JCL Blog

A Tale of Two Restores

About a week ago I had been playing with the passcode lock settings on my iPad -- and the thing stopped putting itself to sleep.  So if I left it overnight it would be 100% dead in the AM.  I worked to change the setting back, searched online, but could not figure out what to do about it.  

So I clicked restore and just like that, Apple rebuilt my iPad in about half an hour.  Asside from a few minor issues where I had to download apps over again -- it worked like a charm.  My email set up was undisturbed, my paid apps were all there.  

About every quarter or so I completely rebuild my Windows 7 machine.  I have set the machine up to make this as easy as possible -- with two partitions on the SSD drive, one for my data and one for the OS.  This way I can re-format the OS partition, reinstall Windows 7 and all of my programs (I keep an external hard drive with a folder I call program installers just for this purpose).  Each time I get 10 GB of disk space back -- and on a 36GB SSD that is a big deal.  Each time the machine runs like a dream afterwards.  The only problem is it takes me about 10 days to really get back to a place where everything I need is installed on the computer.  Not 10 days of non stop work, but 15 minutes here and there when I find a program that I need for the first time and have to find its installer, install it, update it...  I am sure you have been there too.

Luckily I have an older Vista machine that I can work on while the restore is going on.  Also luckily, more and more of my work is being done using online services like Socialtext, Evernote, Squarespace, LinkedIn, and Twitter -- so it doesn't matter all that much that my Windows 7 machine is sidelined for a while.

I suppose it should come as no surprise that each time I go through this, I have a reason to migrate more of my work to the cloud.  

I wonder if anyone at Microsoft is working on this problem.  I would love to have a restore button that works like the restore button on my iPad.

Wait!  Before you post a comment saying that Microsoft already has restore points built into Windows 7, here are a few questions:

  • Has going back to a restore point ever actually worked for you?
  • Did it give you back space on your hard drive?
  • Did it accurately create restore points per its design (before each install or dll change)?

Unfortunately, like the comical troubleshoot window that offers to help fix problems but never can, Microsoft has over promised and under delivered in this area.

I will wait eagerly for someone to close the gap between these two restore experiences.