General Question

RareDenver's avatar

Why will System Restore not work?

Asked by RareDenver (13173points) March 29th, 2010

My PC has gotten a little glitchy over the past few days and after running loadsa scans and coming up with no obvious issues I decided to try restoring the system to a restore point prior to it starting to misbehave.

Every restore point I choose doesn’t seem to want to work, it attempts to restore and when it boots back up again it says it hasn’t been able to restore to said point and that no changes have been made.

Any suggestions as to why this might be happening? I’m using Windows XP Home Edition Version 2002 Service Pack 3

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34 Answers

Thammuz's avatar

I’m using Windows XP Home Edition Version 2002 Service Pack 3

There’s your answer.

All jokes aside though, it is likely that the restore points have been corrupted, next time you should make regular images of your system configuration with an external program…
All i could suffest is a clean install, i’m not really familiar with how windows restores itself, but if the overall performance of the system is any indication you shouldn’t have trusted it to work to begin with.

I know my reply hasn’t been of any help, by the way, but, really, that’s all i could come up with with this data.

Have you installed anything in particular? used some program, had any issues with some program prior to windows fucking up?

Anyway you should always keep the system and the data separated when running windows, you’ll never know when you’ll have to format and reinstall.

Oh, a useful sufggestion: you can run a virus scan from a live linux distribution, that way you know it won’t be affected by any virus. It takes a little to prepare but it works, and it works well.

davidbetterman's avatar

sounds more like you downloaded some malware and system restore won’t erase the worm.

zandrace's avatar

Do you happen to be running Norton antivirus?

FutureMemory's avatar

I have had the same problem on my vista OS machine. I’ve never been able to figure out why it happens, and ultimately I end up having to reformat the computer. I’m lucky I have a few external drives to transfer all my files to, otherwise I’d lose everything.

RareDenver's avatar

@FutureMemory yeah my next idea was to transfer all I want to keep to my external HD and reformat my machine

RareDenver's avatar

@Thammuz I haven’t installed anything recently but I have uninstalled a few things

njnyjobs's avatar

Were you trying to restore in Normal Mode or in Safe Mode?

Thammuz's avatar

@RareDenver That might be the problem. Try the restore in safe mode. After that you really should only backup and reformat. And next time divide your HDD so you can avoid the whole backup process the next time this happens. Because it will, with windows it ALWAYS does.

RareDenver's avatar

Nope, doing it in Safe Mode didn’t work either

Thammuz's avatar

Oh joy. Formatting on the horizon.

Jerikao's avatar

Honestly, what do you mean by “glitchy” over the past few days? That’s not really a good description.

Also, what are the hardware specs for the computer?

And how old is the system?

Hardware does get old, harddrive seek times do slow down. When is the last time you defragmented the drive?

Have you tried clearing your temp files to see if that helps a little? And I don’t mean the internet temp files, I’m referring to the application temp files located in your windows directory.

njnyjobs's avatar

@RareDenver . . .what you probably need at this point is a Registry cleaner. There are a few good candidates available at Do your research and determine which applies best for your situation.

Jerikao's avatar

@njnyjobs Useful idea, but again… The question lacks any real information on what they have tried.

As far as a registry cleaner/temp file cleaner… I would suggest ccleaner. It has been my standby for a couple years now.

RareDenver's avatar

I already used cCleaner the other day, and when I say glitchy I mean a few applications are freezing, drop down menu’s are not showing when they should, media files are intermittently sticking during playback, just generally my PC is being a bitch.

I think actually I do just need to strip it back and start afresh so to speak. I might leave it a couple weeks and do it when I move and change over to a fibre optic broadband provider.

RareDenver's avatar

@njnyjobs I bought the PC in 2006 I think and last defragged maybe 6 weeks ago

njnyjobs's avatar

Is there a possibility of Uninstalling Service Pack 3 at this point?

Thammuz's avatar

@njnyjobs would it change anything, besides maybe buying him another couple of months?

When windows starts fucking up, it only gets worse with time, that’s for sure, and i’m not saying it just to hate, it’s just fact. I use ubuntu, but when i didn’t use it i had to reinstall the system at least once a year. If it turned out to be a lucky year.

Every time someone asks me to format and restore their computer i do two thigs: partitionate the disk so that if the system fucks up the data is safe, and install linux on a separate partition.

Firstly internet is safer with linux, as there are no viruses that can attack it, secondly a linux partition to scan for virii, backup the windows partition and all in all keep in check the PC is ALWAYS a good idea.

I say format and get it over with, make a secondary partition and make a backup image of the main partition so you don’t have to go through this shit again.

njnyjobs's avatar

@Thammuz OP has that option to re-format, but there may be factors unknown to us that may prevent him from doing so. Some thing I can think of are installed applications for which he doesn’t have re-installations discs, or an enormous amount of data that he needs to back-up and restore. Only OP can make that decision… right now, all we’re doing here is giving options to work with that may possibly resolve his issues.

