3.5. Recovery and Rescue Methods

So far in this chapter, you have seen many different tools that you can use to repair your computer when it is in a nonbooting state. This has included boot disks; Microsoft tools, such as Recovery Console; and the Windows backup utility. This section looks at manufacturer recovery tools, third-party tools, and special Windows installations.

3.5.1. Recovery CDs and recovery partitions

Many large computer companies, such as HP and IBM, provide a quick way to restore your computer to its default factory installation. In the past, this was done by using recovery CDs. When you unboxed your computer, you would get a set of bootable CDs that held some type of image of your computer. If your computer became unusable because of a virus, hard drive failure, or other issue, you could quickly boot from the CDs and restore your computer to its factory state. One problem with this scenario is that it usually meant that you also lost all of your data if it was not otherwise backed up.

Over the years, with vendors prepackaging applications with their computers, the size of that factory image has gotten larger and larger, so that now it would take multiple CDs, or even multiple DVDs, to store all that data. This change in the preparation of the computers has caused some vendors to use a recovery partition instead. This hidden partition contains the tools needed to restore the image to the rest of the hard drive. If you use partitioning tools and delete the partition, ...

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