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System Restore and Windows Update

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-26-2007
Ronc
 

Posts: n/a
System Restore and Windows Update
I think some version of system restore has existed since Windows 98, yet I
never used it until a tech support call for an issue with my new Vista
computer introduced me to it. I suspect I never used it on my own, partly
because I never really needed it and partly because I often make little
tweaks to improve my system in some way (including numerous visits to
Windows Update) and the thought of "going back" seemed even more scary than
a format and reinstall because I wouldn't know what new problem might be
introduced by the process. It was also unclear whether or not going back to
a point before my last few Windows Updates would be automatically taken care
of by my next visit there, as it would be with a complete reinstall. In all
the instructions for using System Restore, I could find no statement about
its effect on the Windows Update process. Common sense would imply that if
system files were restored to older versions, the next WU scan should see
these older versions and tell me to download the update again. But that may
not be how WU works. It may simply look at a log file of which updates were
installed and if that log file is not included in the go back process then
WU would not know that several recent updates were undone. Since my first
use of system restore, I had to use it on my Vista computer again after
installing a Sprint connection manager update. The "successfully installed"
update simply broke my Sprint service entirely and uninstalling and
reinstalling several times failed to fix it. So I did a System Restore
after each attempt in order to get my service back with the
factory-installed older
version. Now I have dozens of WUs listed in my Windows Update Install log
but I'm not sure if I can believe it. I guess I have these two questions:

1) Does Windows Update scan all relevant files to see if they need to be
updated or does it merely look at the history log of Windows Installed
Updates?

2) Does System Restore include in its list of "go back" files the WU history
log?

It seems to me that any Windows Updates that were wholly or partially undone
by System Restore would be automatically detected in the next Windows Update
scan if either 1) all files are scanned or 2) if the Windows Update history
log was also restored to an earlier version. If neither is the case then
one
would have to do some work to determine which updates in the history log
were undone by System Restore and then find a way to manually redo them.

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 10-27-2007
Bert Kinney
 

Posts: n/a
Re: System Restore and Windows Update
Hi Ronc,

Answers inline.

Ronc wrote:
> I think some version of system restore has existed since Windows 98, yet I
> never used it until a tech support call for an issue with my new Vista
> computer introduced me to it.


System Restore was first introduced in Windows ME. Then in WinXP and now in
Vista. Windows 98 had a built-in utility called ScanReg. ScanReg could be
used to restore the Win98 registry only.
Description of the Windows Registry Checker Tool (Scanreg.exe)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/183887

> I suspect I never used it on my own, partly
> because I never really needed it and partly because I often make little
> tweaks to improve my system in some way (including numerous visits to
> Windows Update) and the thought of "going back" seemed even more scary than
> a format and reinstall because I wouldn't know what new problem might be
> introduced by the process.


It's not so scary once you understand how it works.
System Restore in Windows Vista:
http://bertk.mvps.org/html/vista.html

> It was also unclear whether or not going back to
> a point before my last few Windows Updates would be automatically taken care
> of by my next visit there, as it would be with a complete reinstall. In all
> the instructions for using System Restore, I could find no statement about
> its effect on the Windows Update process. Common sense would imply that if
> system files were restored to older versions, the next WU scan should see
> these older versions and tell me to download the update again. But that may
> not be how WU works. It may simply look at a log file of which updates were
> installed and if that log file is not included in the go back process then
> WU would not know that several recent updates were undone.


If there were any WU's removed by System Restore the Windows Update site
would recognize this and replace them.

> Since my first use of system restore, I had to use it on my Vista computer again after
> installing a Sprint connection manager update. The "successfully installed"
> update simply broke my Sprint service entirely and uninstalling and
> reinstalling several times failed to fix it. So I did a System Restore
> after each attempt in order to get my service back with the factory-installed older
> version. Now I have dozens of WUs listed in my Windows Update Install log
> but I'm not sure if I can believe it. I guess I have these two questions:


System Restore is best used ASAP after an problem is discovered. In this
case a restore point should have been created just before the Sprint update
was installed and used after finding the problem with the update.

> 1) Does Windows Update scan all relevant files to see if they need to be
> updated or does it merely look at the history log of Windows Installed Updates?


WU will reinstall updates removed by System Restore.

> 2) Does System Restore include in its list of "go back" files the WU history log?


Monitored file types in Windows Vista:
http://bertk.mvps.org/html/monitoredfilesv.html

> It seems to me that any Windows Updates that were wholly or partially undone
> by System Restore would be automatically detected in the next Windows Update
> scan if either 1) all files are scanned or 2) if the Windows Update history
> log was also restored to an earlier version. If neither is the case then
> one would have to do some work to determine which updates in the history log
> were undone by System Restore and then find a way to manually redo them.


What should I do after restoring my system to an earlier date?

1. After restoring a system to an earlier date all monitored files and
folders will be reverted back to that date.
2. Any type of application that requires regular updates, such as virus and
spyware applications may need to have there definitions updated.
3. Run Windows Update and MS Office Update, if installed
4. Any application installed after the restore point you are reverting to
may not function. What happens is, System Restore only removes monitored
files for the installed applications and the rest are left behind. This can
cause the application not to function. And in some cases, can also cause the
uninstall and reinstall process of the partially removed application to
fail. It is recommended to uninstall any applications that was installed
after the restore point you will be restoring to.
5. Application that were uninstalled will not be fully reinstalled in the
restore process because the installation may have contained unmonitored file
types. Monitored files from that installation will be restored. To remove
one of these partially installed application it may be necessary to
reinstall it, then uninstall it via add/remove programs in Control Panel.


