Investigate the Restore Point files in Windows XP

Have you ever had to troubleshoot Windows XP's System Restore feature and wondered where System Restore actually keeps the files associated with Restore Points? If so, check out how you can investigate the Restore Point files via the System Volume Information folder.

If you've ever been on a troubleshooting expedition involving a problem with System Restore, chances are that you've wondered where System Restore actually keeps the files associated with Restore Points.

System Restore stores the Restore Point files in a hidden and protected folder called System Volume Information that is located in the root directory of your hard disk. This folder is invisible and inaccessible to all users without making a few configuration changes from an Administrator account.

If you want to take a peek at the Restore Point files, here's how you can access the System Volume Information folder:

(Keep in mind that if you use the information contained in this tip solely for investigative purposes, you need to exercise extreme caution. Inadvertently making any changes to the files in the System Volume Information folder will disrupt or otherwise damage System Restore's ability to do its job. So be very careful!)

  1. Launch Windows Explorer and go to Tools | Folder Options and click the View tab.
  2. Select the Show Hidden Files And Folders option button, clear the Hide Protected Operating System Files check box, and click the Yes button in the Warning dialog box. (If the system is in a workgroup, you'll need to clear the Use Simple File Sharing check box as well.) Click OK to close the Folder Options dialog box.
  3. Access the root directory of the hard disk, right click on the System Volume Information folder, select Properties and access the Security tab.
  4. Click the Add button, enter your user account name in the Select Users, Computers, or Groups dialog box and click OK twice.

Now you can now access the System Volume Information folder and view the files.

In order to ensure the security of the Restore Point files, you should remove your user account from the System Volume Information folder once you've finished your investigation.

Note: These steps only apply to Windows XP Professional using NTFS.

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About Greg Shultz

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.

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