What is the difference between a system restore and a complete PC restore? I thought it would be a good idea to do this little article on using system restore for a very good reason. In the past, I have seen some instances where data was lost in an attempt to do a system restore due to computer start up problems. System restore is a great feature that can fix minor computer problems when used correctly. Every once in a while a computer fails to start up due to a virus infection or some other computer issues, so the user is automatically prompted to use the advance options to try and resolve the issue.
This happens with Windows Vista and Windows 7. With a build in advanced system recovery, Windows Vista and Windows 7 give the user the option to “repair your computer” when there is a problem with the computer starting up. Once the user clicks on that option, the system walks them through to a panel of computer repair options that includes system recovery and diagnosis tools.
The computer may try to fix the “start up problem” automatically and may even prompt you to use the system restore feature. The system restore feature simply tries to return the computer’s settings back to a date or time before the problem occurred. Generally no data (documents, music, pictures, etc.) is lost by using system restore. This feature only fixes issues with the operating system by going back to when the settings worked okay. Now, there is another repair option in the advanced options panel to do a complete PC restore. This is only recommended as a last resort when System Restore fails. All important data (documents, pictures, music etc), must be backed up before doing a complete PC restore. I think the risk of losing data from using the complete PC restore feature comes from frustrated users trying to fix the problem, therefore failing to heed the warnings about data loss. Doing a complete PC restore does not mean that all your data will be restored too, unless you’re using some CDs or an external drive that have a complete backup of your computer. Without such a back up, the complete PC restore feature restores your computer to how it was (software-wise) when you got it out of the box. It only fixes software related problems, so if the problem is persistent after using this feature, then you are most likely dealing with some computer hardware related issues. I hope this helps to clarify things a bit. My final advice is when you find yourself getting frustrated when using the advanced system recovery options take a break and get back to it with a fresh mind. Always read the warnings before clicking on that “Next” button when in doubt, it will definitely save you from frustration and data loss in the long run. You can fix a lot of software related problems with using system restore, so I hope that now you feel encouraged to use it knowing how it works. If you are still not sure, bring your computer to us and we will fix it for you.