We see a lot of broken computers, dozens every week. As you might expect, faulty hardware is a common problem that we run into, and that usually means a physical repair. Although these types of repairs for us are common, we also see a significant amount of Windows laptops and PCs that come in with software problems: the dreaded “blue screen of death”, Chrome won’t open anymore, the speakers were working yesterday, but now they’re broken after a Windows update. We’re never quite done discovering new things that can wrong with Windows, even after 17 years of experience.
But what if there was a way to prevent the majority of these problems from spelling the death of your important files? Luckily, there is a way to do just that in Windows, and it only takes about five to ten minutes. Let us introduce you to System Restore Points.
System Restore Points were introduced in Windows ME in 2000, an operating system that would now be nearly old enough to drink. The inner workings of the feature have not been made public by Microsoft, but we do know the majority of what it can do from experience. The System Restore Point safely creates a copy of important system files, programs, the registry, and some other essential workings of the Operating System.
This comes in handy when Windows stops functioning normally, like the (hopefully not too-familiar) frowny face of the blue screen of death. That restore point that you made earlier gives you a great chance at being able to restore your computer back to how it was when it worked, keeping any files that you’ve created since. So, how do you make a System Restore Point?
Like many things in Windows 10, there’s several ways to get to the window to create a System Restore Point. My favorite is the fastest – hit the Windows key (⊞) or click the Windows icon in the bottom-left corner of your screen, then type “restore”, and click on the top result, which will read “Create a Restore Point”.
Alternatively, you can arrive here from the settings menu (Windows Key+I), or the gear icon in the start menu). From there, click the System Option, then click About in the lower-left hand of the Window, and then click on System protection on the right.
Once you’ve opened the System Protection window, you’ll see something that looks like this:
Well, you won’t have this cool Arbor Computers background, but we’ll have a link at the end of this guide, so that you don’t miss out.
We’ll make sure that the feature is turned on by clicking “Configure…”, and selecting “Turn on System Protection.” Windows 10 does have this feature turned off by default, so you’ll probably have to select this option. Don’t worry about the “Disk Space Usage” section too much – we’ve found that keeping the slider to 1-2% is just fine. Click on “OK” to confirm.
Now we’re ready to make the restore point! Click the “Create” button, give it a name, and click “Create.” Windows will take a minute to create the restore point.
That’s it! You’ve just safeguarded yourself against all kinds of software issues with Windows. If you get the blue screen of death, we’ll have a great chance at fixing your computer without losing any of your programs. We hope that you enjoyed this tutorial!
Here’s that background that we know you’ve just been itching to use: