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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    WIndows restore (Windows XP)

    How exactly does System restore work? It's got me out of some holes in the past, but my friend was trying to install AVG version 8. It got part way through the installation process and then hung the PC. At that point it became impossible to uninstall AVG8, uninstall AVG 7.5 or reinstall/make AVG 7.5 work again. So he did a restore to a previous working point in time but this AVG problem persisted with PC hangs as well.
    In my naivety, I thought that restoring would mean that all 'knowledge' of AVG8 should have disappeared and AVG 7.5 should have been put back to a working program.
    Clearly this was not the case, so what exactly does restore do (about registry, new program folders etc)
    Thanks
    Silverback
    Silverback

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: WIndows restore (Windows XP)

    Your question is about SR. But first let me give an advice about AVG. NB: here I assume that your friend uses the AVG Free; if full version then there is AVG support, for free ver. there is a forum (other AVG users).

    If you or your friend look at the AVG Free forum you will get some installation tips & help there. They have some general information and also some threads that has been started due to the latest release.

    With AVG, not necessarily all programs work like this, you can use a downloaded setup file, i.e. similar to this "avg_free_stf_all_8_########.exe" to add and remove components and also to uninstall the program. That is, download a new setup file and run it but choose uninstall, maybe do some cleaning of temp files after, take a look at the program folder if something left, then reboot and try to install from the fresh download setup file. See instructions for ex. here: RECOMMENDED BASIC AVG UNINSTALL / RE-INSTALL INSTRUCTIONS

    That would have been the general advice before using SR in this situation.

    In the forum they have one "sticky" "BEFORE INSTALLING" that says uninstall older 7.5 before. But if you look at the AVG FAQ it doesn't say uninstall is needed. There is even a question about why the discrepancy. When I went from 7 to 7.5 I did an uninstall before. The idea in the forum is "better to be safe ...", "bigger jump in version number" etc. But it should work.

    SR has been covered a lot here in the Lounge (I have posted, Rebel has posted, Viking has posted and several others, sorry if I did not mention all, just from my tired memory), so if you search you will find links to MSFT, and MVP sites that cover SR both with general info. and special cases. There is so much to mention, and there are already some good FAQs, articles etc. When XP was new many, and still, looked at the articles at MSFT Windows XP: Expert Zone Community. There probably still is some old SR article there.

    Anyhow, see for ex. this <post:=690,429>post 690,429</post:> and thread that has, among other, a link to this MSFT SR FAQ

    The post is in a thread about if SR uninstall programs etc. It does not. It may seem like it since some monitored files are removed, but it isn't uninstalled. Since it only changes monitored files & registry, it leave behind others. It is worse to "uninstall" via SR than normal routine. A new install attempt could halt on left over files.

    IF nothing else has changed, and since SR probably was used in Normal Mode (not Safe Mode) it did create a new restore point at the time he used it to go back to another, older RP. With this RP it's possible to UNDO the restore. Thus being back at the situation before using SR.

    It could then maybe be possible to see if AVG Free forum has some special tip, or if they then recommend the above mentioned: D/l a new setup file, run it and try to uninstall from there. But it can be a bit hard to determine the "stauts" of the PC, since even if back before SR was used (undo above), he did several uninstall and install attempts.

    For detailed info. about SR and special cases troubleshooting; can't restore, it doesn't create RP etc. see MVP Bert Kinney's site: All About System Restore in WinXP. He knows a lot!

    I agree SR can be useful, but it is important to know the do's and don'ts, i.e. to know how the program is designed to work, not how I think it work. Hope I don't sound too harsh, best wishes to you and your friend.

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: WIndows restore (Windows XP)

    As Argus said, System Restore only restores Windows system files to the previous state and doesn't touch third party files or any changes they might make.

    For this reason, I have been using Total Uninstall for several years now. It monitors the entire installation and records all changes made during an installation. If you have a problem with an installation, just don't like the program or the way it changes or makes your system perform, you can use Total Uninstall to revert everything back to the way it was before you started. You can get a copy of the last Freeware version of the program to try it out here.

