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Author Topic: System Restore Cleanup  (Read 3711 times)

Steven Avery

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System Restore Cleanup
« on: April 01, 2009, 08:15:32 AM »
Hi Folks,

As this informed community knows, one of the biggest wastes of space is a gazillion system restore points, whether done as the almost-daily "System Checkpoint" , or special points set up by install programs, so you often end up with 2-3 or more a day.

Even though my 140Gb disk is only 40% used, I figgered it was time to clean up, I knew the trick of reducing the % allocation.  Looking at the XP stuff I got a couple of surprises.  Before I reduced the 12% (18Gb..ugh) I noticed that was 90 days, maybe 150 restore points !   And I only want a couple.  Normally I had heard of reducing to 5% or so, but it was clear that 1% should be a good try.  And even that .. left about 20 days of restores ! .  What was perplexing was that 0% , the 200 mb minimum, resulted in the same number of points, none were taken away !? ... hmmmm

Anyway, then I wanted the 15+ Gibabytes to show up .. somewhere.  I tried Auslogics Disk Defrag, but the numbers were unchanged. Same with WinDirStat, and their numbers agree with XP Computer Management.  So either .. the Restore Points were not picked up as disk space, or it needs a reboot to wake up the numbers.  That is where I am now.  I'll report back after the reboot, it would seem strange that these programs would not consider System Restore space as used space, if that is the case.

Shalom,
Steven Avery

cmpm

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Re: System Restore Cleanup
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2009, 08:37:57 AM »
Hey Steven.

I seriously doubt if the restore points will even work.
System restore is unreliable imo. A bit off topic, but
I disabled it on my computer.

Better to use a good backup program.
Which is another subject I suppose.

---
Anyway,

Reading your post.
Auslogic is pretty lightweight as you may know for defrag.
Give jkdefrag a run and see if it makes a difference.
If you don't need your current restore points.
Disable system restore, defrag, and re enable it if you want to.
See if that makes a difference as well.

http://www.kessels.com/JkDefrag/

cyberdiva

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Re: System Restore Cleanup
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2009, 09:53:12 AM »
I seriously doubt if the restore points will even work.
System restore is unreliable imo.

I hesitate to take issue with what you've said, cmpm, since you know a lot more than I do about tech matters.  However, my experience with system restore is very different from yours.  In the last few months, I've used system restore a bunch of times, and it always worked as I'd hoped.

cmpm

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Re: System Restore Cleanup
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2009, 10:01:51 AM »
Just my experience with it cyberdiva.
It's failed for me more then once.
So it's not an issue with me.

40hz

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Re: System Restore Cleanup
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2009, 10:04:26 AM »
In the last few months, I've used system restore a bunch of times,

Out of curiosity, what's been up with you that you're needing to use System Restore so much? You really shouldn't need to. Almost sounds like you have a deeper undiagnosed problem on your PC that needs fixing. Maybe some of us can help you if that's the case.

So...whatcha been doin' that you need to restore so much? :)


cyberdiva

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Re: System Restore Cleanup
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2009, 10:36:05 AM »
Out of curiosity, what's been up with you that you're needing to use System Restore so much? You really shouldn't need to. Almost sounds like you have a deeper undiagnosed problem on your PC that needs fixing. Maybe some of us can help you if that's the case.

Thanks, 40hz, for your concern.  I really appreciate it.  However, I may have made it seem like I've used system restore more than I have.  By "a bunch of times" over the last few months, I meant somewhere between five and ten.  And they were almost all prompted by problems I encountered when I installed software that didn't play nicely on my computer (normally, just removing the program is all that's necessary, but there were some times when that wasn't feasible or sufficient).  There was also one time when I used system restore to undo the results of what I thought were trivial registry changes.  :o   In each case, system restore proved very helpful.

tomos

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Re: System Restore Cleanup
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2009, 10:46:26 AM »
I've had the same experience as cyberdiva (but have used it less often)

