Is a system restore possible with the tools built in to Windows 7 or 8?
Using an ERD - Emergency Repair Disk
and System Restore Points
When Microsoft released Windows NT 2.5 it came on 90 1.44 Meg floppy disks. The first three disks were used to start the computer and set it up to either install the Operating System or
Repair the installed OS when a problem occurred. This is the beginning of the ERD.
NT 2.5 didn't work out to well, I suppose because it really was a beta version that later became NT 3.0 but the ERD (the first three disks) became part of any good IT tech/engineer's tool box. With NT 3.5 the 90 floppies turned in to a CD, how cool is that? But to start the computer to either install the OS or repair the OS you still had to use the first three floppies.
When bootable CD's became possible (it was not the CD itself but the drive and BIOS that kept bootable CD's back for a long time) then the first three floppies for Windows NT became
You see you could still use those disks to boot a computer that had a problem with the OS drive and work your way to repairing it.
When MS introduced Windows NT 4 a company called Winternals released a neat new tool called
How did they make the ERD Commander?
Well it was what is called the Preinstalled Environment (PE), you see it as the installation program that walks you through all the install options then install the OS.
Winternals ERD Commander takes the PE and then it is modified to give you a desktop and then the different programs you need to repair your OS.
BartPE has the same type of setup with the exception of you build the
bootable CD and have options you can add, however it has problems with Vista and
newer Operating Systems...
Unfortunately MS in all it great wisdom has killed off the ERD Commander, not cool.
In its place is the ERD with System Restore. Starting with Vista you can make a ERD/Restore CD (Vista's Restore cd didn't work - at all). Then when Windows
Seven was released they had gone back in and fixed all the problems that users had with the Vista ERD CD. I have built the Windows 7 ERD CD and it works quite well. Not as good as ERD Commander but you can repair a Windows 7 OS with the CD.
Troubleshoot, repair, maintain, upgrade & secure...
Which brings us to the subject of Restore Points
made by the System Restore program.
When MS first started Restore Points it was with Windows 2000 and it was only used for updates for the OS, that is if you had a bad driver or update install you could (in theory) 'roll it back'. I worked in a Data Center for six years, I never made a 'Roll back driver' work.
Then with XP (the beta version only) MS introduced the Restore Points as part of the backup program. It still didn't work. I had one test computer with the XP Beta (It was called Longhorn) installed and one of the tasks was to make the restore points, wait a week, then use the program to restore the OS to the state of a week ago. It didn't work.
I never could get Vista's restore points to work either, I trashed a HP Laptop trying to restore Vista to a usable sate. That cost me three days work and almost a friendship. Not cool.
When I was testing Windows 7 RC for the Windows 7 section of this web site I
did build the ERD cd, I set restore points, added programs, waited a week or two then ran the restore cd and put the OS back to where it was before I installed the programs, gee it works!
As an additional test I optimize the OS, then set the security, and did some other things to it. Then ran the restore from the CD, gee it worked again.
Something that really bothers me is this: You use the Windows 7 Automatic
Updater, the program goes to MS and downloads all the updates it thinks it
needs, then installs them.
It does a restart, the little circle sets there going round and round for a
long time, then it restarts again...
The part that bugs me is when it fails. Then the "Reverting" message comes up
and the little circle goes round and round again for a long time. Sometimes it
does this three or four times. What the program is doing is a System Restore
using restore points to remove updates that have failed.
Now why did the updates fail?
Because the stupid program did not check to see if the service the update was
for was disabled or even installed! Before Vista the Automatic Update program
would check the services before downloading the updates, now it wastes your
Have you tested your restore CD? Do you have a restore CD?
Don't have a Dual Boot computer? Don't have an
Find out how to do both
Self Computer Repair Unleashed 2nd Edition Manual