Recovery in Control Panel includes several options that can help you recover your computer from a serious error.
Open Recovery by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type recovery, and then click Recovery.
Before you use Recovery, there might be an automatic troubleshooter available in Control Panel that can fix the problem. For more information, see Troubleshooting in Windows.
System Restore is a way to undo system changes to your computer without affecting your personal files, such as e‑mail, documents, or photos. System Restore is the best choice if you installed a program or driver that caused an unexpected change to your computer or Windows, and uninstalling the program or driver didn’t fix the problem. For more information, see What is System Restore?
If System Restore returns an error, try using a different restore point. If you still receive an error, try running System Restore from the System Recovery Options menu. Using System Restore this way requires manually restarting your computer and choosing System Restore from the System Recovery Options menu. Also, you can't undo System Restore when using this method. For more information, see What are the system recovery options in Windows 7?
Recovery also contains two advanced recovery methods that you can use if Windows is badly damaged or otherwise unusable. The first method replaces everything on your computer, including Windows and all of your personal files, with a backup or a recovery image. The second method reinstalls Windows in its entirety. Either method might delete any programs that you have installed.
These advanced options can help resolve software-based problems by returning your computer to an earlier state, but because they can delete personal files and programs, it's best to try them only if nothing else has fixed the problem. Before using the advanced options, you should first read Choosing an advanced recovery method.
If you choose one of these advanced methods, you’ll have the opportunity to back up your personal files to another location, such as an external hard drive, before continuing. After the recovery is complete, you’ll then need to reinstall your programs and restore your personal files from the backup. For more information, see Back up your files.
Article ID: MSW700058