Windows 7/restoring computer


Hey Mike , I would like to gain back some of the space on my laptop . It is a Dell Inspiron running Windows 7 and is a 64bit system. I have done a backup to a WD My Passport 2TB external hard drive and ( I think ) am ready to restore my laptop to a point in time where I am not using so much of the capacity of the internal hard drive.I have never done this before ( Might be obvious ) and am having huge reservations about hitting the button . My conundrum is twofold : 1st . Some of my programs that will not be there after restoring I do not have install disks for as they were purchased online. Is there any way of knowing for sure that these will be recoverable from My Passport afterwards. I run a Protools LE recording program and some of these programs are used within that host. Protools I have a install disk for but many of the RST's I don't. To the best of my knowledge unless I repurchase these if I lose them I am SOL. 2nd. How do I find these programs in the backup directory of My Passport as all files are simply numbered now and after doing a little searching just to make sure some were actually on My Passport it seems like some will be very difficult to ressurect and reload onto my laptop. As you may be able to tell I am no geek so please dumb down your answer...thanks

Hello Brian

I think you are unclear as to how the 'system restore' feature works on windows machines. It is not like the 'time machine' feature of a mac whereas you choose a time from your history and go back to it where you will find everything just the way it was back then.  With windows this is more for the windows 'registry' only and not the actual programs. In fact it doesn't do anything to the data on the hard drive. Therefore if you have created a backup to your external hard drive then the best method to clean up data is to use a program like CCLEANER which you will find through my website at and visiting the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page.  In fact I suggest reading the TIPS page on OPTIMIZING your computer and then download all the items from the PINK section on the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page to help with the cleaning, removal and maintenance.   Most people find themselves in trouble when they are attempting to 'make space' on their drive and start uninstalling things that they shouldn't be and that is why using the add/remove programs or in the case of CCLEANER, the uninstall tool to perform this safely. If you know you don't have the software disk to reinstall but you did purchase it from a company on the web, then you may want to check their website as you can typically re-download so long as you have the product key or registration key they would have emailed you once you purchased it. Otherwise I would suggest you don't uninstall that particular program.

If you are seriously running that low on hard drive space then instead of going through this trouble of making room I might suggest simply buying a new hard drive. Get one that is double the size of your current one and then utilize disk cloning software to clone your drive exactly as it is now, BEFORE you start getting in to hot water.  I use Paragon's Hard Drive Manager as it works very well, but this is not free. There are a few options which I am including in the following link that may help you decide "the best disk cloning" software for you:

The other key to utilizing software like Paragon's Hard Drive Manager is the ability to re-partition and format the drive.. and this is key when dealing with the crappy drive copy software that comes with the USB external drives. As you are now faced with some proprietary filing system, by allowing the HDD manager to simply reformat the drive, you will then have a completely clean external drive that you can create an 'image backup' of your existing hard drive...

If you are serious about backing things up on to an external drive then you should be serious about the software you use.

A good one-two punch is to not only back up to external drive but also utilize off-site backup services like Backblaze which for $50 per year, it will back up unlimited amounts of data so if you have a 1 TB hard drive then no problem.. plus the added benefits of an offsite backup will provide you with the security of knowing no matter what happens to your computer (fire, flood, theft or hard drive crash) your data is safe. And, since this is always backing up (so long as you are connected to the internet) there is no need to schedule backups.  Use my client code for backblaze if you are interested in this here:

As I like to use the analogy that at $50/year, that works out to less than 1 Large Starbucks coffee per month.. and I am sure your data is worth that much!

Hope this helps,


Mike Dacre
follow me on twitter @tpsconsulting

Windows 7

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Mike Dacre


As I have been volunteering in the 'windows' category since the inception of AllExperts, which has now moved to numerous windows categories. I will therefore be happy to answer any Windows 7,8 and 10 based question. What can't I answer? Not much, as this is the main reason I volunteered here, because I am hopeful the questions I can not answer will allow me to investigate the problem so that I can answer it. The TIPS and SOFTWARE support through my website at can also be of some help.


I have owned my own computer consulting business for the past 17 years and since the very beginning I have volunteered with AllExperts in the hopes I would be able to learn from others mistakes and problems. The goal for me is to be able to research any problem I don't initially have the answer to, in the hopes I will be able to further benefit for my own clients when they come across a similar problem.

More information can be found at my website


I grew up with computers, from the first Apple IIC, back when Bill Gates was a student himself! For the past 17 years I have been providing technical services from building computers to constructing complete control rooms. Working with CTV I have helped produce the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Later, designing and construction of "instant replay control rooms' for the Big Screens found in Stadiums and Coliseums.

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