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Windows 7: Don't see System Restore Points in folder

17 Jun 2015   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Don't see System Restore Points in folder

I feel like a little background is necessary before I get into the Win 7 issue.

One way I've restored XP computers to an earlier time that has worked really well is to boot the PC that is failing to work off of a flash drive that has Parted Magic on it. This loads the Linux OS into RAM. Once Parted Magic is up (any Linux OS that runs off of RAM or the flash drive would work) I open two file manager windows.

I drill down into the C:\Windows\System32\Config folder in one window.

I drill down into the C:\System Volume Information\Restore folder in the other window. I pick the restore point I want to use (based on going to Properties and looking at the date and time), then open the folder and drill down into the Snapshot folder.

The Config folder contains five files I need to delete: default, sam, security, software, and system. I delete those files (if this was the first time you were doing this you might want to rename them if that makes you feel better).

I then copy and paste the files from whichever restore point I decide to go with (located in the C:\System Volume Information\Restore folder\RPXXX\Snapshot). So I copy the same five files over. They have extra stuff in the name so the one for System for example looks like "_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM". So once they are copied over to the C:\Windows\System32\Config folder, I'd turn that into "System" (without the quotes of course). So you rename the five files so they are: default, sam, security, software, and system. With that done, I reboot the PC and it has been restored to whichever date/time I picked. Super fast thing to do, don't need to do any command line stuff, don't need to find a restore disk. Can be really handy when you are unable to boot into Safe Mode to do a restore. Don't have to worry about permissions to access the System Volume Information folder because Linux is more than happy to grant you all the access you need.

Now for the Windows 7 issue...I've checked several forums online and everything seems to point to the restore points being kept in the same location (System Volume Information) and yet when I do to that on a Win 7 computer, I am unable to find them. I am attaching a couple of screenshots (one from an XP example and another from a Win 7 example) that show what I see when I'm working with these folders.

I am also attaching a screenshot which shows the Windows 7 computer's System Volume Information folder. There are several files in there that, I believe have to do with the restore points since the dates match up with the restore points listed when I go into the Win 7 OS and look at them. But, I don't see the five files I believe I need to copy over. I see them in the Config folder on the Win 7 machine so it isn't like Win 7 doesn't use them. It clearly does, I just don't see them in the Sys Vol Info folder. I've drilled down into the folders that are listed (Specifically checked out the Windows Backup folder) but don't find the five files I'm looking for.

Any advice will be appreciated.

Attached Thumbnails
Don't see System Restore Points in folder-xp-system-restore.png   Don't see System Restore Points in folder-windows-7-trying-find-restore-points.png   Don't see System Restore Points in folder-system-volume-information.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2015   #2

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Some followup info...

I did find that there are system files in the C:\Windows\System32\config\RegBack but they seem to be from only one point in time. I didn't have the option to pick a date to restore to.

Also, while copying the files (default, sam, security, software, and system) from the RegBack folder and putting them into the config folder (overwriting the same files there) has worked for at least one user in a different forum; it didn't work for me.

Seems like there should be a way to extract those files (default, sam, security, software, and system) from one of the restore points in the System Volume Information folder so I could replace the files with those names located in the C:\Windows\System32\config folder.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2015   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

I found an article that pretty much walks through the steps, similar to XP steps you can take if you are using a repair disk to backup, copy, and rename the appropriate files. This article has to do with doing this on Windows 7 though. I haven't had a chance to test it out yet but I'm guessing it will work.

The article is here: How to Restore Registry Hives on Windows 7 | Captain Debugger

I turned it into a PDF so it would be a little cleaner to read and to make sure I have a copy that isn't reliant upon the above link working. I'm attaching it to this post.

I won't mark as Solved yet because I'd like a chance to play with this solution first.

Attached Files
File Type: pdf How to Restore Registry Hives on Windows 7.pdf (212.2 KB, 3 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Jun 2015   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

I am trying to understand what you are trying to accomplish :) Why not just use a repair disk to restore to a previous state? Or better yet have additionally an image backup set up (say, with Macrium free)?

However, bookmarked that link just in case and noticed this at the end of that article:

You could also use Paragon Software (Free edition) to restore those file. Use the File Transfer to copy the files over. Thanks to SIW2 for this tip.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jun 2015   #5

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Yes, the repair disk is a great way to restore to a previous state...when it works. I've had trouble with that and so I don't even bother with it anymore since booting into a Linux OS off a flash drive has been foolproof for me with XP computers to manually copy the files; I was hoping to find a similar solution for Windows 7.

I like the image idea but the computers I support are constantly changing and it would be ideal to use a system restore rather than resorting to an image that could be a few months old. An image is certainly great to have when all else fails. Had to resort to that today in fact since the repair disk wouldn't fix the startup and wouldn't let me pick any restore points.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Don't see System Restore Points in folder

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