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Using Microsoft System Restore (Windows 8)

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This document applies to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 8.
This document explains how to use and troubleshoot the System Restore feature in Windows 8.

About System Restore

System Restore is a software program available in all versions of Windows 8. System Restore automatically creates restore points, a memory of the system files and settings on the computer at a particular point in time. You can also create a restore point yourself. Then, when you use System Restore to restore your computer to a point in time before an issue began, System Restore returns your computer to the files and settings from the restore point. Your personal files and documents are not affected.
You can also undo a System Restore if the restore does not resolve the issue or if the issue becomes worse.
NOTE: If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, some graphics and information in this document may vary. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.

Differences between System Restore and HP Recovery Manager

Microsoft's System Restore is sometimes confused with HP's Recovery Manager software.
  • System Restore enables you to change a collection of Microsoft Windows system files to a configuration that existed at a particular point in time. No personal data files, such as email, documents, or pictures, are lost or changed.
  • HP Recovery Manager enables you to restore the computer's entire software configuration to its original factory condition. It reinstalls the original operating system (such as Windows) and removes all other software and personal data files. When recovery is complete, only the software that originally came with your computer will be available. You will need to reinstall additional software and any of your personal files that were backed up.
Whenever the computer suddenly develops a problem, you should first perform a System Restore to try to resolve the issue before performing a complete recovery using HP Recovery Manager.

Enable System Restore

Microsoft System Restore is enabled by default on most, if not all, HP computers that come with Windows 8. However, Microsoft System Restore can be disabled and can cause problems if you try to restore from a previous point. To make sure System Restore is enabled, complete the steps below.
Show me how
  1. Save any open files and close all open programs.
  2. From the Start screen, type restore to open the Search charm, and then select Create a restore point from the search results.
    Figure 1: Searching for restore
    Search results for restore
    The System Properties window opens.
  3. On the System Properties window, select your hard drive, and then click Configure .
    Figure 2: System Properties
    Image of System Properties window
    The System Protection for Local Disk window opens.
  4. Click Turn on system protection , and then click OK .
    Figure 3: System Protection for Disk
    The System Protection from Local Disk window, with Turn on system protection selected, and OK encircled in red

Create a restore point

Windows 8 automatically creates restore points at regularly scheduled intervals and before many software installations. If you would like to create a restore point manually, use the steps below.
Show me how
  1. Save any open files and close all open programs.
  2. From the Start screen, type restore to open the Search charm, and then select Create a restore point from the search results.
    Figure 4: Searching for restore
    Search results for restore
    The System Properties window opens.
  3. On the System Properties window, click Create .
    Figure 5: System Properties
    Image of the System Properties window
    The System Protection window opens.
  4. In the text field in the System Protection window, type a descriptive name for the restore point that will help you remember when you created the restore point. Then click Create .
    Figure 6: Create a restore point
    The System Protection Create a restore point window
    The computer creates the restore point.
    Figure 7: Creating system restore point
    The System Protection window, displaying a restore point creation progress bar
  5. When the window appears stating that the restore point was created successfully, click Close .
    Figure 8: Success message
    The success message on the System Protection window

Restore your computer when Windows 8 starts normally

If the computer stops working correctly, you can restore it to a previous point in time when it was working. Use the following steps to restore your computer’s configuration.
Show me how
  1. Save any open files and close all open programs.
  2. From the Start screen, type restore to open the Search charm, and then select Create a restore point from the search results.
    Figure 9: Searching for restore
    Search results for restore
    The System Properties window opens.
  3. Click System Restore .
    Figure 10: System Properties
    Image of System Properties window
    The System Restore window opens.
  4. Click Next .
    Figure 11: System Restore
    The System Restore window, with Next encircled in red
  5. Click the restore point that you want to use, then click Next .
    The window to confirm your restore point opens.
  6. Click Finish to restore your computer to a previous point.
    Figure 12: Confirm your restore point
    The Confirm your restore point System Properties window, with Finish encircled in red
  7. Do not interrupt System Restore when it starts. This can corrupt your hard drive and create more problems. Click Yes in the warning that appears.
    Figure 13: Do not interrupt warning
    The warning that appears before beginning a System Restore
  8. System Restore returns the computer configuration to a previous point in time and restarts.