I'm curious about responses to the original post:-

Even though my 140Gb disk is only 40% used, I figgered it was time to clean up, I knew the trick of reducing the % allocation.  Looking at the XP stuff I got a couple of surprises.  Before I reduced the 12% (18Gb..ugh) I noticed that was 90 days, maybe 150 restore points !   And I only want a couple.  Normally I had heard of reducing to 5% or so, but it was clear that 1% should be a good try.  And even that .. left about 20 days of restores ! .  What was perplexing was that 0% , the 200 mb minimum, resulted in the same number of points, none were taken away !? ... hmmmm

Anyway, then I wanted the 15+ Gibabytes to show up .. somewhere.  I tried Auslogics Disk Defrag, but the numbers were unchanged. Same with WinDirStat, and their numbers agree with XP Computer Management.  So either .. the Restore Points were not picked up as disk space, or it needs a reboot to wake up the numbers.  That is where I am now.  I'll report back after the reboot, it would seem strange that these programs would not consider System Restore space as used space, if that is the case.

or how you got on after the reboot?
I only have less than 20 restore points with 3% of C partition as setting (979 MB of 30GB) so maybe it's just the reboot that's needed ...
Tom

Steven Avery

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Re: System Restore Cleanup
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2009, 06:01:14 PM »
Hi Folks,

Haven't rebooted yet. Since I have cleanmem and a couple of other changes the need is reduced :). RSN (real soon now).

I tend to downplay System Restore, to be avoided and no panacea and often used dubiously, although once a couple of years ago it helped me quite a bit (don't remember much of the specifics).  However, since my backups are a little lite and I have plenty of space I see it as a good safety alternative, to be used sparingly, if at all.  And since I just did a bit of a security check it is a nice time to lean down the restores to a small finger-count.  As long as you don't get sucked into using it unnecessarily why not have a couple on the disk, unless it conflicts with your defrag or a virtual machine or something.

And I realize Auslogics is defrag lite. (Very easy and convenient and simple and neat and responsible defrag lite.)  However I have plenty of disk, and I tend to doubt that the most optimum disk placement or the longest-lasting defrag will make much difference, since the disk ain't a-churning. I used to get a laugh when Windows would leave so many chkdsk unidentified flying fragments, orphans, and people would accept that as normal.  Like a toy operating system.

Shalom,
Steven Avery
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 06:07:24 PM by Steven Avery »

40hz

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Re: System Restore Cleanup
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2009, 11:03:04 PM »
However, I may have made it seem like I've used system restore more than I have.  By "a bunch of times" over the last few months, I meant somewhere between five and ten.

Well, that seems like a lot to me, but I don't load new software on my main machine very often, so I guess we travel down different cyber-roads. ;D

Quote
And they were almost all prompted by problems I encountered when I installed software that didn't play nicely on my computer (normally, just removing the program is all that's necessary, but there were some times when that wasn't feasible or sufficient).

Thought: if you're not using Revo Uninstaller ( www.revouninstaller.com ) to remove programs from your machine, you might want to consider doing so. It does a very nice job of cleaning up registry entries and artifacts left behind by a lot of installers. It's also available in a portable version. One of the better utilities out there IMHO - especially if you're one of those adventurous types that likes to try out a lot of new software.
 :Thmbsup:

app103

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Re: System Restore Cleanup
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2009, 11:53:45 PM »
If your system is stable right now and you won't be needing all those restore points from the past, it's quite easy to clean it all up.

  • Make sure your Recycle Bin is empty. (very important and I'll explain why, later)
  • Turn off System Restore.
  • Reboot. (all the old crap will be automatically cleaned out)
  • Turn on System Restore.
  • Reboot again.
  • Immediately set a new restore point.

Now, here is why I had you empty your Recycle Bin:

The reason why restore points fail is usually related to the contents of the Recycle Bin at the time the restore point was created vs. the contents when you try to roll back. If there were any files in there when the restore point was made but not in there when you try to restore, it will usually fail.

