> 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)
> 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:
> 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:
> 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.
Bert Kinney MS-MVP Shell/User