Prepare before stuff hits the fan (3) Create a Sytems Restore point...

Create a restore point. Get prepared for mayhem—malware invasions, incomplete software installations, or software conflicts, hardware incompatibilities—when your computer is healthy and runs like a dream. A restore point is like a Windows ‘undo’. You can restore your computer to the moment you created that restore point, meaning that everything that happened or was installed after that restore point will be undone. Here is how you do it:

  1. Navigate to Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings, the “System Protection” tab should open.
  2. Bottom of the tab click “Create…” beside “Create a restore point right now for the drives that have system protection turned on.”
  3. Type a description into the field to remind yourself when the restore point was created and why. (Examples: “Computer runs fast and smoothly”. “Before installing Adobe CS5”.) Click “Create”.
  4. Follow instructions on the screen until the process is finished.
Systems Properties dialog - Windows 7

Create a restore point in the System Protection tab.

While you are thinking proactively, it is also the time to download a few tools/utilities that can help you out of a tight spot should your computer suddenly start acting up. I organized my tool kit into a folder called Essentials and downloaded each tool into its own sub-folder. No need to install anything yet, just download it for now and put it where you can find it when you need it (on a USB drive is a good idea). Most of these utilities are free, which is amazing, because I don’t necessarily equate “free” with “good”, but these tools are not only excellent, some are indispensable.

  1. Malwarebytes. It is not an anti-virus software. It finds and clean off malware that is giving you problems.
  2. CCleaner. Use this to keep your computer humming. It is a maintenance tool.
  3. Belarc Advisor. Belarc Avisor analyzes your computer hardware and software and displays absolutely everything that is installed on it with keys and serial numbers. It includes warnings of weaknesses, or missing updates that might need attention.
  4. RevoUnistaller. This is a 30-day fully functional uninstaller that beats anything else I know of. Much better than Windows own uninstaller, because it cleans out all mention of the uninstalled software from the Windows registry.

Be careful when you download anything. Make sure that you are actually downloading a file. Never run the software you are downloading, save it first to your hard drive or USB drive. On some websites advertisements look very much like part of the content and when you click on one you are suddenly on another site that perhaps offers you a free scan, or asks you to download and install something you don’t need, and then asks for your information and money. Although most are ads, and most are legit, the line between product advertisements and blatant deception and misinformation is becoming very thin.

In my next post I’ll explain how to use the restore point and these utilities.