Posted in | 10 Responses
Sandip Dedhia

Sandip Dedhia

Sandip Dedhia is the founder of, he loves to write on technology, gadgets & web services. At Blogsdna you can read his Windows tutorials, free and useful software related articles. He is on twitter too @sandipnd View author profile

10 Responses to Exploring Windows 7 System Restore & Restore Previous Versions

  • Allen says:

    This article would be fine if it showed a new user HOW TO ACCESS THE RESTORE.

  • Martin says:

    Sandip, you could also take a look at I designed it after realising that Vista would not give me access to all of the versions of my files, only the ones that existed when the backup was made. :)

  • Marcus says:

    NOTE: Windows 7 restore, just like any restore function employed by Microsoft doesn’t restore 100% completely. VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND!

    Thus, the term “complete system restore” is a 100% lie. Never ever use system restore by Microsoft software IF you wish for complete and 100% accurate backups.

    /Marcus – Computer Engineer

  • N0ne says:

    3. You can’t restore just one single file or folder.

    4. You can’t restore specific part of your Windows like just System files, or User data etc.

    Not exactly: there are some free utils to do so, f.e. Shadow Explorer…

  • toysareforboys says:

    1. Every time you need to restore your full system which is time consuming *WRONG*
    2. You can’t look inside your System Restore files *WRONG*
    3. You can’t restore just one single file or folder. *WRONG*
    4. You can’t restore specific part of your Windows like just System files, or User data etc. *WRONG*

    Ummm, you guys DO know that in Windows Vista or 7 you can pull out ANY file or folder from any system restore point and restore it to where ever you want right?!?! Right from windows explorer, no 3rd party utils required!

    RIGHT CLICK on the DRIVE that contains the files you want to restore (i.e. C:), click Properties. Click the “Previous Versions” tab and it will show you every date and time of any system restore point you have made. Double click on one and now you’ll be browsing a virtual image of your “old” hard drive (even folders you have since deleted will show up!). You can copy and paste any files or folders from this “virtual” image of your hard drive to any other location!! Works really well for recovering the Windows Registry manually after your hard drive dies (registry is in c:windowssystem32config and c:usersyourusernamentuser.dat)

    -Jamie M. (computer technician)

  • toysareforboys says:

    Allen: See my post above… right click on the drive you want to restore files from, click properties. Click the “previous versions” tab, double click on the date and time of a restore point. Browse this “virtual” image of how your hard drive use to look, copy and paste out what you want. Done =)

    -Jamie M.

  • toysareforboys says:

    After just using this method to recover data from a customers hard drive (the Users folder was missing from the hard drive, and normal undelete programs found no trace of it) I will tell you about some issues I ran in to with Windows copy (explorer):

    1. If it gets an error during the copy, and you click “skip file”, it aborts the entire copy operation. This is opposite to how it would normally behave.
    2. Windows copy only seems to copy the ACTUAL files that were backed up on that specific restore date, and doesn’t include any previous files from previous restore points, etc.
    3. If you are restoring these files using a different computer (i.e. you have transplanted the hard drive into another machine to recover the data) you might run into crazy permission problems on the folders (the “usersmy documents” folder and the registry folder “system32config” are two I had problems with). Because this is a read only “virtual” image you are unable to take ownership of the folder/files to get access to them like you normally would.

    Solution… Use Windows Server 2008 R2 with TeraCopy. You can download a free copy of Server 2008 R2 from Microsoft that works flawless for this purpose:

    Server 2K8 R2 seems to ignore any of the special permissions assigned to the folders, and TeraCopy sees the perfect virtual image of the hard drive, including both files that were backed up at that restore point, as well as filling in any files that weren’t with files from previous backups!! *Hint: Rather then trying to browse to the file you want to recover and drilling down to it folder by folder, if you remember where it was, just right click on the folder that contained it, TeraCopy it somewhere on your computer and VOILA! Like magic all the current and old files are in there… So funny when you see it in action “windows explorer said the folder was empty (because it contained no backups on that specific restore point) but I TeraCopied the folder to my hard drive and my 37 gigs of pictures and music is back!” lol! Nutty!

    Woot for shadow copy, free server 2008 R2 and free TeraCopy.

    -Jamie M.

  • unreasonable deletion says:

    windows 7 is deleting all restore points without permission or warning on shutdown. system restore is also disabled myteriously with no ability to re enable it

  • Ty Buchanan says:

    Pity Windows 7 is absolute rubbish and System Restore never works for very long even with a fresh installation.

  • Tim says:

    I’m desperately trying to do a system restoration from Recovery Environment (because the computer will not boot). But although I specifically created a restore point manually only a couple of weeks ago, it says it cannot find any restore points. Is there any way to help it find one, perhaps using the OS prompt?
    Any advice greatly appreciated!