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Windows 7: Recovery CD Questions

10 Aug 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Recovery CD Questions


I'm new to Windows 7, with my dad purchasing a new laptop about 4 weeks ago and myself planning to buy one this Friday.

I wanted to see if I can find out some answers I have about creating a Recovery CD, in order to Restore either my father's laptop or my soon to be laptop back to its original factory settings.

My last Laptop came with the disks, so I didn't need to create anything, whereas with these I do, if I do not purchase the disks from the manufacturer.

(1) Is a System Repair Disc able to do this (This is what I have made so fare for my father's computer)?

I used these methods:

What are the system recovery options in Windows 7?

Create a system repair disc

  • I realize this adds start-up repair options to the Disk, but the more I read and look, this doesn't look like it actually made a Recovery Disk, or Way to completely go back to Factory Settings (what it was like when we first turned on the laptop)
  • From what I have read, most people refer to multiple DVD disks...while this took only one regular I know something isn't right here
(2) I found this information about creating a System Image, I realize the Start Up Repair Disk and System Image are different, can someone go into a little detail about how these are different?

Here is where I learned about the System Image

What is a system image?

Back up your programs, system settings, and files

(3) Is the System Image what's needed to create the Recovery CD, to go back to original factory settings?

In case there is some confusion about what I mean by Recovery CD, the last time I used a Recovery CD on my past laptop (the CD came with the laptop), I just put the CD in the Disk Drive and then started the computer, it then proceeded to format the HDD and install Windows, the Drivers, and Software that came on the laptop in it's Original Factory Settings.

From what I understand, we now are required to make this Disk, unless we purchase it separately from the manufacturer.

This is My Father's Laptop: Sony - VAIO Laptop / Intel® Core™ i3 Processor / 15.5" Display / 4GB Memory / 640GB Hard Drive - Black - VPCEH14FM/B

This what I plan to get Friday: Sony - VAIO Laptop / Intel® Core™ i5 Processor / 13.3" Display / 4GB Memory / 500GB Hard Drive - Silver - VPCSC1AFM/S

Thank You for your Help, I appreciate it.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Hello StrangeShadow and welcome to Seven Forums.

Amongst all the paperwork that comes with a Vaio should be a quick-start guide. That guide outlines how to create a set of recovery disks (my Vaio took 3 DVDs.) Those recovery disks should be kept in a safe place and if you ever need to return your Vaio to factory specs (just like the day you brought it home) those disks will allow you to do so. The Vaio also has a hidden recovery partition on the hard drive that will let you do the exact same thing as the recovery disks providing your hard drive is still working.

The System Repair Disc will let you boot to to the system recovery options if you don't have a Windows installation disc, can't find your Windows installation disc, didn't make a set of recovery disks, or can't access the recovery options provided by your computer manufacturer on the hidden partition. It does NOT contain any operating systems.

System Repair Disc - Create

A system image is basically an exact duplicate of your hard drive at the moment you create the system image. All of your files, folders, personal settings, programs, etc are included in the image. If you need to restore your machine because of a crash, virus, etc you can use the latest system image and be back online in 30 minutes or less. The newer the image (the more often you make a system image) the less you have to update.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

Welcome to Windows Seven Forums.

Whenever you buy a new computer from a proprietary manufacturer you will either be provided with a recovery disk or the facility to burn your own recovery disks.

Whichever method is supplied, a system recovery with these will put your computer back to its out-of-box state i.e. how it was when you first received it.

Your new computer should also have a recovery partition, which can also be used to recover your computer to its factory state and this method is always quicker than restoring from a recovery disk.

The system repair disk you mention does not re-install Windows, but what it does do is get you into the Windows Recovery Environment from where you have several options, such as a system repair or using the command prompt window.

The repair disk is especially useful for troubleshooting when you don't have a Windows disk to boot into.

A system image is exactly what it says i.e. if you've installed Windows and all your applications, and then create a system image, a restore from that image will include everything that was installed at the time you created the image.

So, just to recap:

A recovery disk recovers your computer to its factory state.

A system image restore recovers your computer to the state it was in when the image was created.

A system repair disk is a tool you can use to boot into your computer and carry out various repair functions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 Aug 2011   #4

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86

OK. We're talking about 3 different types of disks here.

1) A system repair disk- This cannot reinstall windows or take the computer back to factory state, it only has a few small files that let you use the recovery options. Its a useful thing to have lying around.

2) A system image is a mirror image of your existing windows install. It includes everything on the windows partition (or the entire hard disk depending on what you imaged)- the OS, programs, user profiles, data, everything. such an image can be created with the win7 inbuilt Backup/Restore utility or 3rd party apps like Macrium and Acronis.

3) A Recovery disk contains an image of the OEM recovery partition thats preinstalled and preconfigured on the computer by the OEM. Using that partition directly (theres usually a key combo to be pressed at startup) or by booting from the recovery disks and running them, the computer can be taken back to factory state. Every OEM has a a recovery manager software installed which lets the user create a set of recovery disks (usually 2-3 single layer dvds).

Click on start button, click all programs, then look for something called recovery, run it and just follow the wizard.

Restoring to factory state may wipe out all user created settings and content but some OEMs also have custom recovery choices which may keep user data et. In any case its always advisable to back up user data to external media before running the restore.

Also these disks are model specific, Dad's wont run on yours and vice versa so make a set for each and store them safely somewhere.

Heres a general set of instructions.

How to Run the Sony Vaio Recovery Wizard |

But just go to the sony support website, look up the page for your model, you'll be able to find detailed, step by step instuctions. Also, the manual that came with the computer will have those instuctions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2011   #5

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1

Welcome the windows 7 forums.
Creating the system recovery disks is always a good idea so that you have a fail safe point in time to get back what it looked like when delivered.

My solution to the problem of image recovery is to use an imaging program, creating an image on an external USB hard disk in a directory with the name of the laptop.
This way the imaging program will allow you to create a recovery cd and give you a warm fuzzy. After installing all the software that I want on the machine, I then create an image which will allow me to restore to that configuration. Of course backups of created data is very important and should be done on a regular basis.
There are free imaging software but I use Acronis which is pretty cheap at around $25 per copy and works great.
I buy mine from friends of mine at the usergroup store. is their site and user group members get the latest cheaper than other places.
I know that there are free versions of imaging software but I kind of like the user interface for Acronis home imaging software.

I don't have any financial interest in acronis..

I have a few external usb drives where I have stored images of my clients laptops and desktops which saves them money and time to restore their systems if their systems goes to hell in a handbasket..
I also backup my own laptop on a weekly basis and also whenever I update my system.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2011   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


How to make Sony Recovery Disks:
View Document

How to use Sony Recovery:
View Document
How to use Sony Hardware Diagostics:
View Document
How to order Sony Recovery disks:
1.Go to
2.Enter your computer's model number (for example, PCV-XXXX), and click List Parts and accessories.
3.Follow the online instructions to order the Recovery Media Kit.
If you are not able to access the Sony Direct Accessories and Parts Center Web site, contact a customer service representative at 1-800-488-7669.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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