As far as operating XP on SP2 and securtiy updates alone, this is what I have been doing a on several dozens of enterprise PC’s that I’m currently supporting. The first few PC’s that I had upgraded to SP3 gave me so much problems that to date, I have refused to install the full-blown service pack on the rest of clients. The way I see it, the business enterprise I am supporting is not changing it suite of apps in the next year or so, which gives Win7 the chance to mature to a stable level before I even have to deal with it on a full-time basis. Right now, I get my fair share of Win7 woes from newer laptop users, which is no biggie as they are not permanently attached to the enterprise server.

Thammuz's avatar

@njnyjobs Granted, but he also wants a computer that works, and even uninstalling SP3 that’s gonna leave an aftermath of some sort, fucking with updates has always come back to bite me in the ass, but then again that’s my personal experience and by no mean a universal truth.

Anyway i have to admit, if he never reinstalled since 2006, that’s a pretty decent run for a windows system.

njnyjobs's avatar

@Thammuz well maybe the problem is that you fuck things up with Windows by installing all sorts of apps and what nots. I have systems running XPP, even Win2000 Pro, deployed 7–10 year ago on Pentium III and IV processors without having to re-format HDD. Amazingly, those 20–40gb HDDs are still humming along at speeds of 5400rpm. The reason they’re still up? the users know well enough to use them only for their intended purposes. If they must use the web for their personal searches or applications, they are free to connect their own personal laptops/netbooks to the public wi-fi zone.

davidbetterman's avatar

@RareDenver CCleaner is not all that good a product (it sucks). Get some real anti-virus protection elsewhere and do a real scan…

the100thmonkey's avatar

As @njnyjobs said, a four year run for an OS (actually, any OS, given how often they are updated and superceded these days) is a damn fine game of cricket.

There is always the option of the XP repair install, which will replace any corrupt files. Alternatively, running “sfc /scannow” from the DOS prompt might work. Both of these require a working XP installation disc.

If neither of the above options work, then a full format is pretty much all that can be done to resurrect the install. Once everything you want is installed and happy, make an image of the drive for later restoration, and replace it regularly!

@davidbetterman – CCleaner isn’t an anti-virus program; it cleans out crap such as unused file extensions and registry errors. I’m confused as to how you would consider it AV software…

Thammuz's avatar

@njnyjobs we’re not talking about an enterprise here, that probably is his own computer, if in order not to fuck it up he needs to treat it as a hermit, not doing any websurfing and not installing uninstalling and reinstalling apps then what the hell is the point of even having a computer for 4 years? he might as well disconnect it from the net and use it as a typewriter at this point.

I understand that an office computer is more stable than a home computer, then again it is likely that an office computer will be a stationary environment, with little changes to the OS itself once it has reached a balance. That is never true for a home computer, though.

RareDenver's avatar

@davidbetterman I used cCleaner to clean up old crap, the scans I have already done to look for issues were done with the following

AVG Free Edition
Spybot Search & Destroy
Microsoft Security Essentials

davidbetterman's avatar

@RareDenver My mistake. For some reason I thought it was an antiviral…come to find out I am running CCleaner, too. But my Webroot found a couple of bugs that the windows defender missed, and that the CAYahooAntispy missed.

njnyjobs's avatar

@Thammuz you have a valid point with regards to personal computing vs business computing. However, using due discretion in running apps and surfing the internet should keep a system humming along. I have several PCs that I use at home on Win2KPro, XP and Vista. I have instructed my family members of the do’s and don’ts of the system usage and we have had our share of malware hijacks. Fortunately, presence of mind of the user tells them to immeidately shut down the system and consult with a pro (me) how to proceed.

It is not difficult to practice safe computing. The problem is that most users are blinded by the glitz and sparkle of technology, buying into the hype without the proper “education” so to speak of its potential pitfalls.

gnsagar27's avatar

Are you using the retail copy or pirated one?
If it is pirated,then may be it has become corrupt.

RareDenver's avatar

@gnsagar27 retail copy my good man and even if it wasn’t I would say it is, the CIA are watching

gnsagar27's avatar

It’s good news that you have retail copy.I’m not sure why its happening.Do check for malwares.

RareDenver's avatar

Here’s an update:

I noticed that most of the issues seemed to arise when I had Firefox open so I uninstalled Firefox along with all traces of add-ons etc and then re-installed it and hey presto !! A nice stable, smooth running and fast PC again !

Response moderated
Thammuz's avatar

@RareDenver that’s quite odd. Glad it worked out, anyway.

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