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Reinstalling From Restore Partition

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