    I know this doesn't help much now, but it might save your bacon in the future. <img src=/S/thumbup.gif border=0 alt=thumbup width=15 height=15>
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

  4. #4
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    Re: WIndows restore (Windows XP)

    Hi Doc,
    I said "... it only changes monitored files & registry ...". Not the same as "... only restores Windows system files ...".

    Since for example EXE, COM, BAT and DLL are in the (quite long) list of monitored file extensions, using SR can affect all applications on the monitored partition.

    SR DO indeed "touch" third party files and is capable of restoring changes (but maybe not all) they might make to registry or other system files (such as INI).

    That is, I guess, what people observe and why they conclude that SR must have uninstalled (removed, whatever) a certain program.

    However, just because SR restores monitored files & registry to their previous state (and if wasn't there before the RP thus removes it) it doesn't mean it uninstalls the program.

    The exception would potentially be standalone programs such as SIW (System Information for Windows), but even SIW creates some folder in user profile and a XML file. Or ziped, but not "installed" programs such as Sysinternals tools, but also here it would leave CHM and TXT files, removing EXE files.

    To conclude, System Restore is a tool to restore what is monitored on a SYSTEM to a previous state. If a recently installed program has a negative impact on the system one should uninstall the program. If the negative impact is stil there one should use System Restore to restore the PC to a state before the program was installed. Preferably using a RP set before program install.

    Powerful as it is, it isn't the first thing to try, and not the last thing to try (before a complete makeover).

    We've had SR for 8 years (I didn't use Win Me) and SR hasn't changed its behaviour in XP (as far as I know), and still there is some confusion.

    Doc, I agree that there can be good tools such as Total Uninstall that can help with uninstalling (if the tool is there before). Good tip, but I have not used it.

    Silverback,
    See "What files are monitored by System Restore?" and "Does System Restore uninstall my program if I restore to a point before the program was installed?" in the aforementioned MSFT System Restore FAQ

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: WIndows restore (Windows XP)

    Hi Argus,

    Forgive my inaccurate paraphrase of your explaination of SR. It was an attempt at brevity to get to my point that SR will not remove (completely) a program installed after a restore point has been set. You are, of course, correct that the first ting to do is to uninstall the offending program using Add/Remove Programs or the program's built in uninstall routine. But these, as we know, often do not completely remove themselves or reset all changes they've made to a system.

    This is why I recommended Total Uninstall. It monitors all changes made during an installation and then can remove or restore everything when it uninstalls the program.
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

  6. #6
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    Re: WIndows restore (Windows XP)

    Hi,
    Of course you are forgiven! <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> I just wanted to "straighten" (ah, my English isn't so good), some things what SR might do or not.

    The spirit of your post is of course same as my about SR; not to be used for uninstall. I think it can be good to mention that such uninstall programs exist. Could be useful for people who often install/unistall programs, or have had bad experiences uninstalling something etc.

  7. #7
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    Re: WIndows restore (Windows XP)

    Many thanks to Argus and Doc.
    My friend is now much better aware of what SR does and does not do. This certainly applies to me, also.
    I am going to have a look/play with Total Uninstall as this appears to do what I, mistakenly, thought SR did in the first place.
    Thanks for taking an interest in the posting.
    BTW - my friend is now up and running on AVG8. It cost him a couple of hours going through the registry deleting everything to do with AVG/Grisoft, deleting folders, services, start up programs etc. He then downloaded AVG8 again and it installed without trouble. He is now using it OK. So why did it crash initially? We'll never know, but suspicion lies with its attempts to uninstall AVG7.5 as part of installing itself. If I go AVG8, I shall certainly uninstall AVG7.5 before I try installing AVG8.
    Thanks again to both of you for your help.
    Silverback (and friend)
    Silverback

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