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Windows 7: Recovery Disks or Recovery Partition

09 Sep 2010   #1

Windows 7
Recovery Disks or Recovery Partition

Hi everybody!
I have HP Desktop with Windows 7 Home Premium.

When I was using Vista there was a difference between using recovery partition on the hard drive to restore Windows and Recovery disks that you create yourself.

The Recovery Partition one would only restore your computer to it's shipping condition - meaning that if I had partitioned the drive and had Windows partition separately from my other files it will erase all of it and get rid of that new partition of mine along with all my files.

If I used the disks - it will give me an option of shipping condition OR just to reinstall Windows partition of my drive so all other files are not erased.

In Windows 7 the created disks give me only one choice - Factory System Reset. Does it mean that it will erase it ALL or just the Windows partition?

I really don't want to back up 300GB of my data... just need the Windows partition erased and reinstalled. Will Recovery Disks do that or is there any other option for doing it with Windows 7?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Sep 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP


I would not run the Recovery Disks without backing up data. It doesn't sound like they will let you choose where to install Windows 7.

You can always borrow or locate a clean retail copy of your version Windows 7 to clean install with Product Key on your COA sticker on machine. Many tech enthusiasts do this to avoid the bloatware and useless factory utilities. Let us know if you want more information on this.

You can also make your own Windows 7 Backup image saved externally so you never have to reinstall or recover again, just reimage from the saved file. Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Sep 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

If the data is that important to you, it should be backed up regardless....especially before performing any major operations.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Sep 2010   #4

Windows 7

I understand that backing up data is a must.
But all I wanted to know was - IS IT POSSIBLE TO RECOVER JUST SYSTEM PARTITION OF MY DRIVE LIKE IT WAS POSSIBLE IN VISTA? (considering that I partitioned it myself)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Sep 2010   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

Yelling at the people trying to help you isn't going to work out too well. If you do plan to recover just the system partition, you will still lose any data stored on there, and any apps that are installed, that aren't included, will need to be reinstalled as well. That's what happens when you overwrite a partition, going by your choice of words.

If you are actually referring to an in-place installation, that just lays down a new install of Windows overtop of what's already there, then your data would be preserved. That's why gregrocker gave the explanation of ditching their restore methods, and creating a clean image.

Neither way is the best way to proceed, regardless of what answer you want to hear. The factory system reset is what most,if not all OEMs use as their restore method. It means your data, apps, settings, config, etc are all lost.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Sep 2010   #6

Windows 7

1. I WAS NOT YELLING AT ANYBODY. I was emphasizing my question to make it clear. If capitalizing is taken as yelling in computer world - I certainly didn't know about it.

2. I DO KNOW that restoring Windows partition is going to erase everything on it including applications and my files etc. and it needs to be reinstalled.

But I wasn't asking about it. That's why I emphasized - because it didn't seem I made myself clear.

I don't care if I loose files on Windows partition, I never keep anything too important there other then the OS . I do care however about my other partition being formatted and erased in the process.

I reinstall Windows quite often (about once every 5-6 months) for different unrelated reasons so if I need ot back up my whole computer to do it it seems like a waist of time that's why I was happily using Vista's option of restoring just the System partition. I would love to be able to know how to do that under Windows 7. I wasn't trying to offend anybody neither I needed a lecture. Just the answer if there is one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Sep 2010   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

Typing in all caps is pretty much internationally considered as yelling in electronic communications. So much so, that is was written into my company's employee handbook, under employee ettiquite in 2007. At first I didn't think you were being serious when you said you didn't know about it...I thought you were joking. Apparently not. Yikes.

If you are absolutely concerned about not losing data on a second partition (discussions about back ups aside), then I would follow gregrocker's advice and get a plain, standard Windows 7 disc, so you have full control over the reinstall. Without going through one of your current restoration procedures, we can't be sure how it handles other partitions....but given that it uses the term factory reset, I would assume it would wipe the entire disk.

The only other option would be to use a driving imaging program, either the built-in one or something like Macrium Reflect, and capture an image of your system volume. Then, you could restore that at will, and leave your existing data partition untouched.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Recovery Disks or Recovery Partition

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