System Restore and similar Registry Reverting utilities -- pointless?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Helen H. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I recently installed Norton System Works 2005, and now my computer is reporting that System Restore for Windows XP will not complete the restore process. It says, 'System Restore Incomplete.' Can you tell me if the Norton antivirus is interfering with the restore program? If so what to I need to do to correct the problem? "

My response:

Personally, I don't use Norton System Works 2005, so I can only speculate on your situation.

Since one of the components of Norton System Works (NSW) is to provide a "Go Back" restore option, it's plausible that NSW has disabled XP System Restore. For that matter, it's also possible that something nasty made it's way onto your machine [Spyware] and disabled XP System Restore in and around the same time you installed System Works 2005.

I don't know if this will resolve your problem, but you can try resetting XP System Restore by disabling it, rebooting, and then enabling it again. More info on how to do that here.

RE: Disadvantages of using System Restore and similar Registry Reverting programs

All too often I receive emails from folks who are unable to remove a Spyware infection on their machine because the Spyware has burrowed its way onto the System Restore file; subsequently, their attempts to "revert" their systems using the Restore feature are fruitless, as the Spyware "just keeps coming back."

As such, I would strongly advise against using Windows System Restore and similar "GoBack" programs to revert my system in a disastrous situation -- simply because they are incapable of resolving deeply rooted registry issues (such as Spyware) and other severe problems (such as a damaged boot sector on the hard drive that can make your system unbootable).

As I discussed briefly in yesterday's newsletter, disk imaging is a much better option when it comes to fully restoring a system because it is capable of taking a snapshot of *everything* on your hard drive -- including the Operating System, boot sector, and more.

RE: Disk Imaging Solutions and Recommendations from Readers

Following with our recent theme on "backup software", I announced yesterday that I would soon be compiling an in-depth review on a disk imaging solution in our newsletter. Since that announcement, I have received a number of suggestions from Readers recommending their favorite imaging program.

At this time I would like to solicit more testimonials and suggestions for disk imaging software. If you've got a suggestion -- good or bad -- please send me your message for consideration over the weekend. Thanks!

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