In addition, here's a list of file types System Restore monitors.

Bert Kinney MS-MVP Shell/User

DSG wrote:
> Thanks for helping me sort this out. The reusable
> installation files would be downloaded and saved program
> files I would use to reinstall after a debilitating crash
> of the operating system on C:. I guess what sparked the
> question was the last three words in the following
> paragraph.
> System Restore is a component of Windows XP Professional
> that you can use to restore your computer to a previous
> state, if a problem occurs, without losing your personal
> data files (such as Microsoft Word documents, browsing
> history, drawings, favorites, or e-mail). System Restore
> monitors changes to the system and some application files
> Is there any sense in having H: monitored by System
> Restore? (only data files, photos, zip and PDFs and the
> downloaded and saved reusable installation files.
> "Shenan Stanley" <newshelper@xxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
> news:OLGJhLMhFHA.1048@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> DSG wrote:
>>> On my H: external drive, I keep all my personal files,
>>> and reusable installation files, the latter having .exe
>>> files extensions, etc. The only thing on C: drive are the
>>> operating system and
>>> Programs, and of course, the My Documents folder which
>>> is safe. I have set C: and H: for System Restore Monitoring.
>>> (1) System Restore says it can restore all drives set
>>> for monitoring. How can one do this with the System
>>> Restore Wizard (to find the other drive)
>>> (2) I'm having second thoughts about allowing System
>>> Restore monitoring on the H: drive because it will
>>> probably mess up my reusable installation files and
>>> drivers. Is it a good idea to turn off monitoring on
>>> the H: drive?
>> What system files do you have on the H:\ drive?
>> System Restore does what its name says - restores system
>> files. It doesn't backup anything you download, save, etc. It
>> will have no effect according to what you gave here.
>> Here's a nice list for you to go through - learn to
>> maintain and backup your system..
>> (Tip 6 has more on System Restore and backups.)
>> Microsoft has these suggestions for Protecting your
>> computer from the various things that could happen to
>> you/it: Protect your PC
>> Although those tips are fantastic, there are many things
>> you should know above and beyond what is there. Below I have
>> detailed out many steps that can not only help you clean-up a
>> problem PC but keep it clean ,secure and running at its top
>> performance
>> mark. I know this text can seem intimidating - it is quite
>> long and a lot to take in for a novice - but I assure you that one
>> trip
>> through this list and you will understand your computer
>> and the options available to you for protecting your data much
>> better - and that
>> the next time you review these steps, the time it takes will be
>> greatly reduced. Let's take the cleanup of your computer
>> step-by-step. Yes, it will take up some of your time - but consider
>> what you use your computer for and how much you would dislike it if
>> all of your
>> stuff on your computer went away because you did not
>> "feel like" performing some simple maintenance tasks - think of it
>> like taking out
>> your garbage, collecting and sorting your postal mail,
>> paying your bills on time, etc.
>> I'll mainly work around Windows XP, as that is what the
>> bulk of this document is about; however, here is a place
>> for you poor souls still stuck in Windows 98/ME where
>> you can get information on maintaining your system:
>> Windows 98 and 'Maintaining Your Computer':
>> Windows ME Computer Health:
>> Pay close attention to the sections:
>> (in order)
>> - Clean up your hard disk
>> - Check for errors by running ScanDisk
>> - Defragment your hard disk
>> - Roll back the clock with System Restore
>> Also - now is a good time to point you to one of the
>> easiest ways to find information on problems you may be
>> having and solutions others have found: Search using Google!
>> (How-to: )
>> Now, let's go through some maintenance first that should
>> only have to be done once (mostly):
>> Tip (1):
>> Locate all of the software you have installed on your
>> computer. (the installation media - CDs, downloaded
>> files, etc) Collect these CDs and files together in a central and
>> safe place along with their CD keys and such. Make backups
>> of these installation media sets using your favorite
>> copying method (CD/DVD Burner and application, Disk
>> copier, etc.) You'll be glad to know that if you have a
>> CD/DVD burner, you may be able to use a free application
>> to make a duplicate copy of your CDs. One such
>> application is ISORecorder: ISORecorder page (with general
>> instructions on use):
>> Yes - it is BETA software - but very useful and well
>> tested. More full function applications (free) for CD/DVD
>> burning would be: DeepBurner Free
>> CDBurnerXP Pro
>> Another Option would be to search the web with
>> or and find deals on
>> Products like Ahead Nero and/or Roxio. Tip (2):
>> Empty your Temporary Internet Files and shrink the size
>> it stores to a size between 128MB and 512MB..
