Friday, September 16, 2011

Restore? Or Recover? What's the Difference? When to Restore your PC and When to Recover Your OS.

We recently had a client who ventured in where Angels Fear to Tread. That is, he couldn't get his Windows 7 laptop to boot, because he interrupted a massive Operating System Update in mid-stream by ... drum-roll, please ... Turning It Off. So the poor laptop didn't know where it was or what it was doing and would only hang or reboot after that.

The choices made after this point went downhill from there.

After such a thing, W7 or Vista will present you with a special menu on booting up which offers you some Repair choices, 2 of which are Restore, and Recover.

Microsoft may even mislead you by giving you a menu with System Recovery Options under which you find System Restore, even though the word Recovery itself may be used to mean something entirely different.

These are not choices you want to guess about. You either know what they are, or you don't.

The penalty for guessing wrong is: You lose all of your data, your files, your photos, your passwords and settings. Pretty heavy price to pay.

System Restore is Microsoft's answer to rolling back the OS to an earlier state in time, before updates were installed, or perhaps badly installed due to an untimely shutdown, when the machine booted properly, and before specific date and time which you can choose from a list. Nothing else is touched, and all of your files and data remain.

Restore would have been the proper choice for this client.

But, he liked the sound of Recover, I guess. I mean, if you don't actually know what Recover is, and you are guessing optimistically, you might think, well, that you will recover your machine to a completely healthy and pristine state, as in before you had a problem.

But  Recover in this case means to put the laptop into the As-Shipped-State from the manufacurer, to Recover the factory settings. Which also means, no data, no photos, no passwords, no settings. You get the picture.

Sadly, this is the choice the client made.

Don't make this choice! Unless you mean it.

And don't guess!

Anyway, now you do know the difference between Restore and Recover, so you don't have to guess.


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