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How to Reset your Computer to an Earlier Date

How to Reset your Computer to an Earlier Date

Are you concerned about resetting your computer to an earlier date, without losing the integrity of your valuable files? The following article will provide you with an overview of this process.
Dhritiman Basu
Computers are a great boon to modern society. They handle simplified mundane tasks, which otherwise would have required a lot of time, money, and effort. They are the archetypes of our intellectual accolades, and they do tend to function in an undesired manner, because of faulty software/hardware architecture, or our reckless nonchalance regarding its proper usage. But since every problem has a solution, developers have devised a revolutionary and easy method of saving/restoring this machine to an optimum state, if the users run into a technical fiasco.

Windows Operating System

This system first started shipping the System Restore tool along with Windows Millennium or Windows Me. This tool can be used to create a reset point, which can be utilized as a reference to roll back your computer to a previous state, if the user is uncomfortable with the present configuration, or has any computer performance issues. It can be achieved by using the following steps.
  • Go to Start>Accessories>System Tools, and open System Restore.
  • Click restore my computer to an earlier time, and select the desired restore point to reset your machine to an earlier date. You can either create a restore point manually, or can choose any of the predefined ones that have been created automatically by Windows, on installation of parameters like a new software, update, or device driver.
  • Confirm the desired point to which you want to roll back your PC. It will present a warning regarding the consequences of this procedure, and advise you to save all documents before proceeding with the system restoration.
  • The restore point would then collect data, and the computer would show the restoration progress, which lasts for a couple of minutes, depending upon the restore date and the magnitude of data changes. The computer will restart after its completion of this procedure, and notify that it was accomplished.
System Restore works differently under Windows XP and Windows Vista, and is explained in the following table:

Windows XP Windows Vista
System Restore can use up to 12% of individual partition space. System Restore can use up to 15% of individual partition space, which could be adjusted using the DOS tool vssadmin.exe. Moreover, it cannot be activated on partitions that are less than 1 GB.
It excludes personal data files, documents, pictures, multimedia content, and .DLL and .EXE files that are present in the My Documents folder. Hence, it is always advised to save such files, before resetting to an earlier date. It does not exclude any monitored file type (.EXE and .DLL), no matter where it is saved on the hard drive.

It should be noted that the restore points are created and deleted on a First In, First Out basis.

Linux Operating System

Linux has always been considered as a cheap and reliable alternative for a lot of users, who can't afford to shell out the exorbitant price that is required to buy a legitimate Windows copy. It is an open-source operating system that is built on the highly-stable UNIX platform, which is largely used as a server operating system, though it is gaining popularity among personal users, as well. Unfortunately, it does not provide a dedicated restore tool for the reset computer to factory settings, but it does provide a range of third-party tools, to replicate the function of System Restore. Examples are rsync, Simple Backup Suite, AMANDA, and Bacula. If these tools are used effectively, users could achieve similar results like its Windows counterpart. Likewise, backing up the /home directory on the Linux partition, can also prove to be handy for saving precious data and recovering them when necessary.

Macintosh Operating System

Macs are usually associated with elite and sophisticated users, who wish to carve a niche in their respective realms. They are basically meant for multimedia enthusiasts who handle tons of media, and expect a top-notch experience. But any media, given its bulky file size, requires to be backed up so that it can be restored if something goes haywire. Time Machine is a handy backup/recovery tool that is shipped with Mac OS X Leopard. It backs up your system every hour, without you having to worry about anything. The computer could be reset to a previous date by simply booting up to the Leopard Installation DVD, and choosing Utilities>Restore System from Time Machine. Alternatively, Mac OS X Tiger also provides a similar tool called Carbon Copy Cloner, which is a free third-party software. It provides a simple yet intuitive interface with features like cloning hard drives,scheduled backup tasks, and easy resetting option. Moreover, it's also compatible with Leopard.