If your Windows installation becomes so badly damaged/corrupted that you need to put it back to the way it was when you bought it, do you know how to reinstall Windows if you need to?
Many budget laptops come with a system recovery partition, which you can boot into and restore your laptop back to factory settings if need be. Very few manufacturers now provide reinstallation media, so what happens if the hard drive has failed, or the recovery sector (with all the system files) has been deleted/damaged?
As Dell say in their UK support area:
Q. Will my system include a restore disc (re-installation disc)? A. Your Dell system comes with Dell Backup and Recovery Manager – a complimentary software tool that helps you create your own software recovery disks to restore your computer and data in the event of a failure.
And you can’t just re-install any old copy of Windows on a machine, as the product key provided to manufacturers is locked into that particular company and is known as an OEM license, rather than a retail license you get from a store or as a download from Microsoft. The OS would install, but the product key would not be accepted, meaning that after 30 days your Windows installation would be classed as counterfeit.
In this situation, in order to reinstall Windows you would have to get a system recovery disc from the manufacturer, which you might have to pay for, usually for between £15-30.
However, as all the tools are provided on your system that will allow you to make a recovery disc for yourself and for free, it’s certainly worth doing, just in case the hard drive becomes unreadable and you need to reinstall to a new drive.
You will need to find the recovery program on your laptop – for example, Sony VAIO’s come with VAIO Care. This will give you step by step instructions on how to create a system recovery disc for your laptop. Dell laptops include DataSafe Local or Dell Backup and Recovery, HP use Recovery Manager and so on. Do this and not only will you have your hard drive recovery sector, but a disc to fall back on should you need it.
As mentioned previously, every major PC maker will supply backup discs if you need them, although they can be incredibly hard to get hold of and obviously they will not hold limitless supplies for every machine forever, so it may be that you won’t be able to find one for older laptops if you need it!
So, if your recovery sector is beyond use and you haven’t made your own discs, you will need to obtain one from the manufacturer. Unfortunately, this process is not made particularly easy if you live outside the United States! We have recently had to find a Dell system recovery disc and were sent round the houses by Dell! With HP, if you live in the USA or Canada, you just complete an online form and your disc is sent out to you. Not so anywhere else in the world!
We recently had to obtain a DELL system recovery disc, so we contacted tech support, who told us to contact sales, who told us to contact tech support!!!! We then spent an hour with “online chat” explaining WHY we wanted the disc, before we were told we could have one. They even wanted to know when and where we bought the system, which as a repair company we didn’t know!
As it can be difficult to find out how to get the replacement media, hopefully this will help!
A few tips before you try to order recovery media.
You should have to hand your serial number, service tag, or some other identifier for the system.
Your replacement media will be for the version of Windows that came with your PC/laptop, so if you bought a laptop originally with Windows Vista and upgraded it, your recovery media will only be for the original Vista install.
Some companies will require payment of a fee to cover the disc and/or postage.
Most companies limit the number of replacement discs you can order.
Acer – Call Acer Technical Support on 0871 760 1000. You will need your Serial number and details such as where and when you bought the machine. If your machine is under warranty, you will get the discs for free, but you have to wait for up to 14 days for them to arrive! However, in reality, the discs came in 5 days.
If your system is out of warranty, it may be easier to contact the UK supplier direct – Infoteam International Services Ltd, Tel: 0870 853 1110 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. However, the price of the disc is £51.06.
(eMachines, Packard Bell and Gateway discs are also available from the same company)
IDEA-branded and B, C, E, G, H, K, N, Q, V, Y Series Products – 0844-249-1112
Samsung – State they don’t send recovery discs to customers any more and even claimed that no other companies do either!! If the device is within its warranty, they will collect the laptop from you and restore the image file to the hard drive. What you are supposed to do if the warranty period has expired is anyone’s guess! Hence the importance of making your own discs!!!
Toshiba – Copies of Recovery CD/DVDs can only be obtained from Toshiba Sales and Marketing, by calling 0844 847 8944 and selecting Option 3 or alternatively the media can be ordered on line by accessing Toshiba’s site here.