>> - Open ONE copy of Internet Explorer.
>> - Select TOOLS -> Internet Options.
>> - Under the General tab in the "Temporary Internet
>> Files" section, do the following:
>> - Click on "Delete Cookies" (click OK)
>> - Click on "Settings" and change the "Amount of disk
>> space to use:" to something between 128MB and 512MB.
>> (Betting it is MUCH larger right now.)
>> - Click OK.
>> - Click on "Delete Files" and select to "Delete all
>> offline contents" (the checkbox) and click OK. (If you
>> had a LOT, this could take 2-10 minutes or more.)
>> - Once it is done, click OK, close Internet Explorer,
>> re-open Internet Explorer.
>> Tip (3):
>> If things are running a bit sluggish and/or you have an
>> older system (1.5GHz or less and 256MB RAM or less) then
>> you may want to look into tweaking the performance by
>> turning off some of the 'resource hogging' Windows XP
>> "prettifications". The fastest method is: Control Panel -->
>> System --> Advanced tab -->
>> Performance section, Settings button. Then choose
>> "adjust for best performance" and you now have a Windows 2000/98
>> look which turned off most of
>> the annoying "prettifications" in one swift action. You
>> can play with the last three checkboxes to get more of an XP look
>> without many
>> of the other annoyances. You could also grab and install/use
>> one (or more) of the Microsoft Powertoys - TweakUI in
>> particular:
>> Tip (4):
>> Understanding what a good password might be is vital to
>> your personal and system security. You may think you do not
>> need to password your home computer, as you may have it
>> in a locked area (your home) where no one else has
>> access to it. Remember, however, you aren't always "in
>> that locked area" when using your computer online -
>> meaning you likely have usernames and passwords
>> associated with web sites and the likes that you would
>> prefer other people do not discover/use. This is why
>> you should understand and utilize good passwords. Good passwords
>> are those that meet these general rules
>> (mileage may vary):
>> Passwords should contain at least six characters, and
>> the character string should contain at least three of
>> these four character types: - uppercase letters
>> - lowercase letters
>> - numerals
>> - nonalphanumeric characters (e.g., *, %, &, !, :)
>> Passwords should not contain your name/username.
>> Passwords should be unique to you and easy to remember.
>> One method many people are using today is to make up a
>> phrase that describes a point in their life and then
>> turning that phrase into their password by using only
>> certain letters out of each word in that phrase. It's
>> much better than using your birthday month/year or your
>> anniversary in a pure sense. For example, let's say my
>> phrase is: 'Moved to new home in 2004' I could come up with this
>> password from that:
>> 'Mv2n3whmN04'
>> The password tip is in the one time section, but I highly
>> recommend you periodically change your passwords. The
>> suggested time varies, but I will throw out a 'once in
>> every 3 to 6 months for every account you have.'
>> Tip (5):
>> This tip is also 'questionable' in the one time section;
>> however - if properly setup - this one can be pretty well ignored
>> for most people after the initial 'fiddle-with' time.
>> Why you should use a computer firewall..
>> You should, in some way, use a firewall. Hardware (like
>> a nice Cable Modem/DSL router) or software is up to you. Many
>> use both of these. The simplest one to use is the
>> hardware one, as most people don't do anything that they will need
>> to configure their
>> NAT device for and those who do certainly will not mind fiddling
>> with the equipment to make things work for them. Next
>> in the line of simplicity would have to be the built-in Windows
>> Firewall of Windows XP. In SP2 it is turned on by default. It is
>> not difficult to turn on
>> in any case, however:
>> Enable/Disable the Internet Connection Firewall
>> (Pre-SP2):
>> More information on the Internet Connection Firewall
>> (Pre-SP2):
>> Post-SP2 Windows Firewall Information/guidance:
>> The trouble with the Windows Firewall is that it only
>> keeps things out. For most people who maintain their system in
>> other
>> ways, this is MORE than sufficient. However, you may
>> feel otherwise. If you want to know when one of your
>> applications is trying to obtain access to the outside
>> world so you can stop it, then you will have to install
>> a third-party application and configure/maintain it. I
>> have compiled a list with links of some of the better
>> known/free firewalls you can choose from: BlackICE PC Protection
>> (~$39.95 and up)
>> Jetico Personal Firewall (Free)
>> Kerio Personal Firewall (KPF) (Free and up)
>> Outpost Firewall from Agnitum (Free and up)
>> Sygate Personal Firewall (Free and up)
>> Symantec's Norton Personal Firewall (~$25 and up)
>> ZoneAlarm (Free and up)
>> You should find the right firewall for your situation in
>> that list and set it up.
