When your computer is going haywire, System Restore can be a virtual lifesaver. But what if your high-tech troubles are so severe that Windows can’t even start up? In that case, try using the Safe Mode with Command Prompt to access System Restore:
1. After turning on your computer, press the F8 key several times until the Windows Advanced Options Menu screen appears.
2. Use the up or down arrows on your keyboard to select Safe Mode with Command Prompt, and then press Enter.
3. The next screen displays the message, “Please select the operating system to start.” Assuming you only have Windows XP installed on your system, press Enter. If you have more than one operating system installed, use the up and down arrow keys to select Windows XP, and then press the Enter key.
4. Windows loads some software, which could take a minute or two. Depending on how your version of Windows is configured, a login screen or the Welcome Screen appears. If you see the login screen, type your account name and password (if you have one), press Enter. If you see the Welcome Screen, click the icon for the account labeled Administrator or an account that has administrative privileges, and then type your password (if you have one).
5. Next, a command prompt appears. Type %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe in the blank, and then press the Enter key.
6. After several seconds, the System Restore window appears. Click the Restore My Computer to an Earlier Time button.
7. Click the Next button, located near the lower-right corner of this window.
8. A calendar appears. In it, click a day when your computer was working properly, and then click the next button.
9. To confirm your choice, click next.
10. The System Restore process begins. Moments later, your computer automatically restarts itself. When it boots up, follow the on-screen instructions.