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Windows 7: Advice On How To Proceed After A System Restore

19 Sep 2016   #1
JennX

Windows 7 64bit
 
 
Advice On How To Proceed After A System Restore

I have spent the better part of the weekend recovering from a catastrophic computer failure. After the harddrive failed leaving me with nearly irrecoverable data, I opted to basically rebuild a new computer and abandoning the old one.

My new system consists of a new case, motherboard, CPU, RAM and harddrive, with my GPU, keyboard, optical drive, and mouse salvaged from my old computer.

Over the course of the weekend I've been reinstalling lost software, rebuilding the contents of my former software profile. Daunting to say the least. At some point over the course of the evening when my computer was unattended, something happened. When I woke up, the computer had shut down, but my attempts to restart the computer failed. "Windows did not shut down properly." When I chose "Start Windows Normally", the Windows splash screen would show, then shut itself down. I was presented repeatedly with "Windows did not shut down properly" dialogue. This time I opted to start Windows from it's a last known point ... aka a restore point.

At least I am now able to restart Windows, but what toll did it take on all my work? I'm not sure of all the changes I had made after the last automatic restore point? What happens to applications installed after the last restore point? Are they still installed? What about any settings type files of applications changed after the last restore point? Registry changes to reflect software installations/changes after the last restore point?

Would it be in my best interest to wipe everything clean and restart the process of reinstallation? Or is that too drastic?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Sep 2016   #2
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

What happens to applications installed after the last restore point? Are they still installed?
Applications, installed at a later date than the date of the restored SRP, very likely need to be reinstalled

What about any settings type files of applications changed after the last restore point?
Tweaks, configurations, etc. done at a later date than the date of the restored SRP, very likely need to be redone.

Registry changes to reflect software installations/changes after the last restore point?
Registry changes done at a later date than the date of the restored SRP, very likely have to be redone.

How many changes ]and how much work was put in]were done at a later day than the date of the restored SRP may or may not "decide" if either redoing all those changes or a reinstall is better.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2016   #3
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JennX View Post
Or is that too drastic?
I'd say it's too drastic, at least as of right now---pending further developments.

You'll likely have to re-do everything done since the date/time of the restore point.

Of course when that was makes a difference. If you've devoted 50 hours to rebuilding and the restore point was after the first 10 hours, you'll have to re-do the last 40. I guess that's better than re-doing all 50. Or maybe you get lucky and have a restore point only 5 hours into the past.

In my experience, restore points work pretty well, so I'd give it a try and see if you can rely on it.

It might help you to just install and configure only your most often used apps to begin with. Worry about the lesser-used stuff as you need to at some point in the future. I rebuilt in April and I'd guess maybe 1/4 of the apps I used on my old PC have yet to be reinstalled and I haven't missed them yet.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Sep 2016   #4
MrHarambe

Windows 7 x64
 
 

You REALLY need to start backing up your data with a more secure solution. A Disk Imager like Macrium Reflect, Drive Cloner RX, or Acronis True Image work well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2016   #5
JennX

Windows 7 64bit
 
 

All valuable advice. Thank you.
It WAS easier to simply reinstall and start over. I can't recall all the changes that had been done.

MrHarambe, great advice and something I will look further into. However (based on my ignorance of disk imaging), if I can't even start Windows, where would I use this disk image? I would reinstall Windows 7 as I did, then apply the image rather than go through the process of reinstallation and reconfiguring of lost apps?

I suppose it would also be good practice to do routine restore points prior to each installation as a start so that I can restore from a selection. But if I recall, when this option was given to me, I wasn't given an opportunity to select from a collection of restore points.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2016   #6
Eric3742

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Do note that restore points works if the HDD is not damaged.

MrHarambe's advice is for permanent solution for in the future.

It also based on individual preference, on either or both, imaging and clone.
I just do cloning.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2016   #7
marsmimar

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JennX View Post
All valuable advice. Thank you.
It WAS easier to simply reinstall and start over. I can't recall all the changes that had been done.

MrHarambe, great advice and something I will look further into. However (based on my ignorance of disk imaging), if I can't even start Windows, where would I use this disk image? I would reinstall Windows 7 as I did, then apply the image rather than go through the process of reinstallation and reconfiguring of lost apps?

I suppose it would also be good practice to do routine restore points prior to each installation as a start so that I can restore from a selection. But if I recall, when this option was given to me, I wasn't given an opportunity to select from a collection of restore points.
Just a couple of thoughts. A system image is like a snapshot of your entire hard drive, including the operating system. All system imaging tools like Macrium Reflect Free, EaseUS Todo, even the built in Windows 7 system imaging, will give you the opportunity to create a bootable system repair CD/DVD. If your computer is unable to boot into the operating system you could use the bootable disk to access various repair functions and reinstall everything from the system image. Your computer would be in the exact condition it was in at the time the image was made. Ideally your system image would be kept on an external hard drive and not the computer's hard drive. (If your computer's hard drive ever had to be replaced you wouldn't want your system images to be on that same drive.)

As far as restore points are concerned, they take up space on your computer's hard drive and are a function of System Protection. System Protection must be turned on and you must have enough free space allocated on your computer's hard drive to store multiple restore points. As newer restore points are added, older restore points will be deleted. You can manage how much disk space is used for those restore points.

Hope some of this helps.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2016   #8
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JennX View Post
However (based on my ignorance of disk imaging), if I can't even start Windows, where would I use this disk image? I would reinstall Windows 7 as I did, then apply the image rather than go through the process of reinstallation and reconfiguring of lost apps?
No.

If you can't start Windows, you would boot the PC from a "recovery" USB flash drive or burned DVD that you had previously made within the imaging application of choice. The most popular choice around here is Macrium Reflect Free Edition. After booting from that media, you would be presented with the Macrium interface. You'd then use its menus to navigate to your previously made image file and restore it to your hard drive.

You could do the same thing if you could still start Windows.

The key point is to make the recovery media and confirm to your own satisfaction that it will in fact boot the PC. If it won't, you are hosed and can't restore the image if you cannot otherwise start Windows and get to the Macrium interface. You have to prepare for the worst case scenario--which is "my hard drive dropped dead".

You'd presumably make a new image file periodically--maybe weekly or monthly and keep the most recent two or three. Store them anywhere they will fit other than the partitions contained in the image. That is--if the image file is a representation of C, you'd store the image file on D, E, F, etc.

Imaging is done on a partition by partition basis---you select which partitions you want to include in the image file. Maybe one, maybe two, whatever you choose. Maybe all you need to image is C. Maybe not.

Macrium has a menu choice that effectively says "make an image file of all the partitions necessary to restore Windows". That would work. Or you could select the desired partitions manually.

A successful image restoration takes you back in time to the system status as of the day/time the image file was made. Any changes you might have made AFTER that date will of course NOT be restored---which is why you make new image files periodically.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Advice On How To Proceed After A System Restore




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