In the Forums...
Posted: September 19, 2001
Written by: Sine
System Restore started out in Windows ME and Windows 2000 as a way to protect system files, such as important DLLs and VXDs. With Windows XP, it has evolved into an entire system protection mechanism. Windows XP takes snapshots of your configuration at various key times, such as when you install a new driver. If something goes wrong, you can “roll-back” the changes, and even roll-back specific drivers from Device Manager if they’re causing problems.
All this protection takes a lot of space, however. XP allocates 10% of your partition to System Restore by default, and if you have a large drive, you can be losing lots of space (4gb for my 40gb partition!).
You can change a variety of options for System Restore, though. Right-click on My Computer, click Properties, and choose the System Restore tab. In this window you can completely disable system restore (which I don’t recommend) or change the settings for specific drives (which I do recommend).
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You should turn off System Restore for every drive except for the one XP is installed on. This prevents Windows XP from tying up space on drives that it isn’t supposed to use. You might also want to reduce the amount of space that System Restore will use, depending on the size of your hard drive and how much stuff you have on it.
New users might want to leave this setting alone, since the System Restore features will probably come in handy, but people who know what they’re doing may want to free up their hard drive space.
Automatic Update Settings
The automatic update settings for Windows XP are the same as for Windows ME and Windows 2000. You can access the settings by right-clicking on My Computer, choosing Properties, and changing to the Automatic Updates tab. If you have a permanent and fast Internet connection (DSL, cable or LAN) you would probably be best served by choosing the top button to download updates automatically. Users on slow connections or using dial-up should choose one of the other two settings, though, so your connection isn’t automatically tied up by downloads. You can always disable it altogether and check Windows Update manually.