Had a minor disaster with a damaged file or corrupted system? Running Windows System Restore or Previous Versions may just save your day
If you’re a Windows PC user, knowing how to utilise your computer’s inbuilt function to restore your system or previous versions of files or folders may be one of the most important tech tips there is to know. While this is not a replacement for backing up, it is an easy way to recover hours of lost work if a file is damaged or avoid the heartbreak when a PC goes down after being hit by a virus or software corruption.
What is Windows Previous Versions?
If you have accidentally modified, deleted or damaged a file or folder, you may be able to use previous versions to restore an earlier version. If system protection is turned on, Windows will automatically save files and folders at a determined restore point (usually once a day). You can then use these previously saved versions to restore the damaged files or folders from the last restore point.
What is Windows System Restore?
From time to time, the installation of a new program or driver onto your PC may cause it to behave erratically or cause unexpected changes. Using System Restore will restore your computer’s system files to an earlier point in time when everything was working okay. System restore will undo system changes without affecting emails, documents or photos.
Windows PCs have the capacity to automatically save a restore point, but only if System Protection is turned on.
How to turn on system protection
- Click the Start button, right-click Computer, then click Properties.
- In the left pane, click System Protection. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
- Click the drive, and then click Configure (normally this is the C:Drive).
- Do one of the following:
- To turn on the ability to restore system settings and previous version of files, click Restore System Settings and Previous Versions of Files.
- On some versions of Windows, you will need to click Turn On System Protection
5. Click OK.
Now that you have turned on System Protection, you will have the ability to use previous versions of files and folders, or run a system restore.
How to restore a file or folder that has been deleted
- Open Documents by clicking the Start button, then click Documents.
- Click the arrow next to Folders at the bottom of the left pane. In the folders list, open the folder that contained the file or folder that was deleted or renamed.
- Right-click somewhere in the folder (without selecting a file or folder), and choose Restore Previous Versions.
- Double-click a previous version of the folder that contains the file or folder you want to restore. For example, if a file was deleted today, choose a version of the folder from yesterday.
- In the folder, drag the file or folder that you want to restore to another location, such as your desktop or another folder. The version of the file or folder is saved to the location that you selected.
How to Restore a Previous Version of a File
- Right-click the file or folder and then choose Restore Previous Versions. You'll see a list of available previous versions of the file or folder. The list will include files saved on a backup (if you're using Windows Backup to back up your files), as well as restore points.
- Before restoring a previous version of a file or folder, select the previous version, and then click Open to view it to make sure it's the version you want.
- To restore a previous version, select the previous version, and then click Restore.
Tip: The file or folder will replace the current version on your computer, and the replacement cannot be undone.
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