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Bug Windows

Win7 Can Delete All System Restore Points On Reboot 449

Posted by kdawson
from the yes-we-have-no-recovery dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Astonishingly, the so-called system restore feature in Windows 7 deletes restore points without warning when the system is rebooted. This forum thread on answers.microsoft.com shows some of the users who have experienced the problem. Today I did a clean install of Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit (no dual boot), and noticed that whenever the machine rebooted after installing an application or driver, the disk churned for several minutes on the 'starting Windows' screen. Turns out that churning was the sound of my diligently created system restore points being deleted. Unfortunately I only found this out when Windows barfed at a USB dongle and I wanted to restore the system to an earlier state. This is an extraordinarily bad bug, which I suspect most Windows 7 users won't realise is affecting them until it's too late."
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Win7 Can Delete All System Restore Points On Reboot

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    system reboots you!

  • by Nemyst (1383049) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:18PM (#32060974) Homepage
    I don't know if anyone's been in the same situation as I have, but the only times I've had to use system restore were a disaster. For virus infections, the restore data tends to be infected too, so that's useless. For restoring from bad drivers, applications, etc. the only time I had to do that I went from no network connection to BSoD on boot which took me two days to fix.

    I have disabled System Restore now, and I never ever suggest using it to anyone I know.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ls671 (1122017) *

      The only time I used system restore is when I couldn't reboot with new installed components or service packs so maybe MS decided that if you rebooted successfully, then you do not need the restore data anymore, hehe... ;-))

  • by syousef (465911) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:22PM (#32060996) Journal

    System restore has always been awful. It doesn't play well with anti-virus, it's slow, it's always been buggy. Worst part is I've only had it work to fix a problem for me ONCE in the couple of years I bothered with it. These days if I want to save the state of a computer that is working well I simply image the disk. More expensive and potentially time consuming but a hell of a lot more reliable.

    Oh and don't image it with Windows 7 Microsoft tools. I had an issue with Vista's system restore tool once that had me scrambling for a copy of Virtual PC to read the images. (Vista system restore would just wipe the existing partitions then fail with an error before restoring a thing).

    • What parent says. I've tried system restore most often on machines that were infected. System restore points always seem to be infected - it's like an infection automatically makes Windows discard old restore points, and create new infected restore points. The best strategy is to back up the system after a fresh install, and every time something major or something important is installed. Of course, the VERY best strategy is an enterprise solution, where the system is backed up regularly - like each Frid

  • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3@EEEgmail.com minus threevowels> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:22PM (#32060998)
    Yea...uh...system restore...yea. Better off using a full disk imaging utility, or using a 3rd party backup manager like Acronis or whatnot.
    • by drolli (522659)

      Yes. if a system is important to you, then backup with a bare-metal restore is the only way to be sure.

      Any professional who tells different is directly responsible for loss of data.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ls671 (1122017) *

        > Yes. if a system is important to you,

        I try not to keep anything important on windows boxes or laptops so I never have to bother to back them up. So far, the only thing I found out the hard way I had to backup is my configuration file for game controls that the Logitech Profiler uses. It took me quite a while to reconfigure my games when Windows failed.

        In some way, I could pretend that I do not have to trust Windows for the integrity of my data. I use shares on my file server to save things and reposito

        • by Anpheus (908711) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:56AM (#32062022)

          The fact is, advanced tools are just that, advanced. Windows comes with bare metal tools, and the ability to properly configure a daily, weekly, etc, backup on external disk. And there are more advanced features for the adventurous. I guarantee you I won't lose data if my Windows box dies. I have daily backups, a RAID10 internal with a hot spare, blah blah blah. But I'm not a typical user.

