Windows

Launch System Restore from a command prompt in Windows XP

It's not unusual to use System Restore to fix strange Windows XP system behavior—but depending on how damaged your system seems to be, you may need to call for more advanced measures. Here's how to launch System Restore from a command prompt.

If your Windows XP system begins acting strange, a typical fix is to use System Restore to remove any system changes made since the last time you created a Restore Point. However, what if the problem is so bad that you can't start Windows XP normally, or even start the system in Safe Mode?

The good news is you can run System Restore from a command prompt. Here's how:

  1. Restart your computer and press [F8] during the initial startup.
  2. When you see the Windows Advanced Options Menu, select the Safe Mode with a Command Prompt option.
  3. Select the Windows XP operating system.
  4. Log on to your computer with an administrator account or with an account that has administrator credentials.
  5. Type the following command at a command prompt:
    C:\windows\system32\restore\rstrui.exe

When you see the System Restore window, the graphics may look odd, but you can still follow the onscreen instructions to restore your computer to an earlier state.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

12 comments
Devilbabytales
Devilbabytales

This could not have come at a better time. I am working tonight on a dinosaur before I toss it out and have tried all I can remember about command prompts. Last resort and will try. Actually don't need the old box but am trying to make my daughter think she's getting the monster for Christmas when actually the new system is already in the closet. I just wanted to see if I knew what I was doing. (It's running Millenium)

Eternal
Eternal

There's always the good ol method. Involved recovery console - renaming the current registry files, restoring the default registry files, reboot into safe mode, pull the newer registry files from the "restore_" folder. go back to recovery console and pop those registry files back in to the system32\config folder and tada... manual system restore.. there's an actual technet article on this, but I have the silly thing memorized. The technet article is titled something about restoring froma corrupt registry.

Sundancer268
Sundancer268

I have never had a successful system restore from the normal XP window. I went and modified my BOOT.INI file to include the following line and just use the RECOVERY CONSOLE. "C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons" This has always worked for me though I have had to re-activate more times than I can remember.

langstonha
langstonha

Good luck with ME. What problem are you having?

langstonha
langstonha

It does you know good to use the command line for system restore if you can't start in safe mode. Are they're other ways to start pc if you can't start in safe mode?

langstonha
langstonha

Yes I too have used the manual restore and you can put the commands as a .bat file on a disk and use it instead of typing all the copy and delete commands.

Marty the Borg
Marty the Borg

If you can't boot in safe mode, try using a "PE" disk from http://www.nu2.nu/ It boots and runs entirly from the CD, but lets you access your hard drive, network, etc.

ebarrows
ebarrows

You can use it, but I think if I'm not mistaken, it will restore your OS. The partition will reload your OS as it was shipped to you. If you install something that makes your computer act up, you use system restore to restore your computer back to a time and date when it was working. It is always a good idea though to create a restore point before installing anything that you are not sure of.

limodriver17
limodriver17

I just bought a new computer with no install disk. It is all on a partition. And I did make a recovery disk. Can you use that? It has the XP Pro Pro on it.

drodr05
drodr05

You could try the UBCD (Ultimate Boot CD) based on the BART PE. You will need your cd of Windows as the UBCD Setup will need Windows for booting and recovery. Once you setup the UBCD, you will have a host of utilities that you can use to recover your computer. I especially like the Registry Restore Point. :)

langstonha
langstonha

Is the PE disk part of PE builder? I didn't easily see it on the site.

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