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Creating and Using Recovery Disks in Windows 7

windows7_logoComputer manufactures used to provide a set of CD’s or DVD’s when you bought a computer. These disks contained an image of the computer as it was when it left the manufacture, and other software and drivers specific to your computer.  About 5 years ago, Computer manufactures decided to save money by not to provide recovery and installation CD’s with their new computers. Instead, they provided images that end-users can burn to DVD’s and create their own recovery and installation disks.

While this saves money for the manufactures, it creates a problem for many end-users,  who for what-ever reason, did not know how to create the recovery disks, or just never got around to creating them. Of course, by the time you need the recovery disks, if you don’t already have them created and on hand, you are in trouble.  And your options just got a lot more complicated and expensive.

I cannot stress enough how important it is that you take the time to create a set of recovery disks for your computer  BEFORE you get into trouble. It’s not a complicated process and typically takes around 45 minutes to do. And you can sleep well knowing that if your computer suffers a catastrophe, you have it covered!  So please take a few minutes to review this guide and then create your recovery disks! I promise you, you will be glad you did.

Creating Recovery Disks:

To create the Recovery disks, you need the computer with Windows 7 installed and running. You also need a DVD burner and about ten DVD’s and a safe method for storing them.

Manufactures like Sony, Dell, Gateway, and HP can put their recovery disks setup programs in different locations. So you are going to have to look around and do a little bit of detective work. Most likely, the utility will be in Start -> Programs, or in the Control Panel. With a brand new computer or a reinstalled computer, their may be a shortcut on the desktop.

Once you locate the recovery disks setup program on your computer, launch it. You will typically be presented with options to create factory default disks, which will be used to restore your computer back to the original factory settings,  or create an application or drivers disk.

It typically take  around 45 minutes to create a set of recovery DVD’s for your computer. So, if you are creating recovery disks for a laptop or mobile device, make sure they are plugged into AC power, or all your hard work could be for not.

Once your Recovery Disks are created, label and secure them properly in CD envelopes or jewel cases and store them in a safe cool place. Hopefully, you won’t need them, but if you do need them, you will be very grateful you took the time to create them!

Using Recovery Disks to Restore your Computer

If for some reason, your computer reaches a point where it no longer functions properly; maybe it won’t boot, or it crashes all the time, or it is so full of junk it barely runs, you can use your computer recovery disks to repair or restore your computer.  But if you have your restore disks handy, you can easily get your computer back up and running just like it did when it was brand new.

Each manufacture may have a different process and different tools for restoring a computer. For example, most will provide a way to restore the computer back to factory defaults, while other’s may also provide tools for attempting to repair or restore just the operating system so you don’t lose any personal files.  It is important to note that if you do select an option to restore your computer back to its default factory state, any programs or data that you have stored on your computer will be gone and will not be recoverable.  You can see why it is also very important to have good backups of your data.

The computer recovery disks that you made when you got your computer (Hopefully you made a set of recovery disks!) are typically bootable. So you may be able to put the first recovery disk in the drive and boot your computer to it. You may have to adjust your BIOS settings to boot the CD/DVD or Optical Drive first.

  1. Put the restore disk #1 in the appropriate drive.
  2. Either reboot your computer to the recovery disk or open Windows Explorer and browse to the recovery disk and select the autorun file.
  3. The recovery disk will prompt you and provide options depending on your choices.  Once you have started the restore process, you cannot stop. You must let the process finish.
  4. When the restoration is complete, your computer should be bootable and your Windows 7 computer should look and operate just as it did when it was brand new.

If for some reason, restoring your computer fails, I strongly suggest stopping everything and having a professional computer repair technician take a look at your computer.

I hope this post was useful for you.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding this process, please feel free to contact me. I won’t sell your information or try to spam you, but I will try to help you or at least get you going in the right direction.

Thanks for reading, and Peace!

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