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Windows 8 : Working with backup and restoration (part 3) - Restoring an entire computer, Using System Restore for less invasive troubleshooting

4/11/2014 2:55:22 AM
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4. Restoring an entire computer

Sometimes, just getting a few files back is not enough to solve a problem. Accidents happen, and the occasional recovery becomes necessary. Using images for backup and recovery has been available as part of Windows since Windows 7.

System image recovery options depend on your computer’s configuration. If you are using only Windows 8 and have no other operating systems on your computer, just pressing F8 to access the menu during startup will present the options you need. If your computer can start multiple operating systems, you must select the operating system to start and then press F8 to access the menu.

When you see the Advanced Boot Options screen, complete the following steps to recover your computer from a system image:

  1. Select Repair Your Computer.

  2. Choose the appropriate keyboard layout and tap or click Next.

  3. Enter your user name and password and tap or click OK.

  4. Select System Image Recovery from the Recovery Options menu.

  5. Choose a target operating system for the System Image Recovery.

    Windows scans for system images on the computer and selects the images it finds. If no images are found, a dialog box appears to inform you that no images were found. If you see this, tap or click Cancel to select the image yourself.

  6. Select the location of the image. If it is on DVD media, insert the DVD and select the image.

  7. If you need more options, click the Advanced button to enable driver installation for other devices or to access a network location containing the image.

  8. Select the image needed for the restoration and tap or click Next.

  9. Select the backup you want to use from the available backups list and tap or click Next.

  10. Select additional options, including:

    • Format And Repartition Disks Erases all data from your computer and realigns the disks according to the layout used in the image.

    • Install Drivers Enables you to install additional drivers during the imaging process.

    • Advanced Presents two additional options. You can either restart the computer after the restoration is complete or automatically check and update disk error information.

  11. Include the options you want to use and tap or click Next.

  12. Review the options you have selected and tap or click Finish to begin the restoration.

A progress bar appears during the process. The total time of the recovery varies, depending on the size of your computer’s hard disks and the amount of data contained in the image. When the computer restarts, it will be restored to the date and time selected.

In some cases, restoring a computer from a system image can be the fastest method available to restore the computer to a functional state. For example, an employee in the customer service department calls because his computer, which has few applications installed on it, is performing slowly. He explains that several windows pop up throughout the day, asking him to download and install an antivirus application he has never heard of. He wants to know what he should do.

Because investigating the malware might take more time than is available, you decide to restore the computer from a previously created image, making note of both the information about the malware displayed in the pop-ups and the version of antimalware definitions currently installed on the computer.

BACKUP AS GOOD AS RESTORE

When deciding which information to back up, keep in mind that the data might perform very well and appear to be available for use in case of emergency, but when you must use that backup, the information might be corrupted or unusable. Performing regular test restorations of information that has been backed up is the only way to determine whether the information that has been captured by backup will prove useful for something as simple as a missing file or as mission critical as a disaster recovery operation.

5. Using System Restore for less invasive troubleshooting

Completely removing everything from your computer and restoring your computer to a previous image periodically can keep your computer performing well for a very long time, but there are less extreme methods for recovering computers that are not working as they should. System Restore is a program included with Windows by which you can recover files after certain operations without harming your data on the computer.

For example, if a user installs a copy of Microsoft Office 2010 on his computer and something goes wrong during this process, the applications might not work properly—if the installation even completes. System Restore can roll back changes made to system files and attempt the installation again or decide not to install Micosoft Office.

Understanding how System Restore works

System Restore relies on snapshots of a computer that are taken before (and sometimes after) major events. A major event could be software or driver installation or a scheduled restore point snapshot configured by an administrator.

After the application is enabled and has snapshots from which to select, System Restore can roll back changes to the point in time of the selected snapshot. When the process is complete, the computer has no trace of the applications or settings that were installed following that restore point.

Configuring System Restore

To use System Restore in Windows 8, it must be enabled for a volume. To access System Restore, complete the following steps:

  1. Open the System Properties dialog box by selecting System from Control Panel or by searching for “system restore” on the Start screen.

  2. Select the System Protection tab, shown in Figure 5.

    System Protection tab in System Properties

    Figure 5. System Protection tab in System Properties

  3. Tap or click the Configure button to access and modify the options for System Restore, including:

    • Turning system protection on or off.

    • Setting the amount of disk space that System Restore should use for snapshots.

    • Deleting restore points.

Creating restore points

Windows automatically creates snapshots before application installations or Windows update applications, just in case there are problems. You can also create a snapshot manually by completing the following steps:

  1. On the System Protection tab of the System Properties dialog box (Figure 5), select the Create button.

  2. Enter a description for the snapshot.

  3. Tap or click Create.

  4. Tap or click Close after the restore point is created.

Using System Restore

After the restore points are created, they can be used to recover a computer to a point in time or to undo changes made following a restore point. To perform a system restore, complete the following steps:

  1. Open the System Properties dialog box.

  2. Select the System Protection tab (Figure 5).

  3. Tap or click the System Restore button.

  4. Tap or click Next on the welcome screen of the System Restore Wizard.

  5. Select the restore point you would like to use by highlighting it in the list of restore points.

    If the restore point you need is not listed, select the Show More Restore Points check box to see more options.

    If you are unsure which applications might be affected by a restore operation, click Scan For Affected Programs while a restore point is selected to list programs that might not work correctly if this restore is performed and programs that were added since the last restore point, which will be removed.

  6. Tap or click Next to review the options selected.

  7. Tap or click Finish to begin the restore process.

  8. Tap or click Yes to acknowledge the prompt and continue or tap or click No to cancel the restore.

  9. Your computer will restart during the system restore process.

    Following the restoration and restart of the system, a dialog box appears to inform you that the restore completed or did not complete.

  10. Tap or click OK to close the dialog box.

Important

YOU CANNOT STOP A RESTORE OPERATION

After a restore has been started, it cannot be cancelled or stopped until it has finished.

System Restore is an efficient way to roll back changes that were made to system files during troubleshooting, application installation, or the Windows update process. Using this method can save more time than performing a full computer restoration using a system image or installation media.

Note

ENABLE SYSTEM RESTORE

System Restore is not enabled by default in Windows 8. As in previous versions of Windows, this feature must be enabled to provide any recoverability for a computer.

 
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