Take & Restore Quick Snapshots Of Your System State With SmartClose [Windows]

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take system snapshotSometimes I wish life has a rewind button that will let us go back to the past and undo all the damage that we’ve done – to restore everything to the ‘previous working state’.  Events in our life might be irreversible, but things are different in the computer world. You can restore your system to any previous state you want, as long as you have the necessary backups.

Windows users have “System Restore” that they can count on. But that feature isn’t the quickest way to do it. Meet SmartClose, a really tiny application that will help you to quickly take and restore snapshots of your system state.

Take This Tiny Tool

Other than long-term safety precautions, taking system snapshots is also advisable prior to software installations, especially for those who install and uninstall lots of software regularly. With a snapshot ready, one can cleanly erase the presence of a newly installed software. This method is better than traditional uninstallers which always litter the system with unwanted leftovers.

Looking at various system maintenance applications with DVD-size files, I never thought that SmartClose would measure less than 700KB. It’s small enough that you could put it in your Dropbox folder and install it on your other computers. The interface is also simple; just one small window with five menus. So everything is accessible from here.

take system snapshot

With the program installed, we are ready to begin.

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Snap Some System Shots

The first time you use the app, you will be guided by a wizard. Check the “Don’t show this introduction page again” box to skip it the next time you take other shots.

restore system snapshot

The first step of the wizard is to choose tasks to be performed before taking the snapshot. In general, these tasks are mainly about stopping every unnecessary computer activity before taking the system snapshot.

restore system snapshot

The wizard will also let you add applications to the “Protected Programs” list. The list contains critical applications that will not be closed due to their importance to the system.

restore system snapshot

The next step will let you choose the location to save the snapshot.

system snapshot tool

Before starting the process, you will see a window with a list of all the tasks. Click “Start” to begin.

system snapshot tool

Restore From A Recorded Shot

To restore your system using one of the snapshots, choose the second menu under “Create a system snapshot …“. You will have a similar wizard guiding you, but the steps go the opposite way from the first one.

The wizard starts by letting you choose which system snapshot you want to restore from. The default choice is the last saved snapshot.

system snapshot tool

Then it will relaunch all the closed applications. If there are some applications you’ve opened before running the restore wizard, click the “Uncheck Running Programs” button before clicking “Next“.

03c Launch Programs

The wizard continues by asking you which components you want to restore.

03d Sys Snap Options

Then you’ll see the list of tasks. Click “Start” to begin the restoration process.

take system snapshot

To see how SmartClose performed, I took a snapshot of my system, installed several new applications, then restored my system using the latest snapshot. I found no trace of the applications I had just installed. So we can conclude that SmartClose would be a great companion for people who love to try out new applications.

Do you think SmartClose would be useful for you? Do you prefer to use Windows’ System Restore instead? Or do you use another better alternative? Please share your thoughts using the comments below.

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5 Comments - Write a Comment

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Greg

I have not yet tried it, but from reading what SmartClose claims to do it is quite different than System Restore! SmartClose is intended to close and restore running processes, while a System Restore backs up registry keys and other parts of the file system to be able to back out changes (drivers, installed programs, etc). While it sounds quite useful I would definitely not consider SmarClose an alternative to System Restore.

Anonymous

Hi, sorry for not replying sooner.

SmartClose might not be a total replacement for System Restore. But it mimics System Restore in the installing-uninstalling department. It will help you take a snapshot of your system before you install an application that you want to try, and help you go back to the previous state of your system if you want to completely trash that application.

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Bruce

Looks intriguing.
But like Greg above, I am not sure what this really saves – it does not look exactly like a System Restore replacement.
I use ERUNT (Emergency Recovery Utility NT) on my Windows XP Pro machine rather than the standard System restore. It has worked well for me in one recent non-booting case I needed to restore to an earlier user and machine registry state.
(one reason I do not use Win System restore, is it has a habit of grabbing my external data drives and variously, irregularly, setting them to System restore On.)

Anonymous

Thanks for the input. I’ll try ERUNT.

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Backupsoft

Thanks very informative!

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