Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Windows 7 System Restore: A Lifesaver

imageOne of my brothers called me tonight from the road.  He travels A LOT, both throughout the United States and around the world.  This time he called from Illinois, where he had just left a "Geek Squad" counter in the nearby Best Buy without having solved his issue. The first thing I said, of course, was "do not EVER waste your time with those folks!"

That said, I'm sure someone reading this will be upset, but hey, my experience with Best Buy has been "get in, get what you need, and get out".  Otherwise referred to as a surgical operation.  As for Geek Squad, well, you can make more money doing "real" IT work, so I question anyone filling that job.  But whatever.

So, my brother was experiencing network connectivity issues with his little Toshiba 10.1" netbook running Windows 7.  It turns out he purchased a cute little USB AT&T "air card" device to allow him to connect from anywhere without needing a hotspot.  That was the theory anyway.  The air card works, but it reconfigred his default network connection settings to the point where he cannot connect otherwise.  Not even when plugging in an ethernet line.  The Geek Squad brain surgeons tried messing with IPCONFIG and ROUTE and tinkering with the network interface settings, yada yada yada.

I have to say that I was shocked that the Geek Squad geniuses didn't even think to do a system restore to a point in time prior to installing the AT&T card.  I rarely ever use this feature, but it's nice to know it's there for times when it's the best answer to a problem.

I walked by brother through it over the phone:

Click the Start Menu (or "orb", whatever) and just type "system restore".  When it appears at the top of the hit list, press ENTER.

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Then choose an appropriate option to use the "Recommended" restore point, or choose a "different" restore point.  I chose the latter.

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If the date you wish to go back to doesn't appear at first, check the option at lower-left "Show more restore points" to go back further.

Select the appropriate/desired restore point (date) and click the "Scan for affected programs" button to get a brief report of any applications that may be impacted or removed by going back to this chosen point in time.  If you don't care, then skip that button and click "Next >"

Follow the rest until it begins the restore process.  It will eventually restart the computer and do a little more restoring before it's ready to log back on.

Well - that fixed his problem.  The only application removed was the AT&T software, which he didn't care for anyway, so all is good.

Conclusion: Rarely should you trust anyone who calls themselves a "genius", especially if they wear a shirt that says it too.  Rarely should you trust anyone that doesn't smile when they call themselves a "geek", especially if they wear a shirt that says "Geek Squad" or "Nerd Platoon" or "Dork Battallion" or whatever.  I call myself an idiot, so you can trust me.

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