What Is a Checkpoint Restart?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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A checkpoint restart is a strategy that is used to overcome issues that have led to a failure of a computer system. Essentially, this type of restart helps to restore the ailing system by identifying a specific point in the memory of the system, known as a checkpoint. That point is then designated as the recovery point that can be used to activate a system restore and make the system functional again. The programming that drives this checkpoint restart sequence then resets the system to that checkpoint, effectively bypassing whatever caused the system to fail.

Use of a checkpoint restart is sometimes the only way to deal with some sort of failure that has rendered a system inoperable. This is especially true when key files have been corrupted and are no longer capable of functioning properly. Since the checkpoint restart essentially turns back time to a point in which the system was functioning as it should, it is possible to quickly and easily remove any transactions that may have led to that corruption and get the system up and running once more.


While the specifics of implementing a checkpoint restart will vary slightly based on the type of operating system in use, most will require the manual identification of a desirable recovery point to use for the restart. Most systems will allow this type of system restore to use a variety of dates as the recovery point, all the way back to the first date of activity noted in the system’s register. Once the date is selected, the system will then begin the process of restoring to the designated point, providing notification when the process is successfully completed. Most systems will also provide notification if recovery to that particular checkpoint is not successful, allowing the user to try a different date.

Before initiating a checkpoint restart, it is important to note that since the process helps to remove any transactions that occurred after the designated recovery point, there is the potential to lose data. Depending on the configuration of the system restore process, this may even mean having to reinstall software that has been loaded onto the hard drive at some point after that recovery point. For this reason, it is recommended to make note of any data or programs that may need to be reloaded once the restore is complete and checks are conducted to make sure the system is functioning correctly once more.


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