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HP PCs - Using Microsoft System Restore (Windows 8)

This document applies to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 8.

This document explains how to use and troubleshoot the System Restore feature in Windows 8.

About System Restore

System Restore is a software program available in all versions of Windows 8. System Restore automatically creates restore points, a memory of the system files and settings on the computer at a particular point in time. You can also create a restore point yourself. Then, when you use System Restore to restore your computer to a point in time before an issue began, System Restore returns your computer to the files and settings from the restore point. Your personal files and documents are not affected.

You can also undo a System Restore if the restore does not resolve the issue or if the issue becomes worse.

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Differences between System Restore and HP Recovery Manager

Microsoft's System Restore is sometimes confused with HP's Recovery Manager software.
  • System Restore enables you to change a collection of Microsoft Windows system files to a configuration that existed at a particular point in time. No personal data files, such as email, documents, or pictures, are lost or changed.

  • HP Recovery Manager enables you to restore the computer's entire software configuration to its original factory condition. It reinstalls the original operating system (such as Windows) and removes all other software and personal data files. When recovery is complete, only the software that originally came with your computer will be available. You will need to reinstall additional software and any of your personal files that were backed up.

Whenever the computer suddenly develops a problem, you should first perform a System Restore to try to resolve the issue before performing a complete recovery using HP Recovery Manager.

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Enable System Restore

Microsoft System Restore is enabled by default on most, if not all, HP computers that come with Windows 8. However, Microsoft System Restore can be disabled and can cause problems if you try to restore from a previous point. To make sure System Restore is enabled, complete the steps below.

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  1. Save any open files and close all open programs.

  2. Press the Windows key ( ) + W to open the Settings menu, then type restore in the search field.

  3. In the search results, click Fix problems with your computer . The Action Center window opens.

    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. If a User Account Control window asks if you want to allow the program to make changes to the computer, click Yes .

    Figure 1: Action Center window

    Action Center main screen
  4. Click Recovery . The Recovery window opens.

    Figure 2: Recovery window

    Recovery window
  5. Click Configure System Restore , then click Next . The System Protection for OS window opens.

    Figure 3: System Protection for OS

    System Protection from OS window
  6. Click Turn on system protection , select your hard drive, then click Apply . Then click OK .

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Create a restore point

Windows 8 automatically creates restore points at regularly scheduled intervals and before many software installations. If you would like to create a restore point manually, use the steps below.

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  1. Save any open files and close all open programs.

  2. Press the Windows key ( ) + W to open the Settings menu, then type restore in the search field.

  3. In the search results, click Create Restore Point . The Create a restore point window opens.

    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. If a User Account Control window asks if you want to allow the program to make changes to the computer, click Yes .

    Figure 4: Create a restore point

    Create a restore point window
  4. Type a descriptive name for the restore point that will help you remember when you created the restore point. Then click Create .

  5. The computer creates the restore point.

    Figure 5: Creating system restore point

    Creating a system restore point
  6. When the restore point is created, a window appears stating that the restore point was created successfully. Click Close , and then click OK to close the system restore window.

    Figure 6: Success message

    Ilustration: Success message

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Restore your computer when Windows 8 starts normally

If the computer stops working correctly, you can restore it to a previous point in time when it was working. Use the following steps to restore your computer’s configuration.

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  1. Save any open files and close all open programs.

  2. Press the Windows key ( ) + W to open the Settings menu, then type restore in the search field.

  3. In the search results, click Fix problems with your computer . The Action Center window opens.

    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. If a User Account Control window asks if you want to allow the program to make changes to the computer, click Yes .

    Figure 7: Action Center window

    Action Center main screen
  4. Click Recovery . The Recovery window opens.

    Figure 8: Recovery window

    Recovery window
  5. Click Open System Restore . The System Restore window opens. Then click Next .

    Figure 9: System Restore

    System Restore
  6. Click the restore point that you want to use, then click Next . The Confirm Restore Point window opens.

    Figure 10: Confirm your restore point

    Confirm your restore point
  7. Click Finish to restore your computer to a previous point.

  8. Do not interrupt System Restore when it starts. This can corrupt your hard drive and create more problems. Click OK in the warning that appears.

    Figure 11: Do not interrupt warning

    Warning: Do not interrupt System Restore
  9. System Restore returns the computer configuration to a previous point in time and restarts.

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Restore your computer when Windows 8 cannot start normally

Use the following steps to restore your computer when Windows does not open normally.

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  1. Turn off the computer and wait at least 5 seconds with the computer in a full off state.

