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.
With the program installed, we are ready to begin.
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.
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.
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.
The next step will let you choose the location to save the snapshot.
Before starting the process, you will see a window with a list of all the tasks. Click “Start” to begin.
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.
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“.
The wizard continues by asking you which components you want to restore.
Then you’ll see the list of tasks. Click “Start” to begin the restoration process.
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.