How do you reinstall an OS if manufacturer doesn't include a recovery disk?

I was looking at a new computer at Dell. it says “Operating systems DO NOT include a recovery disk”

So, if I buy your computer I can never do a format/clean install?

Am I missing something or is this how it works now? And if so, why??? If this is the case, they’ve lost a sale and I would imagine alot of sales.

They usually come with software pre-installed to burn your own recovery disks.

A lot of manufacturers now include a recovery partition on the hard drive. In the event of a failure of the primary partition, you can boot to the recovery partition and reinstall the image. In the event of a failure of the hard drive itself or the controller, you’re hosed. Moral: backup the entire hard drive (all partitions) the day you take it out of the box.

Does this allow me to reinstall just the OS w/o all the additional crap that usually comes pre-installed?

Second this. There’s usually a utility in Windows that will burn the recovery disks to CDs or DVDs that you provide yourself. And I highly recommend doing so. The recovery disks will usually bring the system back to the exact configuration it had when new.

I dont want the exact configuration as new.

And that includes the crapware.

No. It is usually a disk image of the factory installed OS and software.


Every Dell system I’ve bought comes with the OS disk, a separate disk containing the appropriate drivers for the other hardware and any special disks needed for the DVD burner or the video card. So if you want, you can wipe the system, install the OS and the drivers. It shouldn’t take longer than a couple of hours.

I always just buy a new set of the OS so that I never have that problem.

I always just use Linux and avoid the Windoze hassles altogether. :smiley:

Dell seems to have moved almost entirely to recovery partitions instead of OS disks, unfortunately.

I found this rather obscure section of the Dell website, where you can request physical recovery disks. I did this, and within a few days received the disks for my new laptop. Even better, there are two disks: one with the pure OS, sans any crapware, and the other with the crapware, so you can not install it if you choose.

New computers come with a valid windows license key. They’re usually printed on a sticker on the bottom a laptop or at least somewhere in the documentation. You can borrow the right install disk from a friend or employer (or any other way you might think to acquire such a thing…) and install using your own key. Ta-da, fresh completely legitimate windows install, sans crapware.

Except product keys from retail Windows won’t work on OEM Windows, and vice versa…

The retail/OEM distinction went away a while ago. I vaguely recall it was still valid for XP, never had to deal with Vista, and I know now that it doesn’t matter with 7. The only difference now is Microsoft’s sales and pricing strategy. You can absolutely use a retail Windows 7 disk to reinstall with your OEM license key.

Then keep your backups up-to-date.

Exactly. Once you get your system the way you want it (without the unwanted pre-installed crapware) create a backup image and put this away in a safe place. Restore from that backup when you want to start clean again.

if you got a dell. call them or email and tell them your hard drive is hosed and you cannot access the recovery partition to restore your system or make restore discs. they will ship out the operating system disc and driver disc.

It is rare but you can sometimes do this. My HP laptop has the option to install Windows and drivers only rather than the full ‘day 1 condition’. I wish all manufacturers would do this, it is a shame to see a new, powerful PC running like a dog because of all the bloatware.