, when my computer was working it went to a black screen with white letters saying” can not reboot windows, use a system disk to recover. “I have a xp media 2005 Edition that did not come with a disk. I ordered one, and tryed to re-install, when the disk was in , the words.
    ” Can not find hard drive” can not continue restore. Can anyone tell me how to proceed? And of course HP is saying my warranty is expired. And of course they want money.

  17. shanthosh

    hey Tina
    may be the computer might have experinced a physical shock(push,shake,kick, etc).try doing this
    1. open the cpu cabinet
    2. there wud be a cell in the shape of a circle on the motherboard(button cell known as CMOS battery)
    3. remove this cell
    4. wait for 30 seconds
    5. replace cell
    6. now try restarting ur pc
    7. then press F2 button(load default values and continue)
    I think this should solve the problem if it doesn’t just post another comment


  18. Tina

    Shanthosh12: I did all these and it came up: Disk Boot Failure. Enter system disk and hit enter to continue: I then entered my re-boot cd, and says no hard drive found PC Recovery can not be continued. Thank you

  19. Brandon

    My Computer is frozen during the system restore process. It says windows is shutting down and the system restore window is up showing its progress, however it is stuck during the “restoring files process” for the past 4 hours. On my other laptop when I manually shutdown it screwed up my registry, are there any other options?

  20. natalia

    Hi i have never saved data from recovery CD from a HP DV6174 XP media center edition, i now need to have the original software back on the computer and dont have it and cant do a system restore either since i have instaldes onother software on computer, any idea where i can get the original softare from??

  21. Melissa

    what to do when u can’t get past the black screen saying how do u want to start . I have pushed all options and it opens back to the same blck screen
    someone help me

  22. ron

    I want to restore my Window XP back to orginal setting thru start up and keying Ctrl+F11, windoe comes up to restore or reboot. It tell me to click on one or the other, but my mouse does not work. how can I continue restoring XP?

  23. Terry

    I am unable to sytem restore to earlier point-it won’ t even allow me to click on earlier date. I tried F8 at startup with same results. What do you mean by going to recovery console and refresh MBR and BOOTDISC? Thanks.

  24. kate

    i have windows xp when i try to restore it lets me choose the restore point but then when i click on next to continue it doesn’t do anything, the computer is not frozen but the next button does’t respond to clicks.

  25. Muhammad Ahmad

    My computer is not restoing on up to the perivious date after selcting the restoring date it is not going to next and remain the same window. some time it is going hang.

  26. Jerry

    Problem resembles Kate’s “next” button doesn’t respond to click. Is there a way to run restore from command with a parameter to indicate restore date?

  27. shanthosh12

    Terry MBR is Master Boot Record,it saves infio abt ur hard disk,cd/dvd rom, etc etc.
    boot disc is ur windows xp disc thats all.try using a better antivirus such as Kaspersky or NOD 32.
    and for restoring why not try Norton GO BACK

  28. Ray Hall

    To concerned:

    e-mailing items from incredimail to my documents. Sometimes, the item in my document will open up; other times, message is invalid. When that happens, the address is junk made up of words and numbers. If I try desktop or other venues, same problem. Someone suggested that my settings for my documents is kaput. Any suggestions?

  29. lyli


    I want ask u . about my computer . my system on computer it;s linux .

    I want all drive for the linux

    any way think very much

  30. Ben

    I’m having the same issue as Kate, where the next button on my systen restore window is not responding…

    I’ll also say that the only reason I was gonna restore, was because I think I had/have a trojan, and it messed up my drivers somehow. I also think this trojan came while installing the newest version of explorer

  31. Regina

    My c drive is turned off how do i turn it back on

  32. John

    My wife has a toshiba laptop and recently she has been having problems with it, like it tends to restart itself without her doing anything, and even now she can not access anything without it hanging and causing her to have to hold the power button down to shut off the laptop is there anything she can do to get the laptop back to factory settings without formating it. I heard she could do the f8 way but she needs more information on how that works, this is our main way of communicating with each other as she is in the Philippines and I am in the US.