Regards,
Bert Kinney MS-MVP Shell/User
http://bertk.mvps.org
Member: http://dts-l.org
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 10-29-2007
Ronc
 

Posts: n/a
Re: System Restore and Windows Update
Thanks for the very thorough reply, especially the link to your web site. I
guess WU history log is not too important since the next scan will find any
missing updates. However It's nice to be able to edit this file in the case
where several "failed" attempts at installing an update are followed by a
"successful" attempt. Therefore I am curious as to where the history log is
and its
name. On Win98 it's called "iuhist.xml". I noticed that .xml is not one
of the monitored types but since I could not locate the WU history file on
Vista, I still don't know its type and whether or not it would be affected
by the System
Restore process.

"Bert Kinney" <bert@NSmvps.org> wrote in message
news:O7yTk4DGIHA.5208@TK2MSFTNGP04.phx.gbl...
> Hi Ronc,
>
> Answers inline.
>
> Ronc wrote:
>> I think some version of system restore has existed since Windows 98, yet
>> I
>> never used it until a tech support call for an issue with my new Vista
>> computer introduced me to it.

>
> System Restore was first introduced in Windows ME. Then in WinXP and now
> in Vista. Windows 98 had a built-in utility called ScanReg. ScanReg could
> be used to restore the Win98 registry only.
> Description of the Windows Registry Checker Tool (Scanreg.exe)
> http://support.microsoft.com/kb/183887
>
>> I suspect I never used it on my own, partly
>> because I never really needed it and partly because I often make little
>> tweaks to improve my system in some way (including numerous visits to
>> Windows Update) and the thought of "going back" seemed even more scary
>> than
>> a format and reinstall because I wouldn't know what new problem might be
>> introduced by the process.

>
> It's not so scary once you understand how it works.
> System Restore in Windows Vista:
> http://bertk.mvps.org/html/vista.html
>
>> It was also unclear whether or not going back to
>> a point before my last few Windows Updates would be automatically taken
>> care
>> of by my next visit there, as it would be with a complete reinstall. In
>> all
>> the instructions for using System Restore, I could find no statement
>> about
>> its effect on the Windows Update process. Common sense would imply that
>> if
>> system files were restored to older versions, the next WU scan should see
>> these older versions and tell me to download the update again. But that
>> may
>> not be how WU works. It may simply look at a log file of which updates
>> were
>> installed and if that log file is not included in the go back process
>> then
>> WU would not know that several recent updates were undone.

>
> If there were any WU's removed by System Restore the Windows Update site
> would recognize this and replace them.
>
>> Since my first use of system restore, I had to use it on my Vista
>> computer again after
>> installing a Sprint connection manager update. The "successfully
>> installed"
>> update simply broke my Sprint service entirely and uninstalling and
>> reinstalling several times failed to fix it. So I did a System Restore
>> after each attempt in order to get my service back with the
>> factory-installed older
>> version. Now I have dozens of WUs listed in my Windows Update Install
>> log
>> but I'm not sure if I can believe it. I guess I have these two
>> questions:

>
> System Restore is best used ASAP after an problem is discovered. In this
> case a restore point should have been created just before the Sprint
> update was installed and used after finding the problem with the update.
>
>> 1) Does Windows Update scan all relevant files to see if they need to be
>> updated or does it merely look at the history log of Windows Installed
>> Updates?

>
> WU will reinstall updates removed by System Restore.
>
>> 2) Does System Restore include in its list of "go back" files the WU
>> history log?

>
> Monitored file types in Windows Vista:
> http://bertk.mvps.org/html/monitoredfilesv.html
>
>> It seems to me that any Windows Updates that were wholly or partially
>> undone
>> by System Restore would be automatically detected in the next Windows
>> Update
>> scan if either 1) all files are scanned or 2) if the Windows Update
>> history
>> log was also restored to an earlier version. If neither is the case
>> then
>> one would have to do some work to determine which updates in the history
>> log
>> were undone by System Restore and then find a way to manually redo them.

>
> What should I do after restoring my system to an earlier date?
>
> 1. After restoring a system to an earlier date all monitored files and
> folders will be reverted back to that date.
> 2. Any type of application that requires regular updates, such as virus
> and spyware applications may need to have there definitions updated.
> 3. Run Windows Update and MS Office Update, if installed
> 4. Any application installed after the restore point you are reverting to
> may not function. What happens is, System Restore only removes monitored
> files for the installed applications and the rest are left behind. This
> can cause the application not to function. And in some cases, can also
> cause the uninstall and reinstall process of the partially removed
> application to fail. It is recommended to uninstall any applications that
> was installed after the restore point you will be restoring to.
> 5. Application that were uninstalled will not be fully reinstalled in the
> restore process because the installation may have contained unmonitored
> file types. Monitored files from that installation will be restored. To
> remove one of these partially installed application it may be necessary to
> reinstall it, then uninstall it via add/remove programs in Control Panel.
>
>
> Regards,
> Bert Kinney MS-MVP Shell/User
> http://bertk.mvps.org
> Member: http://dts-l.org


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