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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger baumgrenze's Avatar
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    How Many System Restore Points?

    I am running XP-Pro SP3 on a machine with a RAID configured dual 10,000 RPM 74 GB C drives for system and program files and RAID configured dual 7,200 RPM 500 GB F: drives for the storage of data.

    I am a long time fan of ZTree for Windows (and XTree before that.)

    Using ZTree I recently logged the System Volume Information branch and found 33 daily system restore points which make use of ~8.6 GB of space on my C drive. A quick inspection using ZTree suggests that the tree for each point contains substantially the same collection of files. This makes sense since I only occasionally install a new program or update an old one.

    The 33 restore points seems excessive to me. Am I being unrealistic about what is needed?

    I tagged the snapshot files and printed a log of them. In Excel I discovered that (based on the exact file size) there are 14 snapshots. In some cases the snapshot is unique. In one there are 5 adjacent snapshots all of the same exact size. This tempts me to conclude that the related restore points are probably all identical. I've attached a copy of the spreadsheet. I color filled the identical adjacent rows. I also attached a copy of a Word document containing ZTree screenshots that allowed me to see the disk space occupied by the restore points.

    I can't make sense of when these automatic restore points are created. I hope it is not when I boot in the morning. It is enough of an imposition that Avast slows the machine to update the virus definitions every time I boot.

    How many System Restore Points does it make sense to maintain?

    Do I have control over what is included in the snapshot? I'd be glad to forgo my internet history, for example.

    Thanks for any insights.

    baumgrenze
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  2. #2
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    Thumbs up

    You can limit the number of Restore Points which accumulate by reducing the amount of space allocated to the utility. By default System Restore claims 12% of the drive and on a large capacity HD, that's an awful lot of space.

    To reduce it, hit Windows logo key + Pause/Break to take you to System Properties and then click the System Restore tab.

    Drag the arrow backwards to provide about 2000MB which will give you about four Restore Points.

    To clear all but the last Restore Point, do the following.

    1. Hit Windows logo key + R to launch the Run command.
    2. Type: cleanmgr and click OK
    3. It will default to C: in the next menu so just click OK again.
    4. Click the "More Options" tab and then in the menu at the bottom, click the "Cleanup" button. Here's a screenshot.

    remove_all_but_last_RP.png

    You can create a manual Restore Point at any time such as prior to installing a program for example.

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger baumgrenze's Avatar
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    Thank you Xircal, for this helpful reply and for your patience in replying to both my nearly consecutive messages.

    I reduced the size of my System Restore. Just for fun, I will pass on the 'cleanmgr' for now and will check to see what XP makes of the adjustment next time I reboot.

    Does it make sense to you that I can use ZTree to explore the System Volume Information on C: but that I am denied access to the same on F: ? I was hoping to follow the same approach to see if Windows had claimed ~60 GB on F for the corresponding System Volume Information tab there.

    Does XP automatically create Restore Points on my data drive, too? That is all that I found on the System Volume Information tab on C:

    Thanks,

    baumgrenze
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by baumgrenze View Post
    Thank you Xircal, for this helpful reply and for your patience in replying to both my nearly consecutive messages.

    I reduced the size of my System Restore. Just for fun, I will pass on the 'cleanmgr' for now and will check to see what XP makes of the adjustment next time I reboot.

    Does it make sense to you that I can use ZTree to explore the System Volume Information on C: but that I am denied access to the same on F: ? I was hoping to follow the same approach to see if Windows had claimed ~60 GB on F for the corresponding System Volume Information tab there.

    Does XP automatically create Restore Points on my data drive, too? That is all that I found on the System Volume Information tab on C:

    Thanks,

    baumgrenze
    I'm afraid I've never used Ztree, so I can't say what the problem might be, but you don't need a third party tool to read the contents of the System Volume folder where System Restores maintains its Restore points. Here's how.

    1. Hit Windows logo key + E to launch Windows Explorer and go to "Tools", "Folder Options" and then click the "View" tab.
    2. In the list, remove the checkmark from "Hide Protected Operating System Files" and then when you see the warning, click "Yes".
    3. Do the same with "Use Simple File Sharing" at the bottom if that's checkmarked as well.
    4. Click Apply/OK.
    5. Click C: to open the root directory and then right click the "System Volume Information" folder.
    6. Go to "Properties" and then click the "Security" tab.
    7. Click the "Add" button, enter your user account name in the "Select Users, Computers, or Groups" dialog box which appears automatically at the top. If you're unsure how to enter it, click the blue underlined "examples" link.
    8. Click OK twice.

    You can now browse the contents of the System Restore folder in the same way as any other folder.

    When you're done, remove the account name you added earlier and then replace the checkmark by "Hide Protected Operating System Files" and "Use Simple File Sharing" as described in steps #2 & 3.

    As for the workings of System Restore, it creates a Restore_ point every day, or when you make changes to your system such as by installing a program. It also creates one prior to installing security patches if you have Automatic Updates enabled.

    If you've every had malware on your machine, you should delete all your System Restore points because besides backing up system files and program data, it also backs up the malware. Running System Restore to wind back the clock can reintroduce a virus which has been backed up as well.

    As regards disk cleanup, you can run that with complete confidence. By default it retains the last seven days worth of temp files, so there's no danger of deleting something which the system needs to run. Mine looks pretty empty because I run it every day.

    As regards the "Compress old files" option, if you click that, it will tell you how much space you can gain. As you can see from the following screenshot, I would gain 687KB by running it. I don't think I'll lose any sleep over that, but if it shows gigabytes of space on your system, then you need to consider running it. But it can take several hours, so only perform that task when you're not going to be using the machine.

    disk_cleanup.png

  5. #5
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    If you're doing your weekly (not Weakly) hard drive maintenance, and you're getting rid of junk (unnecessary files),
    you can also delete old System Restore Points. I do!
    (You must set Windows Explorer to "show all files", even Hidden Files.)

    That keeps your restore points down to a manageable number.

    I backup my entire C: drive every week, at least once, and before I start the backup, I delete:
    All temp files
    All Temporary Internet Files
    My Pagefile
    All System Restore Points. (you don't need restore points, if you're backing up the entire drive)

    By following the above mentioned regimen, I decrease the size of my Backup File by over five Gigabytes.

    I do rely heavily on System Restore, as I test a lot of software, some of which isn't worth keeping.
    To make sure I have a fresh Restore Point when I need it, I force a new restore point, every time I boot up my PC, with a little script in my Startup folder.

    Cheers mates!
    The Doctor
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  6. #6
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Ooops! Duplicate post!
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

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