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Windows 11 basics: how to use System Restore to go back in time – The Verge

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Send your system back to a safer place
A few years back, I was working as a freelancer for a company that was trying to develop a US market for its rather obscure hardware products and needed a native English speaker to tweak the text on its site. Everything was going swimmingly until my second week on the job, when I went to the site — and found that I was suddenly getting weird ads flashing across my screen and had lost the ability to access my security software.
I needed to get rid of whatever had invaded my system — hopefully, without the need to reset my PC (and lose more time reinstalling all of my apps and files). Here’s what I used: System Restore.
System Restore is a handy feature that takes a sort of snapshot of your PC’s software, registry, and driver configuration at a specific point in time; this snapshot is called a restore point. You can then, if necessary, return your PC to that point in time. You might lose some of the work you’ve done since you created that restore point, but you’d also lose any unwanted changes that might have been made without your permission.
Although, in that particular case, the restore point worked for me, I have to admit that, most of the time, I didn’t have a lot of success with restore points. However, as of Windows 10, System Restore seems to have vastly improved. Here’s how to use it with Windows 11.
In order to use System Restore, you have to first make sure it’s enabled.
And you’re done! Keep in mind that new restore points are only created when, according to Microsoft, “you install a new app or driver, and when you create a restore point manually.” To do this last — for example, if you’re about to do something experimental with your system — just follow the above directions. (There are ways to have your PC automatically create a restore point each time it boots up, but that involves working with the PC’s registry; this article will only cover the basics.)
So let’s say that you’ve just installed a new game that then proceeded to spread ads and other obnoxious things throughout your system. It’s time to use your restore point to go back to a time before you made that mistake.
Follow the instructions above to get to the Control Panel and the Recovery page.

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