>> Every firewall WILL require some maintenance.
>> Essentially checking for patches or upgrades (this goes
>> for hardware and software solutions) is the extent of
>> this maintenance - you may also have to configure your
>> firewall to allow some traffic depending on your needs. ** Don't
>> stack the software firewalls! Running more
>> than one software firewall will not make you safer - it
>> would possibly negate some protection you gleamed from
>> one or the other firewall you run. Now that you have some of the
>> more basic things down..
>> Let's go through some of the steps you should take
>> periodically to maintain a healthy and stable windows
>> computer. If you have not done some of these things in the past,
>> they may seem
>> tedious - however, they will become routine and some can
>> even be automatically scheduled. Tip (6):
>> The system restore feature is a new one - first
>> appearing in Windows ME and then sticking around for Windows XP.
>> It is a
>> useful feature if you keep it maintained and use it to your
>> advantage. Remember that the system restore pretty much tells you
>> in the name what it protects which is 'system' files. Your
>> documents, your pictures, your stuff is NOT system
>> files - so you should also look into some backup
>> solution. I have seen the automatic system restore go wrong too
>> many times not to suggest the following.. Whenever you think about
>> it
>> (after doing a once-over on your machine once a month or
>> so would be optimal) - clear out your System Restore and
>> create a manual restoration point. 'Why?'
>> Too many times have I seen the system restore files go
>> corrupt or get a virus in them, meaning you could not or did not
>> want
>> to restore from them. By clearing it out periodically
>> you help prevent any corruption from happening and you
>> make sure you have at least one good "snapshot". (*This,
>> of course, will erase any previous restore point you
>> have.*) - Turn off System Restore.
>> - Reboot the Computer.
>> - Review the first bullet to turn on System Restore
>> - Make a Manual Restoration Point.
>> That covers your system files, but doesn't do anything
>> for the files that you are REALLY worried about - yours! For that
>> you
>> need to look into backups. You can either manually copy
>> your important files, folders, documents, spreadsheets,
>> emails, contacts, pictures, drawings and so on to an
>> external location (CD/DVD - any disk of some sort, etc)
>> or you can use the backup tool that comes with Windows
>> XP: How To Use Backup to Back Up Files and Folders on Your
>> Computer
>> Yes - you still need some sort of external media to
>> store the results on, but you could schedule the backup to occur
>> when you
>> are not around, then burn the resultant data onto CD or
>> DVD or something when you are (while you do other
>> things!) A lot of people have wondered about how to completely
>> backup their system so that they would not have to go
>> through the trouble of a reinstall.. I'm going to voice
>> my opinion here and say that it would be worthless to do
>> for MOST people. Unless you plan on periodically
>> updating the image backup of your system (remaking it) -
>> then by the time you use it (something goes wrong) - it
>> will be so outdated as to be more trouble than
>> performing a full install of the operating system and
>> all applications. Having said my part against it, you can
>> clone/backup
>> your hard drive completely using many methods - by far
>> the simplest are using disk cloning applications:
>> Symantec/Norton Ghost
>> Acronis True Image
>> Tip (7):
>> You should sometimes look through the list of
>> applications that are installed on your computer. The
>> list may surprise you. There are more than likely
>> things in there you know you never use - so why have
>> them there? There may even be things you know you did
>> *not* install and certainly do not use (maybe don't WANT
>> to use.) This web site should help you get started at looking
>> through this list: How to Uninstall Programs
>> A word of warning - Do NOT uninstall anything you think
>> you MIGHT need in the future unless you have completed Tip (1) and
>> have
>> the installation media and proper keys for use backed up
>> somewhere safe! Tip (8):
>> Patches and Updates!
>> This one cannot be stressed enough. It is SO simple,
>> yet so neglected by many people. It is especially simple for the
>> critical Windows patches! Microsoft put in an AUTOMATED
>> feature for you to utilize so that you do NOT have to
>> worry yourself about the patching of the Operating
>> System: How to configure and use Automatic Updates in Windows XP
>> However, not everyone wants to be a slave to automation,
>> and that is fine. Admittedly, I prefer this method on
>> some of my more critical systems.
