There’s certain things in life that give you a sinking feeling – the realisation that you left the back door open, the car parking has run out, or one I commonly see, your computer has gone wrong and you have no backup. What can you do then?
If you’re reading this now and have important data/ photos/ coursework that isn’t backed up, please back it up now! Burn it to CD or USB stick, copy it to an external hard drive, or use an online backup such as Dropbox.
But if the worst does happen, what can you do other than tear your hair out like this lady? Luckily Windows has a tool called System Restore. It needs to be switched on before the disaster happened, and if it is, this gives you the ability to turn back time on your computer. If you installed some software which has caused chaos, go to System Restore and it can, as the name suggests, restore your system to an earlier point, including all your files.
If you’re on Windows 8, it can be found in the Control Panel under Recovery. If you’re using Windows 7 or earlier, click the Start button, and type “System Restore” into the search box. When it opens, in most versions of Windows it should look like the box on the left. Check whether System Restore is turned on for your hard drive – if not, you want to click the Configure button.
To actually restore your computer, hit the System Restore button and pick a date prior to the computer failure. A few minutes later, and your computer should be almost magically restored to how it was! I recommend switching this on for all your computers – it typically only takes up around 1% of your hard drive space, so doesn’t use all your storage.
If things are more serious and you need to recover data from a dying or accidentally formatted hard drive, that’s best left to the pros. If you have any queries or a data emergency, please e-mail us at [email protected].