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One Way to Try and Recover Your Windows XP System

Installed new software and now Windows is crashing? Windows XP includes a utility to recover your system from disasters such as these. This utility is called System Restore and is a very powerful tool, yet easy to use. System Restore does not cause you to lose recent work such as documents or email. Most versions of Windows have some form of recovery, but this article will only cover Windows XP.

Windows XP's System Restore utility is the most useful recovery console Microsoft has developed. System Restore can be used after a botched software installation, buggy updates, or other operating system corruption. System Restore creates what Microsoft calls Restore Points. These are basically backups or "snapshots" of the system settings that can be used in a recovery. These Restore Points are usually created every time the system is successfully booted. It is a good idea to get in the habit of manually creating a Restore Point before each installation of a new software package.

To Create a Restore Point:
1. Click on START, then ALL PROGRAMS.
3. This will open the System Restore wizard. Click on CREATE A RESTORE POINT and then NEXT.
4. Enter a description of your Restore Point. Provide enough detail that you could distinguish many weeks later what software was installed and when.
5. Click on CREATE, and then CLOSE.

Disaster has struck! You installed some software your friend recommended and now Windows is going haywire. You are in need of System Restore's recovery function. You must first enter Safe Mode to use it.

To Restore a System:
1. Reboot the system.
2. On startup, right after the BIOS screen, start tapping the F8 key every couple of seconds. The idea is to tap F8 after the BIOS screen but before it displays the Windows splash screen. This will take you to the Windows Startup screen.
3. Select SAFE MODE from the list of choices.
4. You may be asked to enter an administrator account name and password. If you don't know what this is, try your regular username and password. If that does not work try useradmin for the username and then your regular password. If you are running XP Home Edition and you purchased your system from a vendor like Dell, try using Administrator for the username and leave the password blank. Safe Mode may take a bit longer to load than normal. Be patient.
5. Once in Safe Mode, click on START, then ALL PROGRAMS.
7. This will open the System Restore wizard. Be sure the RESTORE MY COMPUTER option is selected, then click NEXT.
8. Select a RESTORE POINT. On the calendar to the left, click on a date. Days in which Restore Points were created will appear in BOLD. The date and description of the Restore Point or Points will appear on the right.
9. Click NEXT.
10. Windows verifies your choices. To proceed, click NEXT again.

Windows will shut down and reboot your system. When your system restarts, Windows will apply the previous settings from the restore date you selected.
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