System Restore has been designed by Microsoft to provide the user with an option to restore the operating system into a previous state. Restore points are for instance created when software and new updates are installed, when a driver that is not digitally signed is installed or by user request.
System Restore is only backing up key elements of the operating system like the Windows Registry, user profile or Windows File Protection files.
One of the limitations of System Restore is that old restore points will be deleted automatically based on the available hard drive space for the feature. This means that it is only possible to restore recent system states.
Some users might want to backup an early System Restore point before it gets deleted to be able to restore it at a later time. This can be done by copying a restore folder and saving it into a different location.
Two barriers need to be passed for this to happen. The first is the hidden state of the System Volume Information folder, the second the access rights.
The option to hide protected operating system files needs to be disabled so that the System Volume Information folder becomes visible in Windows Explorer. This is done in the folder options. Windows 7 users open Windows Explorer, click on Tools > Folder options to open the configuration menu. The view tab contains the option to hide protected operating system files.
The System Volume Information folder should now be visible in Windows Explorer. It is not possible to access it right away because of the access rights of the folder. The rights can be changed with a right-click on the folder and the selection of properties. This opens a configuration window.
Switch to the Security tab in that folder.
Click the continue button. This opens a new window that lists all users or groups that have access rights. Click the add button in that window.
Enter the user name of the user who should be able to access and work with the folder. Click the check names button to find the username and ok to apply the changes.
It is now possible to access the System Volume Information folder in Windows Explorer. The system restore points use cryptic names. The best way to identify them is to look at the date they were created or modified. Pick the ones that you want to backup. It is advised to copy the System Restore points to a different location.
You can now revert the changes made to the System Restore folder and the folder visibility. If you want to restore a previously backed up System Restore point you need to copy it back into that folder to be able to do so.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.