>> Windows Update
>> Go there and scan your machine for updates. Always get
>> the critical ones as you see them. Write down the
>> KB###### or Q###### you see when selecting the updates
>> and if you have trouble over the next few days, go into your
>> control panel (Add/Remove Programs), insure
>> that the 'Show Updates' checkbox is checked and match up
>> the latest numbers you downloaded recently (since you
>> started noticing an issue) and uninstall them. If there
>> was more than one (usually is), uninstall them one by
>> one with a few hours of use in between, to see if the
>> problem returns. Yes - the process is not perfect (updating) and
>> can
>> cause trouble like I mentioned - but as you can see, the
>> solution isn't that bad - and is MUCH better than the alternatives.
>> Windows is not the only product you likely have on your
>> PC. The manufacturers of the other products usually
>> have updates. New versions of almost everything come
>> out all the time - some are free, some are pay and some
>> you can only download if you are registered - but it is
>> best to check. Just go to their web pages and look under
>> their support and download sections. For example, for
>> Microsoft Office you should visit: Microsoft Office Updates
>> (and select 'Check for Updates' and/or 'Downloads' for
>> more) You also have hardware on your machine that requires
>> drivers to interface with the operating system. You
>> have a video card that allows you to see on
>> your screen, a sound card that allows you to hear your
>> PCs sound output and
>> so on. Visit those manufacturer web sites for the
>> latest downloadable drivers for your hardware/operating
>> system. Always get the manufacturers' hardware driver
>> over any Microsoft offers. On the Windows Update site I
>> mentioned earlier, I suggest NOT getting their hardware
>> drivers - no matter how tempting.
>> How do you know what hardware you have in your computer?
>> Break out the invoice or if it is up and working now -
>> take inventory: Belarc Advisor
>> EVEREST Home Edition
>> Once you know what you have, what next? Go get the
>> latest driver for your hardware/OS from the
>> manufacturer's web page. For example, let's say you
>> have an NVidia chipset video card or ATI video card,
>> perhaps a Creative Labs sound card or C-Media chipset
>> sound card... NVidia Video Card Drivers
>> ATI Video Card Drivers
>> Creative Labs Sound Device
>> C-Media Sound Device
>> Then install these drivers. Updated drivers are usually
>> more stable and may provide extra benefits/features that
>> you really wished you had before. As for Service Pack 2 (SP2) for
>> Windows XP, Microsoft
>> has made this particular patch available in a number of
>> ways. First, there is the Windows Update web page
>> above. Then there is a direct download site and finally, you can
>> order the FREE CD from Microsoft.
>> Direct Download of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP
>> Order the Free Windows XP SP2 CD
>> If all else fails - grab the full download above and try
>> to use that. In this case - consider yourself a 'IT professional or
>> developer'. Tip (9):
>> What about the dreaded word in the computer world, VIRUS?
>> Well, there are many products to choose from that will
>> help you prevent infections from these horrid little
>> applications. Many are FREE to the home user and which
>> you choose is a matter of taste, really. Many people
>> have emotional attachments or performance issues with
>> one or another AntiVirus software. Try some out, read
>> reviews and decide for yourself which you like more: ( Good
>> Comparison Page for AV software:
>> ) AntiVir (Free and up)
>> avast! (Free and up)
>> AVG Anti-Virus System (Free and up)
>> eset NOD32 (~$39.00 and up)
>> eTrust EZ Antivirus (~$29.95 and up)
>> Kaspersky Anti-Virus (~$49.95 and up)
>> McAfee VirusScan (~$11 and up)
>> Panda Antivirus Titanium (~$39.95 and up)
>> (Free Online Scanner:
>> RAV AntiVirus Online
>> Virus Scan (Free!)
>> Symantec (Norton) AntiVirus (~$11 and up)
>> Trend Micro (~$49.95 and up)
>> (Free Online Scanner:
>> Most of them have automatic update capabilities. You
>> will have to look into the features of the one you choose.
>> Whatever
>> one you finally settle with - be SURE to keep it updated
>> (I recommend at least daily) and perform a full scan
>> periodically (yes, most protect you actively, but a full
>> scan once a month at 4AM probably won't bother you.) Tip (10):
>> The most rampant infestation at the current time
>> concerns SPYWARE/ADWARE. You need to eliminate it from
>> your machine. There is no one software that cleans and immunizes
>> you
>> against everything. Antivirus software - you only
>> needed one. Firewall, you only needed one. AntiSpyware
>> - you will need several. I have a list and I recommend
>> you use at least the first five. First - make sure you have NOT
>> installed "Rogue
>> AntiSpyware". There are people out there who created
>> AntiSpyware products that actually install spyware of
>> their own! You need to avoid these: Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware
>> Products & Web Sites
>> Also, you can always visit this site..
