How to Do a Complete System Restore

by Nichelle Coleman

A complete system restore, also called an in-place-upgrade, is a method used to repair a PC if it becomes inoperable or unstable. This action can undo damage without affecting your personal files. In order to perform a system restore, your installation disk for the operating system that you have installed in your PC is required. A system restore should be used as a last option to repair any known problems with your PC. If you are not comfortable performing this, you should take your PC to a professional for assistance.

Insert the installation disk into your PC. The disk will begin to process and you will see the Windows welcome page. Click "install." Next you will see the Windows installation page. Click "upgrade" in the "installation type" box. Then click "next." The license agreement page will be displayed.

Click "I accept this agreement" at the license agreement page. Then click "next." The product key page will be displayed. Enter the 25-character product key that came with your installation disk. Then click "next."

Allow Windows to perform the complete system restore and repair any damaged files. This process may take a while. After the complete system restore has completed, click "finish" to complete the process. Your PC has now been restored to its original settings.

Restart your PC and verify that it is operating properly.


  • close Be sure to back up any data before performing a complete system restore.

Items you will need

About the Author

Nichelle Coleman began writing professionally in 2005 and has contributed to professional sites, including and LIVESTRONG. With a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a master's in technical communication, she helps software companies create training documentation. She specializes in technical, educational and business topics.