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Reinstalling From Restore Partition

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help

Ron from IL writes: 

Why not just reinstall from the “D” drive for Vista or Win 7. The “D” drive has a copy of the system as it existed when it came from the factory – doesn’t it? 

I did not get any set up disks when I purchased my HP with Win 7 on it a year ago. I was told that the vendors now use the “D” in place of disks.

Hi, Ron.  I agree… why not?  It’s probably the easiest way to do it, and the vendors who told you that computer manufacturers are now using a partition, called a “restore partition” on your hard drive to restore now rather than optical discs are correct.  Probably the most important reason for this (from the manufacturer’s point of view) is that it costs less to use a restore partition than it does to manufacture optical discs.  The reason that it’s good for us as computer users is because we frequently lose our restore discs.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but the only way that I’ve really been able to keep track of them is when HP produced a PC that had a storage area for them on the computer case itself.

Here’s how you restore from a restore partition. Be sure to back your computer up before you do this.  Odds are that you’ll be able to do what’s called a “non-destructive” restore that will allow you to keep all of your files intact, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

You’ll want to check and make sure that your computer includes a restore partition.  All HPs and Dells manufactured within about the past five years or so include them, as do most other computers these days.  You do this by clicking START and then COMPUTER.  What you’re looking for is labeled “restore” or “recovery”.

Next, click START and then enter “recovery” into the search box.  Click on RECOVERY MANAGER.

When you run the recovery manager, you’ll see a screen that looks something like the following.  This is an HP screen, so if your machine is a different manufacturer, it may look different, but the options should be virtually identical.

If one of the original programs that came with your computer has become corrupt, you use SOFTWARE PROGRAM REINSTALLATION.  MICROSOFT SYSTEM RESTORE will close the recovery manager and launch Microsoft’s system restore program to fix broken Windows.  The final option here is REALLY the final option.  SYSTEM RECOVERY is for when your system has become hopelessly corrupt and you need to start from scratch.

COMPUTER CHECKUP will check your system for errors and problems.  If you’re not sure what’s wrong, this might be a good place to start.

RECOVERY MEDIA CREATION is for those who have a hard time leaving the 20th century and are just not comfortable unless they have a disc to lose.  All kidding aside, this is a way to create external restore media, which should then be secured somewhere climate and moisture controlled where you won’t lose or forget them, just in case something happens to your recovery partition.  In other words, total hard drive failure or destruction.  RECOVER REPORT is pretty self-explanatory.  I’m not entirely sure why the REMOVE RESTORE PARTITION option exists.  If you’re that hard up for hard drive space, it might be time to invest in a larger hard drive.

I hope that this helps!

~Randal Schaffer

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9 Responses to “Reinstalling From Restore Partition”

  1. kahmaro says:

    since my windows explorer has stopped working, I can’t try this.

  2. Arthur Strout says:

    Wonderful advise for all!

    I’m forwarding this newsletter on to a friend!

    Your weekly tips email has been a pleasure to read for years.

    Thanks so Much!

  3. Maurice Lampl says:

    I just bought new HP All-In-One Omni, equipped with Windows 7 Basic. This OS was in Spanish, so I reinstalled with Windows 7 Enterprise and did see that the RECOVERY drive was still there, but when I opened this drive, I noted that this RECOVERY file folder was EMPTY, yet the drive bar showed 15.5GB available!! How do I get into this partition if it is no longer accessible???

  4. almost says:

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for

  5. UK Pension says:

    Hi Ya
    Your piece Reinstalling From Restore Partition | Worldstart’s Tech Tips Newsletter is interesting as well as thought provoking, I will definitely return to read new blog posts..!

  6. Linda Gleisser says:

    That’s great as long as your hard drive is OK. Always, ALWAYS make your restore discs! In truth, I feel “safer” having a Windows disc – but that’s me.

  7. Karen says:

    And without the discs you cannot restore your OS when adding a new harddrive after the old one crashes out! I ordered the set after finding out that the back up I did off the machine when new would not restore and my computer would not boot up. Even the tech couldn’t make it work. So ordered the discs. Cost me $15. I would advise anyone to order the back up discs before it happens to you. You will need the model and serial # off you computer.

  8. Karen says:

    Thought they would get smarter when @ one time I was having a problem and the tech on the phone asked me how I liked the new way the instructions were now on my computer. Well, told him if I had them on paper I would not be talking to him as I could not get my computer to boot up!! His reaction was priceless:
    Huh… never thought of that!

  9. Frank Carreira says:

    What should also have been mentioned here is that you would be restoring the computer to its’ original factory built condition, and would have to reinstall all subsequently added software.


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