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MCTS 70-680: Windows 7 Last Known Good Configuration and Driver Roll Back

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Published on Mar 23, 2012

MCTS 70-680: Windows 7 Last known Good Configuration and Driver Roll Back
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When Windows 7 boots up and a user successfully logs in, the current configuration is saved to a backup area in the registry. If the computer fails to boot later on, this backup copy of the configuration can be used to boot the computer. Windows 7 also comes with a device driver roll back feature which allows you to return to the previous device driver if something goes wrong.

Last Known Good Configuration
The configuration for Windows is stored in the registry under HKLM\System. This contains information about device drivers, services and control panel items. It does not contain all the information about the Windows 7 install, but does contain a lot of settings that are critical to booting Windows. Under this folder there is a folder called CurrentControlSet and under this folder there are folders called ControlSet001, ControlSet002 and ControlSet003. These correspond to Current, Default, Failed and Last Known Good. The CurrentControlSet simply redirects the registry to ControlSet001, ControlSet002 or ControlSet003, depending on which one is in use.

To access the last known good configuration, after the bios screen and before the computer starts to boot, press the F8 key to display the boot menu. From the boot menu select the option Last Known Good Configuration. This will redirect the boot to CurrentControlSet, the last working copy or good configuration. The working configuration was copied to this location when the computer last booted successfully and a user logged in.

Device driver roll back
In the properties of any device driver there is an option, "roll back device driver." This will remove the current device driver and restore the previous device driver. In most cases a newer device driver should be more reliable than an older device driver, but if the newer device driver causes problems, you can roll it back using this feature.

Causing a blue screen of death (BSOD)
To enable manually blue screens, add a dword for the following. For a USB keyboard, add the first key; for a PS/2 keyboard, add the second key.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\kbdhid\Parameters\CrashonCtrlScroll
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\i8042prt\Parameters\CrashonCtrlScroll

Once you have rebooted the computer, to cause a blue screen hold ctrl and press scroll lock twice.

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References
Last Known Good Configuration
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/100010
BSOD
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/244139

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