System Restore: The Simple Solution to Complex IT Conundrums

System Restore: The IT Solution That Keeps it Simple

Computers have become indispensable to the lives of individuals and businesses in a technological age. Even though connected devices are gaining widespread adoption, according to Gartner projections, over 260 million PCs were sold in 2016. Moreover it has been revealed that Windows users outnumber Mac users 4:1 – there are as many as 100 million Mac users and 400 million active Windows users worldwide. A number this large also creates a wide catchment area for various OS-related problems. Many of these have an easy fix – a simple restart. For this we have System Restore. Users can bypass lengthy and complex procedures for a solution that can be activated with a single click of the restart button. So read on to find out more about what System Restore was built for and is capable of.

What is System Restore?

The answer to what System Restore is, lies in the name itself. Windows System Restore is a recovery tool which allows users to restore their computers to a pre-determined state of configuration. So, for users who want an undo button to go with their Windows operating systems, System Restore is a backup and restore solution that they have been looking for.
It should be noted that these changes only impact settings that are directly related to the operating system. These include installed programs, registry keys, drivers, and so on. For instance, a user may experience an unusual degree of sluggish performance after installing a new software or driver. System Restore takes care of the situation by restoring the endpoint to its previous state.
The key to activating System Restore is determining a system restore point. The system restore point is a snapshot of the entire system image saved at a particular date and time. In other words, it is the user’s ideal configuration to revert to upon unexpected failures.

The Fuel that powers System Restore

Windows System Restore itself has undergone changes. These are changes that have occurred along with revisions to the Windows operating system across various versions. System Restore in Windows 7 and after, for instance, is significantly different from System Restore features in Windows XP. The fuel that powered this change is Shadow Copy. This feature allows Windows to take a ‘snapshot’ of the user’s system which is later used as a reference to restore Windows to a pre-configured state. However, these changes might require anywhere between 8 minutes to 30 minutes to take effect.

Options to Restore Mac to Pre-configured Settings

The system restore functionality is also available to Mac users through Time Machine, a backup feature integrated into the Mac OS. Like its Windows counterpart, it also allows users to restore Mac to predetermined state. However, to leverage this solution effectively, users require an external hard drive to store system snapshots.

Existing Solutions Which Catalyzed the Creation of System Restore

System Restore has evolved as an answer to the invasive, intrusive and time-consuming solutions that were already available to users. In the absence of user-friendly and instantaneous measures to combat system-related challenges, the alternative was to design a solution that was accessible to users of all skill levels. However, for the longest time, one of the primary options available was to reinstall an operating system in case of pervasive system challenges that would affect usability. Usually this would involve the tedious process of backing up all files since a user would lose their data upon reinstalling their operating system.
Some of these methods have their own benefits, but fail when it comes to time and cost savings that System Restore facilitates. For instance, the process of disk imaging involves copying the entire content of one drive and moving it manually to another storage place. Buffer files on the other hand require users to decide which changes get written to their hard drive and which can go unrecorded. There are also other options such as resetting the entire client virtual machine. While each of these solutions come with their own set of benefits, none of them beat the sheer simplicity of System Restore.

Limitations of System Restore

  1. System Restore is not an anti-virus, so any affected files cannot be restored to their original state. It will not protect a workstation from malware of any kind. Furthermore, users run the risk of restoring any affected files upon every restore.
  2. While user-generated files remain unaffected, new user accounts if undefined before restoration will get deleted.
  3. System restore removes newly installed software partially. It only deletes executable files and DLLs which were added after the creation of restore point was created, but does not delete shortcuts and other files.
  4. Also, once System Restore is disabled, it deletes preset restoration points. Certain versions of Windows also do not allow users to define a restore Windows point while in Safe Mode, which means any restores performed in that mode are irreversible.

Deep Freeze vs System Restore

As an integrated feature, System Restore serves as an important function. It allows users a readily accessible system refresh option. A solution like Deep Freeze, on the other hand, offers certain documented advantages over any in-built features.
To begin with, Deep Freeze is compatible with a wide range of devices for varying degrees of usage. Whether those are laptops and notebooks for everyday use, or toughbooks and rugged computers that are built for heavy usage on the field. Deep Freeze is also compatible with new age devices like tablets and mobile computers running Windows operating systems.

Our documented evidence shows that Deep Freeze has reduced instances of ticket generation by 63 percent. Not only does this eliminate the need for complicated communication protocols between users and IT personnel, but also ensures longevity of endpoints. Our solution also offers central management capabilities which makes on-field IT support redundant. Users can also control their systems remotely from other devices.
Evidently, while System Restore has been fulfilling an important requirement, newer solutions for connected workplaces are emerging as the need of the hour.

About The Author

Matt Williams

A self-proclaimed ‘tech geek’, Matt has worked in technology for a decade and divides his time between blogging and working in IT. A huge New York Giants fan, expert on Reboot Restore Technology when not watching football Matt gets his game on playing Call of Duty with his friends and other tech bloggers.

Sign Up For A 30-Day Trial


Deep Freeze Enterprise

Centralized deployment and management as well as a host of configuration options for the Enterprise.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Ready to find out more about Faronics? Let us know how to reach you.

We're here to help you in any way possible.