  33. edward

    I try to bring up my system restore but all that comes up is a blank screen? I have windows xp. I need to bring it up. I’m having problems with java and other things. Don’t know why.

  34. Ashley

    Hey. I have a question too. Well, one day after i decided to shut off my desktop, svchost.exe error would appear when my system was booting up. Not only that, but my task bar switched to a classic view, and if i ever tired to change it the error would pop up again. So then i decided to do a system restore because i might have touched something, and it made my computer mad… When i tried to do a system restore, the system restore just didnt do anything so it just let it sit at the confirmation screen for about 5 hours.(My computer isn’t frozen though, i can still press the back button and close the program).

    No matter what i did, the system restore wouldnt restore my system to that previous date :( .
    i even did “start>>run>>cmd>>net start” to see if my system restore was working and it was….

    oh and i have a Dell Demesion 9100 with windows XP

  35. Anne


    I have a problem with the spell check on Word 2007 on my home computer.

    I have two profiles on my computer and the spell check does not work on my one. If I open the other profile then it works. If I look at a document that I created on my side in the second profile it does not work but if I copy and paste it into a new document on the second profile it does work. If I create a new document on the second profile (where it works) and then open it in my profile the spell check can be seen for a brief second and then disappears.

    I have checked the Internet and it seems that other people have had the same problem. I have followed various suggestions all to no avail. Someone did suggest restoring the settings on the computer to a previous point and that would not harm any of the files that I have recently created. So, any ideas on solving the problem and would the restore option work?

    Many thanks,


  36. tony

    I have an HP laptop. The Operating system thats running on it is XP pro. The problem that I’m having is when I try to sign in using my user name and account, the laptop would restart itself. I tried using the guest account and try to log in but the samething happens. Before this incident had occur, it was working fine. Now everytime I tried to log in using my user name and account, and even the guest account the laptop would just restarts itself from the user screen name. Any ideas on how to fix this?

  37. Rich

    I had a computer serviced, the tech cleared the hard drive and put all applications in a backup folder on the desk top. They are currently unusable. How do I restore to usable state.


  38. Elisha

    I too am having the same problem as Kate and many others. I click next once I’ve selected a date and NOTHING happens. It doesn’t bring up another window, in fact, I could select the back button to choose a different date. Please help me, I need my system restored ASAP.
    As for the creating a restore point, everytime I select that option, it tells me I need to close all windows and restart my computer….after doing that, the same thing occurs.

  39. chris

    wow, still no response, if anyone has found an answer to Elisha’s question please email me

  40. M.J.

    My system restore for windows xp wont load, I need to download it. Is there anyway I can download a copy of system restore for xp?

  41. Shannon

    I love all the off-topic questions, and the really cryptic ones like “my computer won’t turn on, can you fix it?”

    Anyway, I was looking for help for System Restore coming up to an unpopulated (white) window, and never getting past that. No error message, no events generated. There are some similar problem descriptions listed here, with no answer. I’m guessing this may be a dead thread, no longer being checked.

    I know what caused it. I installed the multiple IE pack to check it out for web development. I made a restore point manually before I installed, and yep, it screwed me up. Now System Restore won’t start up properly. Even clicking No from the Safe Mode pop-up message. It thinks for a second, then just opens Safe Mode as if I had clicked Yes instead.

    Question: Is there a manual way to restore a restore point? Command line option? Anyway, there are not many helpful replies since October of last year, so I doubt I’ll get an answer here. But if anyone else finds an answer, feel free to email it to me: basswhite -at- gmail -dot- com

  42. cody

    i have no sound and have no idea how to fix it can i get some help? email me at yugpotter (at)

  43. Barnegat

    I have a Lenovo laptop with Windows XP Home edition. I tried to do a system restore because Outlook started giving me weird error messages. (All other programs were running perfectly) It has stuck right in the middle of the system restore with the completion bar halfway across and it’s been like that for two hours. What can I do?

