System Recovery Disks

By | October 8, 2011
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Patty wants to know about system recovery disks
Hey, guys! I’ve got a stupid question. What is the difference between the recovery disk that came with my Windows XP computer and a Windows disk? If you could explain this to me I would be very happy. Thanks a lot. Keep up the good work. Patty

Our answer
Thanks, Patty. There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

The recovery disk that used to come with new PCs (they no longer do and we’ll get to that later) served one purpose: to restore your computer to the state it was in the day you brought it home. So if all you’re looking for is a way to get your computer back to the way it was when you first bought it, the recovery disk will do this. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s a no-brainer to use.

A Windows installation disk contains only the Windows operating system and nothing else. When you reinstall Windows using a Windows installation disk, all you’ll have on your computer when you’re done is Windows. Everything that was on your computer before – programs, files, documents, settings, etc. will be gone. But there are bigger problems with recovery disks than just wiping everything from your system.

Here’s the problem with wiping your computer:

Most of us actually use our computers everyday. That means we put stuff on it. Programs, files, photos, images, documents, etc. We customize our start menus to match the way we use our computers. We change our desktops the way we like them. We make all kinds of setting changes and take great pains to do all we can do to setup our computers exactly the way we like them. It can take months and months to get a computer setup the way we like.

Using a Recovery Disk will wipe out everything that has taken you months to do – all your files, all your images, all your documents, all your settings – everything. It will take your computer back in time to the day you first plugged it in. So essentially you’re wiping your computer exactly as you would if you used a Windows installation disk. But wait! There are even worse things waiting for those who use a recovery disk.

Most new computers are filled with garbage and trial version software. This is the computer manufacturer’s attempt to make more money from you than they’ve already made from you. They want to start selling you more stuff in the after-market. Most of the programs computer manufacturers put on computers programs most of us would ever choose to install. So a lot of us like to remove all this junk as soon as we plug our new computer in for the first time. Sometimes it’s not easy – some of this software seems to have ways of resisting removal. Plus, there’s an awful lot of it. So if you use the System Recovery Disk that came with your computer —you guessed it – you will putting all this junk back on your computer – it will be exactly the way it was the day you first plugged in your new computer when it was brand new. This is something you wouldn’t have to deal with if you have a full Windows installation disk.

But now things have gotten even worse because most Windows 7 computers don’t even come with a recovery disk. You have the option to create a recovery disk (called a System Repair Disc in Windows 7) by following the instructions provided at . The only computer manufacturer we know of that still provides Windows installation disks with their new computers is Dell. Dell charges $10.00 extra for a Windows operating system DVD. If you buy a Dell computer you should pay the extra $10.00; it is well worth it. If have purchased a Windows 7 computer – make sure you have a system repair disk. If you don’t, right now is a good time to make one.

Remember though – the best way to protect your data is to create a mirror image backup. If you have one, you won’t need to worry about System Recovery disks or making a system repair disk because your can completely restore you computer to the state it was in – including the operating system, settings, files, documents, etc. – before you had major computer problems. To read one of our many articles on creating a hard drive clone – or mirror image backup see .

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