System Restore can be accessed by clicking the Start button, typing "System Restore" in the search box, and selecting the System Restore program from the results. A wizard will appear to guide the user through the restore process. System Restore is used to restore Windows to a previous functional state.
System Restore works by utilizing the built-in system-protection feature in Windows. The system-protection feature automatically creates restore points containing registry settings and additional system information used by Windows. System Restore then uses these restore points to return the computer to a previous usable state. In addition, users also have the ability to manually create their own restore points at any time.
System-image backups are also supported by System Restore, and can be used in the same way as the restore points created by the system-protection feature. Unlike the restore points, system-image backups contain both system files and files created by the user. System Restore only restores the system files contained in the backup, leaving the user's own personal files untouched.
As System Restore was not developed with the purpose of backing up and restoring a user's personal files, Microsoft recommends using a separate backup program for that purpose. Files should be backed up on a regular schedule.