How to Restore Computer to Its Previous State Prior to Corruption

By Andrew Cockerham

A corrupted computer is one of the most frustrating experiences for a computer user. While some people know right away how to fix the problem, many home users would just make the problem worse while trying to make repairs. For these users, the best option for restoring a computer to an earlier state is Windows System Restore. This utility records most major changes to your hard drive (program installs, etc.), so it can put everything back where it belongs without deleting your documents, music and pictures.

Insert the Windows installation DVD and restart your computer. If the computer doesn't boot from the DVD automatically, proceed to Step 2. If it does boot automatically, skip to Step 3.

Open your BIOS setup menu by pressing "F2," "F8," "Delete" or another key immediately after the power comes on. (The exact key will be shown on the first screen visible after power-up.) Go to the "Boot" menu and move your CD/DVD drive to the top of the list. Your computer will now boot from this drive first. Save your settings and exit.

Choose your installation language and answer any questions that appear about time and currency formats. When "Repair Your System" appears, click on it.

Select your operating system from the list that appears (unless you have multiple operating systems on your computer, you'll only see one option) and click "Next."

Click on "System Restore," then "Next." Select a "Restore Point" from the list that appears. Choose the most recent point at which you know the computer was working properly. Click "Next," then follow the on-screen prompts to confirm the restoration.

Wait for the computer to finish the System Restore. This will take some time. When the computer tells you that it has successfully restored your system, restart your computer. If it has been unsuccessful, select an earlier restore point and repeat the process.