  44. nathan

    Yeah ive got serious issues with my comp atm, its got so bad ive had to borrow some1 eles unit to try n fix mine it was working fine till one day i restarted my comp an the normal windos xp start up bar at the bottom of the screen changed from blue to grey, then i was unable to acces system resotre to fix this, i kept getting it saying systems resotre can not help u proctect your computer, everytime i open something it doesnt go inot the taks bar it just vanishs off the screen, anything useful ive got on my comp can access system restore an i cant connect to the internet on it now as ive lost network connect so it says so im just trying to download stuff now to transfere onto my comp to try an fix it as ive even tried starting it up in safe mode an i keep getting a error STOP 0X0000007E (0XC0000005, 0X82F8348B,0XF890CC50,0XF890C94C) anyone know of a way to fix this for me or know what i would need to correct the issues im having

  45. lilia panuelos

    i have dell optiplex260 i tried to do system is stuck in the center of my monitor and blank.what can i do?

  46. Charlie

    A suggestion, if at all possible. If you could place a link to search for help in past articles. Maybe you could organize them under subfolders by category or theme. Maybe the search could be boolean type. Something to be able to find in your article library some solution needed to solve a problem . Thank you

  47. Bertha

    My Dell Desktop computer is stuck on Windows XP window, it will go to desktop screen. I try turning it off and back on but it does the same thing. When it come on both green light on CD-Rom and DVD lights up at the same time. I hit F8 to run in safe mode no luck, it have Windows XP Home Edition is high lighted It will not run so I can go the the start window. Please help me I have a wedding information on this computer.

  48. dave

    on windows xp..i have a virus..wont let me use mouse or i can use restore operating disk..any way to restore without key board and mouse

  49. Lisa

    I have the same problem as dave. I am trying to do a system repair. when I get to the screen where it says “Welcome to Setup” and it wants you to choose an option. This is where the system does not recognize the mouse or keyboard. So I how do I do a restore without the mouse or keyboard?

  50. Bob

    I am trying to install Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 in my HP Pavillion laptop. It gets just about installed and the message, “Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 encountered an error during setup. Error 1309. Error reading from file: D:\PA561401.CAB. Verify that the file exists and you can access it.”

    Any suggestions?

  51. renee

    it’s not working

  52. anthony

    i have a hp pavilion entertainment pc which had xp media centre edition 2005 and recently got a virus that i could not get rid of. i used killdisk and erased all data from my hard drive, i want to know before i purchase a costly windows media centre install disc if it will actually download and work as there is no mrb or partion. i would be greatful for any comments thanks…

  53. Ran Mori

    Can i do a system restore for the Office 2003? After upgrading to office 2007??

    if i can how to do it ????????

  54. Ran Mori

    please how can i do a system restore for the office 2003 ?????? after upgrading to office 2007

  55. pam

    hi,ican’t aceess my user account,sytem restore and some programs when i try opening the user account and sytem restore i get alank page i tried some of the suggestions on the forums but nothing works..please help

  56. rod

    recently installed Tweakstar then found unable to alter desktop pic, uninstalled Tweakstar now it won’t let me system restore says I need to contact domain admim ????? anyone got any idea’s. Cheers

  57. AHAB

    To rod. I cannot really know, but it sounds to me that it’s a security issue(yes, it’s foolish, cause you would say:”it’s my pc”, but it will not let me in. So, I will sugest that you find out to log on as an administrator and be sure how to do this, it should be possible also without using .net framework to set up rules(I dont know about how to use this .net-framework, dont have the time to find out, but you can find all about how to on You didn’t write wich operating system you use. Have you used a cleaning program after the uninstall? There’s one called CCLEANER, scan for regestry problem also.
    I cant use my other(original HDD with XP installed, that came with the pc.), I get a blue screen, stop code{wrong checksum for the copy(dont know the exact word in english), the copy or image lz32.dll may be defect/corrupt, the headers controllsum or checksum dont fit the calculated sum. And I cant take the last god function or run in safe mode OR put the HDD on my pc as a slave to this HDD. So, sometimes windows XP wont alow you to do anything and it does this to safeguard your data, but you are not able to get them:) I guess I must get someone to try and put my HDD on his pc, so I can get my data from it.

  58. Keith

    I have a ACER Aspire One. I did a system restore. Now when I get to the login page I type in my password and the computer froze. I restarted it again after removing the battery and holding the power button for 20 sec. Still the same problem. It will let me enter my password then nothing. Any advice on this would be appreciated.