Restore your computer when Windows 8 cannot start normally

Use the following steps to restore your computer when Windows does not open normally.
Show me how
  1. Turn off the computer and wait at least 5 seconds with the computer in a full off state.
  2. Turn on the computer and repeatedly press the F11 key, about once every second, until you see the Windows loading screen.
  3. If a language selection screen opens, select the language you want to use to continue.
  4. On the Choose your keyboard layout screen, select the keyboard layout that matches your keyboard type.
    Figure 14: Choose your keyboard layout
    The Choose your keyboard layout screen
  5. On the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot .
    Figure 15: Choose an option
    The Choose an option screen, with Troubleshoot selected
  6. On the Troubleshoot screen, click Advanced Options .
    Figure 16: Troubleshoot
    The Troubleshoot screen, with Advanced options selected
  7. On the Advanced options screen, click System Restore .
    Figure 17: Advanced options
    The Advanced options screen, with System Restore selected
  8. Click Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 as the target operating system.
    Figure 18: System Restore
    The System Restore screen, with a target operating system selected
    The System Restore window opens.
  9. Click Next .
    Figure 19: System Restore window
    The System Restore window, with Next encircled in red
  10. Click the restore point that you want to use, and then click Next .
    The Confirm Restore Point window opens.
  11. Click Finish to restore your computer to a previous point.
    Figure 20: Confirm your restore point
    The Confirm your restore point screen, with Finish encircled in red
  12. Do not interrupt System Restore when it starts. Doing so can corrupt your hard drive and create more problems. Click Yes in the warning that appears.
    Figure 21: Do not interrupt warning
    The warning that appears before beginning a System Restore
  13. System Restore returns the computer configuration to a previous point in time and restarts.

Undo a restore

Follow these steps to undo the restore and put the files and programs on your computer back to the way they were before you used System Restore.
Show me how
  1. Save any open files and close all open programs.
  2. From the Start screen, type restore to open the Search charm, and then select Create a restore point from the search results.
    Figure 22: Searching for restore
    Search results for restore
    The System Properties window opens.
  3. Click System Restore .
    Figure 23: System Properties
    Image of System Properties window
    The System Restore window opens.
  4. Select Undo System Restore , and then click Next .
    Figure 24: Undo System Restore
    The screen to undo System Restore, with Next encircled in red
  5. Confirm that the date and time are correct, and then click Finish .
    Figure 25: Confirm the restore to undo
    The Confirm your restore point screen, with Finish encircled in red
  6. Do not interrupt System Restore when it starts. This can corrupt your hard drive and create more problems. Click Yes in the warning that appears.
    Figure 26: Do not interrupt warning
    The warning that appears before beginning a System Restore
  7. System Restore undoes the restore and restarts.

What to do when System Restore fails

Use the following steps if System Restore fails to create a restore point or fails to restore.

Step one: Disable virus scanning protection

Malware scanning software can have built-in protection systems that prevent other software programs from altering their structure - including System Restore. When System Restore is unable to use the files of the scanning software, System Restore fails and the following message appears:
Figure 27: Error: System Restore did not complete successfully
The error message that appears when System Restore did not complete successfully
To successfully restore your system, temporarily disable virus scanning and the built-in protection. To do this follow the instructions below.
Show me how
Most antivirus applications have a system tray icon. If so, switch to the desktop view and right-click the system tray icon for your antivirus application to find options that allow you to temporarily disable scanning or virus protection. It is a good idea to unplug any network cables and disconnect from the Internet while your virus protection is disabled.

Step two: Enable System Restore

If System Restore does not work in Windows 8, use the following steps to make sure System Restore is enabled and active.
  1. Save any open files and close all open programs.
  2. From the Start screen, type restore to open the Search charm, and then select Create a restore point from the search results.
    Figure 28: Searching for restore
    Search results for restore
    The System Properties window opens.
  3. On the System Properties window, select your hard drive, and then click Configure .
    Figure 29: System Properties
    Image of System Properties window
    The System Protection for Local Disk window opens.
  4. Click Turn on system protection , and then click OK .
    Figure 30: System Protection for OS
    The System Protection from Local Disk window, with Turn on system protection selected, and OK encircled in red

Step three: Create a restore point

If no restore point exists on your computer, System Restore cannot complete. The No restore points have been created on your computer's system drive error appears.
Figure 31: Error: No restore points have been created
The error message that appears when no restore points have been created on the computer
This message also indicates that there is no data from which to restore and you cannot restore to a previous point in time. However, it may be possible to create a restore point from the current system and restore with the system files currently on the computer. Doing so can resolve a variety of problems by rebuilding the file structure. Follow the instructions in the Create a restore point section to create a restore point.

Step four: Start System Restore from the startup screen

Use the instructions in the Restore your computer when Windows 8 cannot start normally section to restore your computer outside of the normal Windows 8 operating system environment.

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