XP System Restore, it does not work!!

Windows Restore!!

On all the occasions I have attempted to use this useless utility sine the arrival of XP it has failed and this is at least now a dozen occasions. The latest failure (tonight) involved the install of e-mule 0.44b build 2 which removed my ADSL modem drivers completely. Even a re-install could not detect the drivers even though there is a history of them. The BT drivers just vanished of my machine and I mean completely, not even in the re-cycle bin and the previous backed up drivers went down the same road, no trace at all. XP restore I thought will quickly resolve this issue since service pack two, what a fool I am. The same massage that has always been displayed on a re-boot informed me that XP could not restore my settings to the previous date and would I like to select another date. When I clicked on this there were no other dates to select from grrrrrrrrrrr!!!! (And this is taking up 3gig of hard drive space), then the message that the hardware (BT modem) had been detected appeared and the same circle of destruction started again.

I had to manually clean the registry (after re-installing the BT drivers from disk and then uninstalling them), this took only one hour. Why does XP system-restore still not work? I then spent ten minutes trying to enter various passwords to log on to BT before I remembered that it does not use them only your user.name@btcentral.com or whatever.

Another wasted night.

:mad: :mad: :mad: :(

American Zombie

Staff member
Political User
I normally create a restore point before installing software as that way I have a restore point that is very recent.

Below is a reason why restores can fail but I am not saying it is why yours fail.
When a computer is improperly or forcibly shut down during a restore process, either accidentally or intentionally, the machine may be in a state in which only some files have been restored.

If an improper shutdown happens at any other time (not during restoration), and a restore is done to a point before the improper shutdown, there is a small possibility that such a restore might fail, due to the fact that some file operations might not have been logged properly by System Restore. The system will be in the same state as before the restore was initiated.


The One and Only
System Restore is probably the worst ever feature in XP. probably more useless than the Windows Tour. If you try to use it, and you recently had an update for an anti-virus program, most of the time it will corrupt your AV's install, thus making you either a) reinstall it or b) format your computer. to me, nothing beats a good format when u get sick of the way your computer's acting. lol.
Yes there’s an old story about backups, but I’ve been caught there as well especially backing up to tape. They don’t restore correctly when you need them most especially if like a fool you have incremental backups which diminish in stability with the number of tapes. These never worked not even now as I can testify to. Only backup to another hard drive work and make sure that this is a new drive. This is the only solution that has worked for me over the last ten years every time without failure. CD’s fail, tapes fail, floppies well not in the frame now but at least they worked. XP system restore for me has a 100% failure record.



Debiant by way of Ubuntu
Folding Team
maybe OT, maybe not.... I also found the ADSL modem drivers for BT something of a pain (they caused me to spend ONE WEEK installing a USB printer alongside them).

Could I commend to you the idea of a router? Configure it and forget it - enhanced security behind it's IP address, plus if you ever require wi-fi you only need to add a WAP and you're ready to roll. No more waiting for connactions, you will always be online.

I think if you try it you will not be sorry - I know I wasn't.

(Oh and I've heard Acronis is very good if you are still ticked off with System Restore!) :p


Sick of it all.
ElementalDragon said:
System Restore is probably the worst ever feature in XP. probably more useless than the Windows Tour.
hahaha, yeah, but it is a pretty close call.

what about trying "last known good configuration" in your advanced start up options?


...will circle this city
"last known good configuration" is infinatly more time useful to me than system restore. i've used it more than system restore (never mind that i turn it off right away:) )


OSNN Senior Addict
Seems to work everytime, when creating a restore point prior to installing software.
Used "Go Back" for years but got fed up with its slowing down the system, although generally it is better than Windows Restore.

Son Goku

No lover of dogma
I've been saved by a last known good config a few times... Sometimes Windows goes cockie for no apparent reason. It is one thing I try when I have certain weird problems booting or what not, but I don't exactly count on it. Though I have been saved sometimes, there have been others, where, well...

Just a month or so ago I was in the process of browsing the web, the HDs were being defraged, when the comp just up and BSODed.

Upon rebooting, the gfx was stuck at 640x480 with 4 bit color, and some other stuff was just weird. Tried the last known good config there, nadda. Reinstalled the gfx drivers and fixed that bit, but other stuff was just off. In the end, a format/clean install was the way I had to go. There is nothing about browsing the web/posting in forums that should make the computer blue screen that one time (and not the many millions of others); but with Windows it's just one of those things we have gotten used to.


You can't compare "last known good" and system restore. It serves a completely different purpose.

Last know good will only affect settings saved in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet, nothing else.
Basically in most cases it will replace HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001 with HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet002, that is the backup made by Windows the last time you logged in. So you can only go back to the state of the last successful login using "last known good". It will in no way change anything regarding installations of programs etc.

I've always considered system restore a very useful feature of XP and never had problems using it.


Dave - has system restore ever worked for you? Or perhaps a better question would be did it work before it quit working?

If you are interested, turn off system restore - this will delete all your restore points, then go to the SVI folder and open it up, manually delete anything and everything in the folder.

Then turn System Restore back on (and I usually reboot just for good measure).

This should create a new Restore Point when you reboot. Try it to see if it works. I have found that sometimes there are some corrupted RP's left over - even though turning it off supposedly deletes all the RP's! The corrupted ones seem to stop system restore from working correctly! Been awhile since I did this - but I think you need to empty your recycle bin (if you have one) afterwards.
Damnyank: - System restore has never worked on my machine which over the last few years has seen some changes, mostly hardware changes. In fact I think that the ability of system restore not to work is the only thing not to have changed over this time. I regularly remove restore points using the XP utility provided. About a year ago I did try to delete some very large files, I think lurking in the directory you mentioned as I had just suffered a virus attack and Norton help (now not used anymore changed to kasperskey which located the virus) had mentioned that previous restore points generated by XP could have backed up the virus, I could not access the directory.

I will try your suggestion and report back as if system restore does not work on an o.k. machine nothing can be damaged.

:) :) :)

Perris Calderon

Staff member
Political User
dave, I love the restore utility...it used to get corrupted when I used to be among those that used registry scrubbers

but man, the restore has solved ussues I didn't want to track down me many a time.


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
Folding Team
There was one time system restore truly failed me - when my step-daughter installed iTones and then said she hated it and wanted MusicMatch back!

Suck on that System Restore!!

I know what I am doing, but even I had to admit defeat and go back to a driveImage backup (thank th egood Lord I bought my Maxtor just in time! Paid for itself instantly!)

Other than that - System restore - it does what it says on the tin!

American Zombie

Staff member
Political User
perris said:
dave, I love the restore utility...it used to get corrupted when I used to be among those that used registry scrubbers
Those and shutting down windows improperly can mess up restore points.

perris said:
but man, the restore has solved ussues I didn't want to track down me many a time.
Yep me too and if all restore points fail then I just do a repair with the CD.
Repair with CD has never failed me as it is basically reinstalling Windows but retaining your apps. :)
Damnyank: -

Tried your suggestion, it worked and in addition freed up about 5gig hard drive space. The only problem I encountered was accessing the system volume information file which I had to do in safe mode.

The data in this directory went back to 2001 then a gap to late 2003 then nothing.

Thanks Damnyank.

:) :) :) :)