System Restore doesn't (3 times)

  Pineman100 16:09 27 Mar 2006

I run Windows XP SP2.

Yesterday I tried using System Restore to resolve a problem. And it refused to work despite my trying 3 different points. Each time it went through its usual procedure, restarted the computer, and then reported "System Restore was unable to restore your computer. No changes have been made." (or words to that effect).
I have checked that SR is enabled - it definitely is. It has 12% of my 200GB C: drive allocated to it, and the drive is only about 10% full.
I tried SR twice using System Checkpoints, and once using a restore point that I had created myself. All these points were less than three weeks ago. Each attempt achieved the same result.

I have one additional piece of information that may or may not be relevant: I have an external USB HDD that I use for backups. This drive is registered by SR as one of the two drives that it monitors. However, yesterday when I tried using SR this USB drive was switched off. Could this be relevant? (It's only just occurred to me!)

Any ideas gratefully received.

  Stuartli 16:24 27 Mar 2006

System Restore only normally makes a restore point if there are system or software installations or uninstallations.

Re the 12 per cent allocated to SR - this figure was set as the default in the days when HDD capacities were very much smaller than today's mega gigabyte drives.

Around five per cent would be more than sufficient.

  Pine Man 16:27 27 Mar 2006


I had the same problem recently and so have a lot of others. It makes you wonder whether some of the MS updates have been interfering with our o/s's.

The simple way to try and fix it is to switch of System Restore and re-boot your computer before switching it back on again. If that fails, and it did for me, the answer is re-installation of System Restore carried out as follows:-

Go to Start - Run and type %Windir%\INF then press enter.

In Windows Explorer go to Tools - Folder Options - View Tab and uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types”.

Find the sr.inf file, right click on it and select Install.

If the Files Needed dialog box appears, click Browse and point to the i386 folder on the Windows XP CD or to the i386 folder on the hard drive, if it exists, or for systems updated with the Service Pack 2 CD or Downloaded from Microsoft, browse to the C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles\ folder.

Good luck!

  €dstowe 16:49 27 Mar 2006

I never rely on System Restore. As you are finding - it can fail without warning.

Much better to have a backup of your system.

Ensure you make a backup regularly and most certainly before any and every change you make to hardware and software installations.

  Pineman100 16:51 27 Mar 2006

Thanks Stuartli and Pine Man. Do either of you think that my USB drive might be to blame for this problem?

Pine Man, I'm going to try your recommendations. Before I do, I don't have an ordinary Windows XP CD. Mine is a manufacturer's recovery CD (Packard Bell) that I had to create (following PB's instructions) when I first got my machine. Is it likely that I will have any problem finding the necessary file(s) on this CD?

Other Pineman.

  Pineman100 16:53 27 Mar 2006

I have a USB hard drive that I use for backing up my data. I guess that backing up my system on this is rather more complicated than just copying files across, isn't it? How can I do this?

  woodchip 17:32 27 Mar 2006

I know this will not make System Restore work. But consider getting a Image Program, Something you can rely on to put your computer back in working order. System Restore will have to be turned off then back on to Reactivate it, but you will lose all restore points

  Pine Man 18:22 27 Mar 2006

You shouldn't have any problems. If the Files Needed dialog box comes up it will direct you to where the files should be found. If, for some reason, you can't locate the files nothing is lost as the re-installation cannot take place and your system will remain as it was.

I am bound to say that having had System Restore fail I no longer rely on it but use Acronis True Image 9 which is brilliant. I did try all of the different version of Norton Ghost before that and couldn't get on with any of them.

  €dstowe 18:33 27 Mar 2006

Do as Pine Man - use a backup program such as Acronis. You can back up easily to your USB drive.

  Pineman100 18:54 27 Mar 2006

Thanks, chaps. Yes, Pine Man, I still have Norton Ghost 2003 gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere. Maybe I should try Acronis.

Thanks again.

  woodchip 19:02 27 Mar 2006

I use both these click here

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