Can I go back to a previous date in time?

I've done an Archive and Install thinking it would save my old settings and documents etc but instead it did a new clean install so I've lost all my Bookmarks, all my documents - my entire 3 years of records that I built up.
I thought there was a program where you could take your computer back to a previous date in time and restore it to how it was at that time.
I've been told that I can't retrieve stuff from the previous system that is sitting on my Hard Drive but can I go back in time somehow to get my old stuff back?

Well, basically, an Archive and Install puts on a new OS and wipes the former installation, BUT there should be a folder on your desktop that refers to the OLD OS X. Some of the information you want may be in there (for example in Library folders), but it may not be that easy to retrieve and use again.
That "program" that takes you back is called Time Machine and it part of Leopard, but you have to set it up and use it to be able to take advantage of it: either individual files, folders or applications can be retrieved quite easily if set up with an external disk.
So, if I understand your current predicament right, you will not be able to go back (unless you were using Time Machine) and all you can do is to retrieve certain settings files if they are still available; but this in itself may be a risky task.

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