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Windows System Restore Defined


System Restore is a component of Microsoft's Windows Me, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, operating systems that allows for the rolling back of system files, registry keys, installed programs, etc., to a previous point in time, and is used to roll-back in the event of PC malfunction.


Windows System Restore: LimitationsWindows system restore system files and applications GUI interface


If you've explored the XP version of Windows System Restore, the benefits of it probably left a bad taste in your mouth. Setting a system restore point was often painfully slow, and when it came time to actually attempt a system restore, you would have better luck playing Russian Roulette then getting your PC back the way it was previously. Here is the reason why...


The items that Windows system restore will "roll-back" are not transparent and are defined loosely as "Windows System files", "registry entries" and some "program files".  How is a end-user to know if rolling back is going to fix the delima that they are currently in?  In order for this to work the user must have indepth knowledge of PC's and the software that is installed at a granular level to determine whether installing or uninstalling any software would affect system files and registry settings.  Even the most advanced PC user would have difficulty figuring this out.


In most instances users experience issues when attempting to install software, which in this case it would be unknown what files have affected the system files and what registry files have been modified.  Ultimately, it is really upto the author of XYZ software as to what stays on the machine and what gets removed during any uninstall process through ADD/REMOVE programs.


Back in the XP days, system restore simply used a file filter and copied files around, but since Vista, it uses the Shadow Copy features built into Windows.  Shadow Copy created a snapshot of your drive as of a certain point in time, which can then be used later to restore your PC should anything go wrong.  Using Shadow Copy instead of simple file copying made Windows System Restore a bit more effective  - However it was not a comprehensive system restore option.


In order for System Restore to be a complete restore solution; it would require System Restore to absolutely restore of your PC as it was when the snapshot was taken.  Kind of like a complete backup but instant... As in only 5 seconds to restore to any previous time. Similar to the hollywood fictional movie "Back to the Future".  Until recently Windows System restore was the only instant recovery option - until RollBack Rx...



Windows System Restore for Window 8: Refresh & ResetWindows 8 system restore software alternative


As you may have heard Microsoft now has a new feature in Windows 8 that replaces thier previous System Restore - It is called Windows Reset and RefreshA new name, however, essentially the same solution.  The purpose of Windows system restore is to allow Windows users to go back in time to a point prior to a PC disaster.  And in the case of Windows system restore, the biggest advantage was the speed of rolling back - it would be near instant.  Unfortunately though Windows system restore is not a comprehensive system restore solution as it lacks in a few critical areas.

You’ve installed the latest version of your favourite software – and suddenly your system crashes, or keeps restarting for no reason at all. What can you do? You panic about all the data you’ve possibly lost forever. Is there a solution?
What are the deficiencies with Windows System Restore?
  •  Windows System Restore only protects system files only - NOT data, programs or user settings.
  •  Windows System Restore DOES NOT protect everything on the hard drive - just it own system files. 
  •  Windows System Restore CAN NOT restore your entire system if Windows fails to start up.
  •  Windows System Restore uses 5-15% disk space per snapshot. 


What if Windows Can Not Boot up? 

If Windows is corrupted (BSOD) or if your system can not boot into Windows  - Then its' own windows system restore would not be accessible and thus system restore would be rendered completely useless.  This is a real catch-22, because you would most probably want to use system restore when you PC is completely crashed.



What is the best alternative to Windows System Restore?


RollBack Rx is a complete system restore solution that protects the entire contents of your hard drive.  It protects everything, not just the system files.  Furthermore, if you experience the Blue Screen of Deat (BSOD) or if Windows is not booting up - RollBack Rx can still rescue you from this disaster. That's right - RollBack Rx can still restore your entire system!  


Since RollBack Rx sits below Windows, it can be accessed prior to Windows boot-up by pressing the “HOME” key.  Once you enter into the RollBack Rx sub-console you can roll-back to any snapshot. - Furthermore, you can recover any and all data up-to-the second of the System Crash! With Windows System Restore - If Windows can not boot; System restore will not be accessible.


For more information on RollBack Rx and how it compares to existing solutions see our PC Maintenance Evolution whitepaper
Watch RollBack Rx in action: 

RollBack Rx Product Video Horizon DataSys Profile Video


How does RollBack Rx compare with Windows built-in System Restore?
RollBack Rx can instantly restore PCs In Seconds!  What this means for most PC users is that they can now Immediately Recover From Virus Attacks, Malware or any User Error within seconds of the system crash or malware disaster - even if Windows fails to start up.
What is RollBack Rx?
RollBack Rx™ is an instant recovery software program that enables home users and IT professionals to easily restore a PC to a time before 
certain events occurred.  RollBack Rx makes it easy for users of all skill levels to quickly and easily repair PC issues -  saving time, money and PC trouble. With RollBack Rx you can...
  •   Reverse any system crash (even if Windows can't startup)
  •   Backout of any failed software installations, botched update etc. 
  •   Reverse user errors manually, or set Restore-on-Reboot or Log-off
  •   Roll back minutes, hours, or even months.  
  •   Roll backwards and forwards to any system snapshot 
  •   Allows users to safely test any software. Fast, 100% clean uninstaller
  •   Roll-back, yet recover files from your "future" snapshot(s)
  •   Retrieve files from a crashed PC, even if Windows can not boot
  •   Access control - prevent unauthorized users from access
  •   Automatically schedule snapshots or hard drive restores
  •   Day Zero Disaster Recovery with no data loss
  •   Group Management and Enterprise Network Administration Control



*The blue screen of death (BSoD) is the screen displayed by Microsoft's Windows operating system when it cannot (or is in danger of being unable to) recover from a system error. There are two Windows error screens that are both referred to as the blue screen of death, with one being significantly more serious than the other.

More information on Windows System Restore

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