The System Restore feature of the Windows operating system can be very handy if configured correctly. It in theory allows the user to restore system settings and files to a previous state. It is not a complete backup solution on the other hand as it is for instance limited by the storage space assigned to it. Plus, there is no straightforward way of restoring individual files easily.
Windows Explorer has a feature to restore individual files, but the process of doing only works if the file that you want to restore still exists on the machine. See Restore Previous Versions Of Windows Files for pointers.
The free program System Restore Explorer for Windows offers a better solution. The program displays all existing system restore points in its interface. This includes the date and time of creation, the description and the total disk space used by all system restore points.
A right-click on a specific system restore point opens a context menu with options to delete the data or to mount and unmount it. Mounting basically creates a shortcut to that system restore point that you can click on to open all of its folders and files in Windows Explorer. This way you can select individual files or folders for restoration. You'd then use the unmount context menu option later on to remove the shortcut from the system again.
The core benefit of System Restore Explorer is that it makes it a lot easier to restore individual files from system restore points. The option to delete previous restore points is a nice addition to that.
Windows users can download System Restore Explorer from the developer website over at Nic Bedford. The program is offered as a beta version, and it is not clear if the developer has abandoned the project. A viable alternative is the previously reviewed Shadow Explorer. System Restore Explorer is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. (via)
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