XP Restore and MS Updates

  AlanHo 08:03 20 Feb 2003

I recently experienced some Internet Explorer 6 freezing and crashing problems and solved the problem by using the Windows XP restore feature to revert my system to an earlier date.

The date I reverted to was before auto-update downloaded some Microsoft Windows XP patches, before Office XP SP2 was installed and before I installed Windows XP SP1.

I assumed that the system would be restored back to its state prior to being updated with these patches – but Help-About in the Office programmes still shows the version as SP2, the various XP Hotfixes and Windows XP SP1 are still listed in Control Panel – Add or Remove Programmes and Windows XP is listed as version SP1 (using AIDA32).

In addition – when I log onto the Microsoft Update sites for both Windows XP and Office XP the checks indicate that I do not need any updates. If this is the case – what exactly has the restore function done ? For sure it cured my Internet Explorer problems but has it left some chaos in its wake ???

Confused !!

  Andsome 08:39 20 Feb 2003

I have been led to understand that XP restore only restores actual files to their original state, and DOES NOT restore the whole system, the same as 'Go Back' does.

  AlanHo 12:17 20 Feb 2003

Thanks for the thought and I agree the principle.

However - if a Microsoft update or Service Patch amends a file and the restore operation puts it back to its original state - then the update has surely been cancelled - either in whole or in part.

Why then do the list of Microsoft Hotfixes still show in Control Panel for deleting, the Windows XP show as version SP1 and MS Office show as version SP2 when these updates were originally installed after the restore point ?

I'm still confused.

  Andsome 12:27 20 Feb 2003

I am puzzled now

  AlanHo 20:37 23 Feb 2003

Thanks for the response - sorry I have got you scratching your head as well. This started off as almost a retorical question - but the more I think about it the more concerned I become.

I am surprised that I have not had more response from other members of this bulletin board because lots of people must use the XP restore function. Perhaps they have not noticed that in MS Office - Word, Exel etc do not seem to be affected but MS outlook reverts to the earlier calendar and contacts list. In addition, the Outlook Express address book would seem to go back to an earlier version. Hence some programmes are reverted by the restore function but others are not.

I have to confess that I have been able to amend my address book, contact list and Outlook calendar appointments and tasks etc without too many problems but it leaves me concerned about clearly identifying just what "Restore" does to which programmes and those it leaves untouched.

I have tried to get some answers from Microsoft Support but unfortunately my copy of Windows XP was provided with my new computer. Because it is an OEM version, Microsoft bounce my requests for information and direct me to the OEM who are reluctant to help. Hence my attempt to use bulletin boards for "Expert" advice.

  1514 21:13 23 Feb 2003

Why don't you take advantage of the freebie in this months PC Answers or rather March issue 117. "Acronis True Image" will more than solve your problems

  AlanHo 08:14 26 Feb 2003

Response from Microsoft Support which confirms that you need to be careful when using the Windows restore function........

Thank you for requesting support for Microsoft Office XP. In your case you have indicated in order to resolve a problem with Internet Explorer you used System Restore to revert your system back to a previous time prior to installing certain patches etc. for Office. You say that you would expect the system to be reverted to a state to reflect this but Office still shows that is has Service Pack 2 installed.

System Restore is a troubleshooting tool rather than a system backup application. The purpose of system restore is to back up the Windows registry and "core" files which affect the ability of the operating system to function. Any files which do not impact the ability of Windows to load and run are not backed up by system restore. It will not operate as a full "system backup".

A discrepancy can be found between the registry and program files as the registry is reverted to the previous snapshot but program files may not be reverted if not impacting the system. Office applications take their versions from the specific exe and dll files involved - as these files are not designated "core" files they remain at the patch level prior to using system restore.

Due to the way System Restore operates it can result in applications needing to be reinstalled as they may require files which have been reverted to a previous state or have lost their corresponding registry information if installed since the last restore point.

I hope this helps to clarify the situation.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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