Backing Up And Restoring Parts Of The System
This article is part of Windows Vista Backup Strategies For Home Users
Windows Vista System Restore
Vista's System Restore is improved over XP's version. There are 2 key backup features tied to System Restore, Shadow Copy and Driver Rollback. The first step in using System Restore is to tweak it to only include the drives / partitions you want it to backup. To access System Restore, press the Windows + Pause Break keys > in the left pane, click on System protection. This puts you in the System Properties - System Protection window. Check or uncheck the drives / partitions of your choice and click Apply. You can also choose to Create a restore point at this time. Vista will create future restore points for you. "Restore points are created once daily and also after you install a new program or hardware driver."
As I said before, Shadow Copy and Driver Rollback (below) are part of System Restore. Shadow Copy (specifically the Previous Version feature) can apply do both data and some files on your Vista partition (SOME, as in not all, as in not the really important files). Please see the section Backing Up Data for more info.
To restore your system from a restore point:
1 - Access the above window again and click on the System Restore button. This will restart the computer. (I recommend using the next options)
2 - Go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore.
3 - press the Windows + R keys and type rstrui.
For steps 2 & 3, select a restore point and follow the screens by clicking Next.
Just installed a driver and it isn't working so good? Driver Rollback can quickly revert to a previous driver.
You must have System Restore enabled for this to work (it is enabled by default).
Open Device Manager. Press the Windows + R keys > type devmgmt.msc > find the hardware you are looking for, double-click on it > click on the Driver tab > and now click the Roll Back Driver button.
And, YES, I chose a Creative driver as an example on purpose ;-) .
Passwords And Software Keys
Backup and Restore Stored User Names and Passwords
Open Control Panel (Start > Settings > Control Panel). In the standard view click on the User Accounts and Family Safety button and then click User Accounts. From the classic view you can just choose User Accounts.
Now click on Mange Your Network Passwords and choose either Backup or Restore and follow the screens.
You can't backup a User Password per-se in Vista but you can create a Password Reset Disk. Open Control Panel (Start > Settings > Control Panel). In the standard view click on the User Accounts and Family Safety button and then click User Accounts. From the classic view you can just choose User Accounts. Then click Create a password reset disk and follow the screens.
Backup Software Keys
There are programs that will find and display your software keys. A simple copy and paste to Notepad or Word is all you need to do.
This is my favorite: Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder Just download it and run it.
Vista Backup Strategies For Home Users
I. Main Page
B. The Basics
II. Partitioning And Organizing Your Files
A. Move Your Documents Folder
B. Partitioning using Vista’s Built-In Tool
C. Partitioning using Acronis Disk Director
III. Creating Disk Images
A. Vista's Windows Complete PC Backup And Restore
B. Acronis True Image
IV. Backing Up And Restoring Parts Of The System
A. Windows Vista System Restore
B. Driver Rollback
C. Passwords and Software Keys
V. Backing Up Data - Vista's Built-In Tools
A. Windows Vista Backup And Restore Center
B. Shadow Copies
VI. Backing Up Data - 3rd Party Tools
A. SyncToy v2.0 Beta
B. Second Copy 7
VI. Program Specific Backups
C. Internet Explorer & Firefox favorites
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