          And neither are you. We both know how to use our OS to protect our data, even if it involved what appears to be wizardry to the average user. I really wish backup were easier. Windows 7 actually informs the user regularly that they don't have a backup, and will continue to warn them if a backup ever fails. That's great progress, but it's maybe not yet good enough. Let me know when a popular Linux distro supports bare metal backup and a snapshotting filesystem with the ability to "go back in time" to a good state, I look forward to that day. Until then, you have your wizardry, I have my slightly-less-magical-looking GUI that manages most of it for me built in. *shrugs*

          IMO, I'd like to get to the point where OSes, Windows, Mac, Linux, really, seriously warn the user the moment their data isn't safe. It's one thing for Windows 7 to pop up a notification balloon, or for OS X to complain that Time Machine isn't set up, but I feel like there should be more than that. And on Linux, I don't think there's anything comparable at the moment.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tim99 (984437)
        I can recommend the SystemRescueCd bootable Linux system rescue disk. http://www.sysresccd.org/Main_Page [sysresccd.org]

        Some IT shops don't like it because it allows you to reset or add Administrator accounts, or copy files without going through the Windows security model.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TechForensics (944258)

      I'm not sure even tools like Acronis are really safe since they run under, and are subject to restrictions imposed by Windows. For example using Easeus Partition Manager to clone the boot partition of your main drive to another clean drive will not produce a bootable disk, even if you copy the hidden boot partition (whose raison d'etre M$ claims is bitlocker). I don't believe anything that runs under Windows will make a perfect duplicate of your boot disk-- if you want to have a spare drive in your desk

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by paulwye (1465203)

        I don't believe anything that runs under Windows will make a perfect duplicate of your boot disk-- if you want to have a spare drive in your desk that can be swapped in for your failed C:\ drive without a hiccup,

        Nope, Acronis (and I assume others as well--I specify Acronis because it was mentioned, and I use it) disk images can be used to do a bare-metal restore in the event of software or disk failure. You'd need either (a) previously-created rescue media, or (b) another machine with Acronis and (i) a spare SATA/IDE port or (ii) a USB disk enclosure. Works like a charm. In fact, IIRC, the replacement disk doesn't even need to be of the same size, except under certain circumstances.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Enderandrew (866215)

        I've used Ghost and Clonezilla to make replacement bootable hard drives just fine. I can't imagine Acronis really fails in this regard, or it wouldn't be taken seriously.

      • Note: Most Live Linux and Unix discs will not complete booting from a SATA optical drive-- not sure why. You must use PATA

        Depends on the distro and your hardware. For example, Gentoo's minimal CD won't boot on my desktop (or wouldn't as of a few months ago), because it is missing drivers for my motherboard; Ubuntu's LiveCD works fine. (I only have SATA drives.)

    • by Machtyn (759119)
      See Partimage Is Not Ghost [windowsdream.com]
    • I can heartily recommend Carbon Copy Cloner. :-)

  • by Zouden (232738) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:23PM (#32061006)

    I just checked and I have 9 restore points going back two weeks. I would have restarted several times in that period. The summary makes it sound as if this is a bug that affects all users. I don't think that is the case.

    This is an extraordinarily bad bug, which I suspect most Windows 7 users won't realise is affecting them until it's too late.

    Yeah or maybe it's not affecting most Windows 7 users.

    • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:28PM (#32061034) Homepage Journal

      Warning: Your style of discussion hinders M$ bashing on slashdot and might get you banned.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vistapwns (1103935)
      I also have old restore points, and in multiple systems I've installed Win 7, I've looked in system restore on several of them on multiple occasions and have always seen old restore points going back passed recent reboots. I guess we need something in the wake of all those ubuntu 10.04 bugs to make windows look like the monster.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Nimey (114278)

      It's kdawson. You can't expect fact-checking.

      • by kjart (941720) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:53PM (#32061194)

        It's kdawson. You can't expect fact-checking.

        I kind of think this guy takes a bit of undeserved heat sometimes, but the 'story' here is a link to a forum thread with fewer than 10 posts (at the time of this reply). That doesn't seem front page worthy, well, anywhere.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ari_j (90255)
          All heat on kdawson is well-deserved. Find a counterexample if you think there is one. I haven't noticed it yet, though.
    • by Megaweapon (25185)

      Posted by kdawson

      'nuff said.

    • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:00AM (#32061224) Homepage

      Agreed, I've restarted over a dozen times due to me mucking around and changing stuff via the registry. I've got 9 restore points going back to the 5th of april.

    • by DavidD_CA (750156) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @05:40AM (#32062516) Homepage

      I have 14 restore points dating back to 3/29/2010 which is about when I installed Windows 7 on this machine.

      A quick Bing search brought me to another thread where the guy's problem turned out to be a disk defrag utility that was deleting restore points on reboot. He disabled the utility, and the restores stopped disappearing.

