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Vista and Windows 7 System Restore instructions.
System restore from F8 startup or Windows Disk.

Windows system restore has been changed from the older ME or XP versions of System Restore. In Windows Vista and Windows 7 Microsoft has added a way of getting to the system restore by using the Windows disk or Using the F8 startup function.

Here are the steps to do a system restore from the F8 or Disk (Disk has to be a Retail, OEM, or Dell to work):
(First! Back up your information to another computer if you can. you may be having problems with a hard drive that's failing)

Starting with the computer OFF.

Push the power button.

Right away start tapping the F8 key. You should end up with a black screen that has about 12 choices.

f8 windows options
Note : If starting from a disk you will see this image instead of the Advanced Boot Options screen above!!!

System repair from Disk 1 Click to enlarge image. Opens in new window so you don't go away from this page.

Using the up or down arrows on the keyboard select "Repair Your Computer"
(If using a Windows disk, Start the computer to the disk and then choose "Repair Your Computer")

Repair Your Computer option  

When starting from the disk your system will also look for Versions of Windows and you need to highlight your version and click next. Notice that for this picture I used a Vista disk and it found Windows 7 so it would not let me move on.

Windows Version question.

Repair will ask you about language and keyboard layout. I normally just click next button.

Recovery Options Keyboard layout

The system will ask you for the username and password.

Recovery Options Username and Password

Select your user from the Drop Down menu and if you have one, put your password in.

Click OK

This should get you to a window with choices like "Startup Repair" and "System Restore" etc.

Recovery Options Page

If you want to you can try startup repair but this may not fix your problem.

Click System Restore.

This will start the system restore software built into Windows or the disk. Don't panic if the program doesn't come up right away. I have had to wait as long a 10 or 15 minutes before the program finally pops up.

When the program starts it will normally give you choices of several different restore points. I normally pick one about two restore points back and go from there.

Once the restore is complete you can restart your computer if it doesn't do it on its own. When the computer restarts hopefully your computer will startup to your desktop and not have any problems. If it doesn't, go into system restore again and try another system restore point further back.

Once in a while I find that there are no system restore points available. In this case you can close the System Restore program and open the "Command Prompt".

When it opens you should see a black box that looks like the old DOS.

In the box start typing chkdsk /r

Now push enter.

This is a way of repairing Windows files and checking the hard drive to see if its bad. It will take a long time to run it. Several hours some times.

If these steps don't work you will normally end up doing a full Windows Reinstall.

IMPORTANT!!! If you get your computer up and running again, scan it with a hard drive diagnostic tool like windlg from Western Digital. If your drive is failing you may be able to clone it to another drive and save yourself from having to reinstall everything after you just fixed Windows....

Good Luck. Hope this helps. 


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