I got some questions about Windows System Restore.
Currently I'm working on an automated software testing system which consists of multiple test machines that I want to deploy our application to.
After testing I want to be able to fully recover the state of the individual machine that it had after Windows installation and initial configuration.
In the past I tested our software using Hyper-V where I just deleted the individual VM and deployed a fresh one.
Now I have to have the ability to use certain hardware that I cannot pass to the VMs in HyperV, so I have to use the "real" system.

What I would like to do is the following: - Install/Configure Windows on the test machine - Save the machine's state - Install our application to test - Run testing - Reset machine to state of step 2

Is this possible using System Restore or might there be any files/settings left on the system that where not there when I saved the initial state?
If System Restore would not be suited for my use-case, is there any viable other option I got left apart from reinstalling Windows (which is no real option for me as it would take quite some time)?


The feasibility of using system restore is dependent on the software/systems you are testing. System restore may work, given the time taken for other options it'd be worth a test?

If what you are doing is simply a software install then system restore would probably work, as an alternative and something thats a little less opaque that might work is something like Revo Uninstaller, this will track all the items written to the system during the installation and will remove everything it detected during the installation.

As a 'more involved but still less painful than a fresh install' method, look at using Microsoft's ImageX tool (part of hte Deployment Toolkit). Have that on a bootable drive and use it to capture a WIM of the C: volume on a fresh install. Once the first test is complete boot to the bootable drive and use ImageX to recover the image to the C volume and boot back into a fresh windows. Last time I used it I was deploying a 10GB compressed image of windows

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