How To Set System Restore & Restore a Previous Version of a File

So this week, I’d like to walk you through how to check your System Restore Settings along with System Protection in the event you need to either restore your system to a previous point, or restore a Microsoft office file to a previous version – Yes, you can do that!

Recently,  I was checking some client computer restore points and thought it would be a good idea to check on my own computer. I was very glad I did because my settings were not as they should have been.

How To Get To System Settings

Left-click on the Start button and then right-click on ‘Computer’ (to the right of your available programs list). Then you’ll see the screen below pop up. Click on ‘System protection’.



Now you’ll see the below screen where you’ll set up both your system restore settings and your settings for restoring previous versions of files. I wanted to be able to restore my system settings and previous versions of files, so the first radio button is filled in.

Next, I had to decide how much of my available disk space I want to allocate for system protection. I grabbed the slider bar and moved it over to 63%/5.43GB (which is really way too much, I adjusted it later on). Then I clicked ‘Apply’ and then ‘OK’. I closed it and went back to check to make sure the settings were applied.

You’ll see a ‘Delete’ button below. If you’re tight on disk space, you could use this to get rid of history and free up some space on your hard drive, but I’d use it sparingly.




How To Create A Restore Point

It’s a good idea to create a restore point before you do anything a bit experimental with your computer. ‘Experimental’ could mean installing software that you’re not quite sure about, or maybe before doing a major upgrade (like a service pack install). Then if something wonky happens, you can go back and ‘undo’ what you just did – it’ll save a lot of time and headache.

So to do this, you perform the steps above to get to System Properties, then you’ll see the highlighted area below to ‘Create’ a restore point. Then, just go through the walk-through screens and name your restore point something memorable. Wait a few minutes and then you’re ready to proceed. If you need to roll back, then, go to this same screen and choose ‘System Restore’, follow the prompts to select the restore point you just made and wa-la, you’re back to where you were.




Microsoft has an FAQ that gives additional information on System Restore:

Previous Versions of Files

This is a feature I forgot about for some time, so I wanted to share it with you to make sure you know that all is not lost if you or someone else made changes to a file (has to be a Microsoft Office file) and saved it, but you really didn’t want those changes made. Yes, you can go back in time. Of course, you have to check your settings and make sure that you have this feature enabled (see above for instructions).

To make this happen,  open windows explorer and find the document you want to restore. Simply…

  • Right-click the file or folder, and then click Restore previous versions.
  • Click an item in the list, and then click Restore.
  • you’ll see the belowWarning

    The file or folder will replace the current version on your computer, and the replacement cannot be undone. If you’d like to see a video, check this link from Microsoft

  • Below is an example of an excel spreadsheet that shows there is one previous version that I could choose to restore.


    It’s worth your while to take a few minutes to check these settings in the event you need to restore either your computer system or a file.



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