  59. robski

    would like to use my system restore. problem is it don’t work in windows XP PRO.can anybody help me fix it? tried to repair it with my disk but that didn’t work either.tried to enter a string in my registry from the note pad but i didn’t know how to get it from the note pad to the registry so that didn’t help.besides taking this thing out and throwing it up and shooting it what else can i do?
    thank you,

  60. Carlton M. Neal

    I am very appreciative for the Use of your program, and intend to use PayPal and as time goes by I will be sending them occasional gifts to make it possible that their efforts do not go unrewarded. A possible additional help would be the job done could be thoroughly documented for followup uses. Thank You so much for the major part you all play in making my life easier by allowing the task considerably easy. Bless you all. Carlton M. Neal Wednesday, October 20,2010

  61. sergy

    hola yo no puedo abrir los juegos en linea me sake error como si faltara un programa antes si podia y ahora no me gustaria saber si alguien `puede ayudarme con este problema gracias

  62. LAboy


    okk i got this from another websiteee it helped me
    hope it helps you too.

    Ok this not seeing the HDD isn’t uncommon on Dell PCs especially when upgrading or if something glitches the BIOS.
    In my opinion the various Dell BIOSs are absolute grap as they are so inflexible in comparison to just about everyone else’s.

    May I suggest that you try this possible fix.
    With the PC powered off remove the VRAM back up battery from the motherboard.
    There maybe a link near it (or somewhere on the board) showing on/off for battery back up. If there is put the link to off and leave the machine for a while then put it back to on.
    Reboot the machine.
    When offered the options on the screen click F2 for setup. This is the normal option.
    On the set up screen scroll down to the first IDE option which is probably showing something like unknown or not present.
    Hit enter and change the option to auto.
    Exit (ESC) and reboot (maybe automatic depending on BIOS version)
    Hopefully the PC will now see the hard drive and boot normally.
    Against all practces replace the memory back up battery with the machine now up and running.

    Now we get to the good bit.
    You may need to do this a few times, including playing around with the battery and on/off link but eventually it should work!

    I have had this problem on EVERY Dell machine that I have attempted to upgrade (or down grade from Win2000/NT) to XP.

    Oh yes and if trying to install XP/Vista (why?) make sure you go into the boot option screen (F12) and select CD-ROM drive because otherwise, if it’s a blank HDD you’re installing the machine will constantly come back with a boot error.

    Hope this helps.

  63. Rodney and Goo

    LAboy i tried your method, and it did not work, but then i did some other persons fix and then it worked

  64. Gazza!

    Hi! people i was just passing by & noticed the discussion, look i am an old “aussie” XP user & system restore on XP should not be turned on because that is where all the “terrible” monsters from the net go to hide i should know it cost me over $500 in the last 12 half months because of them, my tech, man said they hide in there so they miss the scans, which they do , anyway just a bit of info!! i thought it might be helpfull all the best gazza!!!

  65. Tiffanie

    hi, I hae an Acer travelmate 4010 and it was coming up windows not activated so called the number it put up and got it activated again, but when it activated, none of my programs would open, so I restored my laptop to an earlier time, and it worked but when it restored it put passwords on both my user accounts, I tried every password I could think of but still get the same message “the system cannot log you on now because the domain Acer-81080EA37F is not available”. So what do I do now?

  66. Robin Hamilton

    Hello, I am trying to restore my computer (xp) to a previous date and when I select the date on the calendar it does not work because I cannot proceed (the restore point on the right hand side of this screen does not update) – there is no next option highlighted
    How do I fix this?

  67. Johnny

    After I try to restore my computer says that the restoration wasn’t completed please help

  68. Tommy

    My Computer is frozen during the system restore process. It shows the system restore window that shows its progress, but it then all of a sudden shut off and now it won’t access the internet or do system restore. Please i need help.

  69. ира

    я ноль в компьютерах ,а мне нужно обновить драйвер видео название гигабайт… помогите -скажите как это сделать?? а то у меня уже комп виснуть начал -экран.

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