Some of you might be aware of the Windows 7 feature called System Protection. It’s been around since
Windows XP, undergoing improvements along the way. System Protection monitors your computer and
records system changes. Those changes can be undone, so that your computer’s state can be restored
to a point in time in the past. This is useful when a program or process makes changes to your computer
that causes undesirable results, and you’d like to travel back in time to before the problem. System
Restore is the “recovery” part of System Protection.

As you might suspect, System Protection is a feature that can be turned on or off, and uses some of your
available hard disk space to record the changes. The amount of space used can be customized, but
typically 10% of your total hard disk space is sufficient. System Protection creates what are called
“restore points”, and are listed as dates and times. System Protection settings can be accessed through
the Control Panel under “System and Security”, “System”, and then “System Protection”. Once the
configured space is full, System Protection will discard the oldest restore point when creating a new one.

System Protection automatically creates a restore point before certain events, such as program
installation or Windows Updates. You can also create a restore point manually before any event you
think might cause a problem. However, System Protection should not be treated as a replacement for
periodic backups, as it will not prevent against hardware malfunction. There are even certain malware
programs that will purposely turn off System Restore and/or delete your restore points to prevent
themselves from being removed. In such a case, only a complete system backup can undo the damage

System Restore can be found in the “System Tools” section of the “Accessories” program group, or it can
also be launched by typing “system restore” into the Windows 7 search window. You will have the
opportunity to choose the particular point in time to restore your computer to. The process takes a
reboot to accomplish, and it is also completely reversible should you not obtain the desired results.
System Restore does not remove your documents when completing a restore point; it only changes
program and system settings.

So, why not take advantage of this wonderful feature built into your Windows 7 PC? Ask your IT
professional for assistance.

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