  2. Turn on the computer and repeatedly press the F11 key, about once every second, until you see the Windows loading screen.

  3. If a language selection screen opens, select the language you want to use to continue.

  4. On the Choose your keyboard layout screen, select the keyboard layout that matches your keyboard type.

    Figure 12: Choose your keyboard layout

    Choose your keyboard layout
  5. On the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot .

    Figure 13: Choose an option

    Choose an option screen
  6. On the Troubleshoot screen, click Advanced Options .

    Figure 14: Troubleshoot

    Troubleshoot screen
  7. On the Advanced options screen, click System Restore .

    Figure 15: Advanced options

    Advanced options screen
  8. Click Windows 8 as the target operating system.

    Figure 16: System Restore

    System Restore screen
  9. The System Restore window opens. Click Next .

    Figure 17: System Restore window

    System Restore window
  10. Click the restore point that you want to use, then click Next . The Confirm Restore Point window opens.

    Figure 18: Confirm your restore point

    Confirm your restore point
  11. Click Finish to restore your computer to a previous point.

  12. Do not interrupt System Restore when it starts. This can corrupt your hard drive and create more problems. Click OK in the warning that appears.

    Figure 19: Do not interrupt warning

    Warning: Do not interrupt System Restore
  13. System Restore returns the computer configuration to a previous point in time and restarts.

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Undo a restore

Follow these steps to undo the restore and put the files and programs on your computer back to the way they were before you used System Restore.

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  1. Save any open files and close all open programs.

  2. Press the Windows key ( ) + W to open the Settings menu, then type restore in the search field.

  3. In the search results, click Fix problems with your computer . The Action Center window opens.

    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. If a User Account Control window asks if you want to allow the program to make changes to the computer, click Yes .

    Figure 20: Action Center window

    Action Center main screen
  4. Click Recovery . The Recovery window opens.

    Figure 21: Recovery window

    Recovery window
  5. Click Undo System Restore , then click Next .

    Figure 22: Undo System Restore

    Undo System Restore
  6. Confirm that the date and time are correct, and then click Finish .

    Figure 23: Confirm the restore to undo

    Confirming the undo
  7. Do not interrupt System Restore when it starts. This can corrupt your hard drive and create more problems. Click OK in the warning that appears.

    Figure 24: Do not interrupt warning

    Warning: Do not interrupt System Restore
  8. System Restore undoes the restore and restarts.

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What to do when System Restore fails

Use the following steps if System Restore fails to create a restore point or fails to restore.

Step one: Disable virus scanning protection

Malware scanning software can have built-in protection systems that prevent other software programs from altering their structure - including System Restore. When System Restore is unable to use the files of the scanning software, System Restore fails and the following message appears:

Figure 25: Error: System Restore did not complete successfully

Error: System Restore did not complete successfully

To successfully restore your system, temporarily disable virus scanning and the built-in protection. To do this follow the instructions below.

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Most antivirus applications have a system tray icon. If so, switch to the desktop view and right-click the antivirus' tray icon to find options that allow you to temprorarily disable scanning or virus protection. It is a good idea to unplug any network cables and disconnect from the Internet while your virus protection is disabled.

Step two: Enable System Restore

If System Restore does not work in Windows 8, use the following steps to make sure System Restore is enabled and active.

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  1. Save any open files and close all open programs.

  2. Press the Windows key ( ) + O to open the Settings menu, then type restore in the search field.

  3. In the search results, click Fix problems with your computer . The Action Center window opens.

    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. If a User Account Control window asks if you want to allow the program to make changes to the computer, click Yes .

    Figure 26: Action Center window

    Action Center main window
  4. Click Recovery . The Recovery window opens.

    Figure 27: Recovery window

    Recovery window
  5. Click Configure System Restore , then click Next . The System Protection for OS window opens.

    Figure 28: System Protection for OS

    System Protection from OS window
  6. Click Turn on system protection , select your hard drive, then click Apply . Then click OK .

Step three: Create a restore point

If no restore point exists on your computer, System Restore cannot complete. The No restore points have been created on your computer's system drive error appears.

Figure 29: Error: No restore points have been created

Error message: No restore points have been created on the computer

This message also indicates that there is no data to restore from and you cannot restore to a previous point in time. However, it may be possible to create a restore point from the current system and restore with the system files currently on the computer. Doing so can resolve a variety of problems by rebuilding and relinking the file structure. Follow the instructions in the Create a restore point section to create a restore point.

Step four: Start System Restore from the startup screen

Use the instructions in the Restore your computer when Windows 8 cannot start normally section to restore your computer outside of the normal Windows 8 operating system environment.

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