System Protection

System protection in Windows 7 is a very important mechanism that enables the saving of information related to system files and settings, saving previous versions of files that were modified, and creates restore points every 7 days and prior to significant systems changes. System protection is automatically enabled for the system drive only (Windows 7 installation location) but can be manually enabled for other drives given that they are formatted with the NTFS file system.

Important Note - a drive needs to have system protection enabled in order to be included in a restore point and in order to have the previous copies of files and folders functionality!

You launch the System Protection box from the control panel: (Click Start\Control Panel)

  1. In the Control Panel Click System and Security
  2. In the System and Security window click System
  3. In the System window click System Protection – now you have the System Properties window open with the System Protection tab selectedsystem properties

   4.    Select the drive you want to set and click Configure
   5.    After you make the required settings click OK

Required settings:

Restore system settings and previous versions of files

This is the default setting for the system drive or volume. Do not change this default setting, since restore points here hold system information and user files that are present in the user profile. Disk Space Usage depends on how much space is used for user files. If your files reside in this drive or volume then 20% to 40% should be ok. If the drive is set to hold just system files then 10% should be enough.

Only restore previous versions of files

You normally use this option on drives or volumes that contain user files only such as, a second disk drive for data storage. A value of 40% of Disk space usage would give you a large number of previous versions of your files.

Turn off system protection

This would be the setting for external backup drives or USB disks that hold backup file sets. The main problem with USB drives is that they are normally formatted using the FAT file system. Remember that System Protection works only with NTFS formatted drives!

Last but crucial point is that old previous versions of files that were overwritten due to a low Disk Space Usage setting will not become available by increasing the Disk Space Usage percentage! Then, you need to revert to a restore process from a backup set!

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