During the process of creating the snapshot, copies of various files & settings are made, and a listing of the contents of the Recycle Bin is recorded, but no backup of the actual contents is made.

It can't restore the Recycle Bin to the state it was if any of the files are missing, so it will fail, and since that has failed, it makes the whole restore point fail. It's an "all or none" type of thing, and System Restore will restore everything or nothing at all. If it get stuck on anything it just fails.

And that is why System Restore has always been seen as being unreliable and flaky.

So the solution is to set the restore points with an empty Recycle Bin, and to make your own restore points before installing any software or making any other sort of system changes, also setting them on a regular basis, "just in case". That way you can make sure that Recycle Bin is empty when you do it.

If you can rely on your own points and remember this rule, and avoid using the automatically generated ones, System Restore can be quite reliable.

The other solution is to always empty your Recycle Bin whenever there is anything in it, so the automatically created restore points will always be done with an empty Recycle Bin.

Steven Avery

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Re: System Restore Cleanup
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2009, 03:36:44 AM »
Hi Folks,

That is pretty amazing about the recycle bin / system restore Microsoft blunder (any other way to put it ?).  Even after the bad design, they could have simply added a "empty recycle bin before new Restore Point is created option (recommended) " to the settings and put in a simple hook, at least in a service pack.  Since you often do not know when the system will do a System Restore point the problem is really huge, and it would be difficult to force that into a full-orbed System Restore shell program, only for the restore points that you initiate.

I read that each Restore point is an increment of the earliest (one reason why it doesn't allow selective deletions, only a "delete all but one" option in settings).

Ultimately I gained 2.5 gigabytes, maybe a bit less, not my expected 10-15.  Thus, I probably would have ended up with far more than my ninety days (strangely, right at the beginning of the year) -- little to some unanswered questions.   It might be good to look at the size of a few system restore files later to see if this "incremental" thing makes sense.

Shalom,
Steven Avery

cyberdiva

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Re: System Restore Cleanup
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2009, 09:07:35 AM »
Thought: if you're not using Revo Uninstaller ( www.revouninstaller.com ) to remove programs from your machine, you might want to consider doing so. It does a very nice job of cleaning up registry entries and artifacts left behind by a lot of installers.

Thanks very much for the suggestion!  I had actually downloaded a copy last week, but I haven't yet installed it.  I've been unsure whether I really needed yet another piece of software  ;D , but after reading your recommendation, I think I'll go ahead and add it.

cranioscopical

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Re: System Restore Cleanup
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2009, 11:46:42 AM »
Thought: if you're not using Revo Uninstaller ( www.revouninstaller.com ) to remove programs from your machine, you might want to consider doing so. It does a very nice job of cleaning up registry entries and artifacts left behind by a lot of installers.

Thanks very much for the suggestion!  I had actually downloaded a copy last week, but I haven't yet installed it.  I've been unsure whether I really needed yet another piece of software

FWIW, I felt the same way.. until I did install it.  Now I wouldn't be without it.


MilesAhead

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Re: System Restore Cleanup
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2009, 06:28:55 PM »
One of the improvements in Vista, that isn't really advertised, is you can fine tune the storage without doing the percentage bit.  From an admin command prompt you can set the disk space to allocate.  I use 16 GB as max.

vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /Maxsize=16GB

Esp. comes in handy in Vista64 since the Disk Cleanup thing doesn't clean off all but the last restore point like it does in Vista 32.  So I disable system restore, enable it, create a restore point, and I have a shortcut to a .cmd file with that command line to set the max to 16 GB.

Edit: speaking of restore points, here's a tutorial with a download link for an excellent script that creates a restore point when you click a shortcut. The nice thing on this one is it pops up an input box so you can enter the comment for the restore point.  Works in both my 32 bit and 64 bit Vista unlike some other .vbs scripts I've tried:


« Last Edit: April 04, 2009, 01:17:58 PM by MilesAhead »