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Windows 7: When to Burn System Recovery Discs

04 Jul 2010   #1

Windows 7-64 Pro
When to Burn System Recovery Discs

When do you burn your System Recovering Discs (SRD)?
The manufacturers of PCs all seem to recommend you burn your own recovery media shortly after you perform the initial Win 7 chores, thus providing one more return path to heaven when catastrophe strikes, e.g. total loss of your primary drive and the hidden recovery partition (HRP), or some incredible error on the part of the sys-admin who one day flunks his IQ test and tries something bold and exciting. The preferred or required medium for these discs is either DVD-R or DVD+R type, something hard and physical and large enough not to get lost but also readable under most circumstances. Note that Win7 only lets you perform ONE SRD burn.

So far all is simple. Burn a DVD. Well, not so fast. Iím getting two HP systems, one laptop (LT) and one desktop (DT). The LT will have a Blu-Ray/ DVD reader but not a burner. The DT will have a full burner. Both systems will be on a LAN so on some versions of Win7-64 I will be able to burn the LT SRD on the DT burner. On some other versions of Win7 that may not be possible.

Now here is the tricky part. Since Iím getting in two new systems I opted to get the multi-system license for Office 2010. The multi-system license gives you three installs and is much more economical than buying several separate Office vendor installs. HP does not install that pre-ship so if I make the SRD immediately after Win7 install it will not reflect the later Office install. Notice that with the multi-system Office license each install eats one of the allowed installs hence you donít want to do a repeat during system recovery.

So it would seem that a possible strategy might be to postpone the SRD burn, which you only get one chance to do, until after the core applications are installed. The SRD burn is like old marriage; until system death do you not part. The above questions and strategy raises the more fundamental questions: What exactly is contained on the SRD and HRP the when the SRD is burned? Does the SRD contain and recover any changes made as a result of pre-burn installs and other system activity? Should you install all your critical and trusted applications that have limited licenses before you burn the SRD thus allowing an almost pain free restore from backups?

Iíve asked HP support those questions and the techís seem confused. Of course perhaps Iím confused or obscure so remain

Clueless in Oregon,

Note: Some context. In this configuration the intent is that the LT be an almost mirror of the DT, just on a smaller scale. When both systems are linked directly on the LAN, or via a VPN link, then resources will be shared. Else work can proceed on the either with all facilities possible. Both LT and DT will have Win7-64 Pro. Exactly how data synchronization will occur is still an open issue.

Note: Some retailers discourage buyers who ask about recovery media. They of course want to sell a plan where they do the recovery and will do so forever Ė promise, cross their heart and hope to die -- or until the U.S. Bankruptcy Court settles their affairs. HP on their Web sites strongly recommends you make the SRDs but also offers to provide them in the event of need with the caveat that they may not have the SRD for your model at some future date. Consider Ė your system dies Monday, you decide by Tuesday morning you have no choice but to recover from scratch. You order SRDís FedEx next-day and by Wednesday or Thursday they arrive. Gives you tons on time to talk to headhunters or apologize to the wife and kids while their home network is down. Hope that works for you. Open a new thread and let us know.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2010   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

It can be confusing.

There several different types of SRD.

1. You can run off a Win7 system recovery disc as many times as you like.

It does not contain your installed o/s or any of your programs. It is boot disc you use for repairs.

2. The HP SRD.

It is just a copy of what is on the recovery partition. It does not contain any of your settings or the programs you have installed. You can use that to restore the pc to the exact state you received it.

It is HP who only allow you to burn those once. Nothing to do with win 7.

3. Backup images.

Once you have installed your apps. got your updates and set up everything as you like, you can use software to make an exact image of your drive .

You can store that image anywhere you like - dvd's , network drive, most people use a usb connected external HD to store it on.

If you get into trouble, you can restore that image and be in exactly the state you were when you made the image.

You can make a new image every so often so that it is relatively up to date. Most apps. include a scheduler to do that for you.

Windows 7 includes it's own "system image backup " program , but I wouldn't recommend it.

There are several excellent 3rd party which are far better - they also do free versions:

Paragon Backup & Recovery 10 Free Edition

Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2010   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Hello Rob, welcome to the Seven Forums.

When doing s system recovery on HP computers (and most other computers, too) using a recovery partition or recovery disk set, it returns the computer to so called factory state. This means that only the operating system and included software, so called bloatware, is installed. Everything else, all applications and software user has installed, must always be reinstalled after a system recovery.

So, when you burn the disks has no meaning. The sooner the better, I recommend always to burn recovery disks before doing anything else. With todays backup and imaging systems, the only scenario I can think of when there's a reason to use system recovery disks is to return computer to the factory state before selling it.

What I recommend to you is the system I and most users I know are using. Following these steps you have no worries, no problems:
  1. Burn recovery disks as soon as possible. Be careful, the option on HP computers is available only once. "Seal & store", i.e. store these disks to a safe place.
  2. Make a system image of this factory state, store image on an external HD.
  3. Install Office and other applications, update Win7 using Windows Update.
  4. Make a second system image, store it, too, to an external HD
This way you have the disks to return the computer to a factory state, an image to do the same (think it as a reserve recovery set) and a full system recovery image. Worst case scenario is that one day your computer does not work, but you are prepared; you just have to use system image to restore it.

Here are tutorials to tell you how to create a system image, and how to restore your system using system image:
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
System Image Recovery

My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Jul 2010   #4

Windows 7-64 Pro

Wow. Am no longer Confused in Oregon! Thanks Kari and SIW2. Got it. Greatly simplifiesmy install task list. Now if I could just FedEx to move the systems out of Shanghai pronto I'd be a happy camper.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 When to Burn System Recovery Discs

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