      For what it's worth, does a forum post from January with a total of five people reporting a problem really deserve to be on Slashdot? Oh wait, it's anti-MS. Nevermind.

  • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:25PM (#32061016)
    I've used System Restore on my Win7 64-bit systems. If Win7 really had a habit of deleting System Restore points, it would have been detected and harped upon within hours of its release, 32-bit or 64-bit. Whatever the problem is, it's hard to believe it's Windows' fault.
    • It can be a perfectly legitimate bug that just requires stars to be aligned in certain way etc - it's not like Windows source code is fully verified for correctness.

      It's probably not really newsworthy if it only affects so few people, though. At best, if this gets verified as a genuine bug, you'll see it fixed on some Patch Tuesday next month, and that's it.

  • by assemblerex (1275164) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:26PM (#32061020)
    Last resort of the desperate! Failed restore ahoy!! Batten down the ram hatches, load the cache cannon and pray lads, pray!
    It's going to be a rough one! A working restore is like catching the white whale. Sure you can do it but it might kill you
    in the process.
  • by Superdarion (1286310) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:35PM (#32061076)

    So a few people have a problem with windows? It's not even widespread!

    This wouldn't have made it to slashdot if it weren't for the oh-so-common hatred for windows around these lands.

  • by h00manist (800926) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:48PM (#32061170) Journal
    Got to be smarter than that. I dislike monopolies and MS as much as anyone, but finding problems and publicizing them will only help test it and reduce QA labor costs for Microsoft. It won't make people not use it, or wonder if Linux or anything else is better. Testing some programs for Linux will be better, talking to people managing various projects, writing user manuals for a few programs. Wine HQ has lots of programs that need testing and installation instructions. Questioning copyrights and patents could get some results, campaigning for legislation change. But just bashing Microsoft and saying "in Linux it is better" won't do much.
  • by ghostis (165022) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:52PM (#32061188) Homepage

    Given the recent similar issue with supposedly buggy Windows updates, I say this is an undetected root kit cleaning up after itself.

  • ... it has weird quirky bugs. I have this desktop refresh problem on my new office machine with 64-bit Windows 7 HP. Hopefully, SP1 fixes these things!

  • Seems like they (Microsoft) have managed to continue flawed restore data loss in each new release. Ironically, it restores (through social engineering) our familiar role as beta testers that also get to (once again) pay for the privilege of a windows operating system loaded security concerns, flabby feature creepiness, and a corporate eula that is guaranteed to serve their interest and cost you time and money. We are subjected to this, repeatedly, in order to ease the headache of unnecessary risk, expense
  • Perhaps, many never even ran Vista.
  • What is this "system restore?" I switched to Linux Mint years ago and have never since needed to "restore" my system. Worst case scenario, I've had to close an unresponsive windows, and reboot just for good measure. Do I need this restore partition thingie? I backup once in a while but have never needed it. I reboot once every month or two, just to be safe. Will my system be more stable and secure from virusess if I upgrade to the latest and greatest windose?
    • The main purpose of "System Restore" in Windows is to recover from an installation of a badly written and malfunctioning driver, when said malfunction hampers normal OS functionality, or even prevents the system from booting altogether.

      The reason why you don't have that problem in Linux is because, most likely, the only third-party driver you use there - if any - is the graphics one.
      So the chances of running into a badly broken one are lower (though not non-existing; e.g. the recent kernel update has messed

  • I don't mean to troll, but in order to recover from something incredibly bad, normally FORMAT C: is the only option to be 100% sure. Then I use my version of System Restore called "Ghost" and I'm back up and running in 20 minutes.
  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @02:01AM (#32061818)
    The System Restore function is a favorite hiding place for malicious programs. So Microsoft finally fixed it?
  • by Rydia (556444) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @09:32AM (#32063374)

    Yesterday I needed to boot into windows (the D&DI Character Generator doesn't work in wine, as far as I can tell), and I was greeted after boot with a lovely screen telling me that the system was broken and in need of repair. So my two options were restore from backup or repair. I had no backup, so I went to repair, and under "select drive," there was no system install. Windows had apparently uninstalled itself.

    I'm still trying to sort out what happened.

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