>> For more updated information.
>> Install the first five of these: (Install, Run, Update,
>> Scan with..) (If you already have one or more -
>> uninstall them and download the LATEST version from the page
>> given!)
>> Lavasoft AdAware (Free and up)
>> (How-to: )
>> Spybot Search and Destroy (Free!)
>> (How-to: )
>> Bazooka Adware and Spyware Scanner (Free!)
>> (How-to: )
>> SpywareBlaster (Free!)
>> (How-to: )
>> IE-SPYAD2 (Free!)
>> (How-to: )
>> CWShredder Stand-Alone (Free!)
>> Hijack This! (Free!)
>> (Log Analyzer: )
>> ToolbarCop (Free!)
>> Microsoft AntiSpyware BETA (in testing stages - Free!)
>> (How-to: )
>> Browser Security Tests (Free Tester)
>> Popup Tester (Free Tester)
>> The Cleaner (~$49.95 and up)
>> Sometimes you need to install the application and reboot
>> into SAFE MODE in order to thoroughly clean your
>> computer. Many applications also have (or are)
>> immunization applications. Spybot Search and Destroy
>> and SpywareBlaster are two that currently do the best
>> job at passively protecting your system from malware. None of these
>> programs (in these editions) run in the
>> background unless you TELL them to. The space they take
>> up and how easy they are to use greatly makes up for any
>> inconvenience you may be feeling.
>> Please notice that Windows XP SP2 does help stop popups
>> as well. Another option is to use an alternative Web browser. I
>> suggest 'Mozilla Firefox', as it has some great features
>> and is very easy to use: Mozilla Firefox
>> So your machine is pretty clean and up to date now. If
>> you use the sections
>> above as a guide, it should stay that way as well! There are still
>> a few more things you can do to keep
>> your machine running in top shape. Tip (11):
>> You should periodically check your hard drive(s) for
>> errors and defragment them. Only defragment after you
>> have cleaned up your machine of outside parasites and never
>> defragment as a solution to
>> a quirkiness in your system. It may help speed up your
>> system, but it should be clean before you do this. Do
>> these things IN ORDER... How to use Disk Cleanup
>> How to scan your disks for errors
>> How to Defragment your hard drives
>> I would personally perform the above steps at least once
>> every three months.
>> For most people this should be sufficient, but if the
>> difference you notice
>> afterwards is greater than you think it should be,
>> lessen the time in between its schedule.. If the
>> difference you notice is negligible, you can
>> increase the time.
>> Tip (12):
>> This one can get annoying, just like the rest. You get
>> 50 emails in one sitting and 2 of them you wanted. NICE! (Not.)
>> What can you do? Well, although there are
>> services out there to help you, some email
>> servers/services that actually do lower your spam with
>> features built into their servers - I still like the
>> methods that let you be the end-decision maker on what
>> is spam and what is not. I have two products to suggest
>> to you, look at them and see if either of them suite
>> your needs. Again, if they don't, Google is free and
>> available for your perusal. SpamBayes (Free!)
>> Spamihilator (Free!)
>> As I said, those are not your only options, but are
>> reliable ones I have seen function for hundreds+ people.
>> Tip (13):
>> ADVANCED TIP! Only do this once you are comfortable
>> under the hood of your
>> computer!
>> There are lots of services on your PC that are probably
>> turned on by default
>> you don't use. Why have them on? Check out these web
>> pages to see what all
>> of the services you might find on your computer are and
>> set them according to your personal needs. Be CAREFUL
>> what you set to manual, and take heed and write down as
>> you change things! Also, don't expect a large
>> performance increase or anything - especially on today's 2+ GHz
>> machines, however - I look at each service you set to
>> manual as one less service you have to worry
>> about someone exploiting.
>> Configuring Services
>> Task List Programs
>> Processes in Windows NT/2000/XP
>> There are also applications that AREN'T services that
>> startup when you start
>> up the computer/logon. One of the better description on
>> how to handle these
>> I have found here:
>> Startups
>> If you follow the advice laid out above (and do some of
>> your own research as
>> well, so you understand what you are doing) - your
>> computer will stay fairly
>> stable and secure and you will have a more trouble-free
>> system. --
>> Shenan Stanley
>> --
>> How To Ask Questions The Smart Way


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