System Recovery Disks

By Mediokrates
Jun 15, 2009
  1. hi all,
    i have an hp pavilion m7580n, media center, running xp sp3. i purchased this a few years ago from bestbuy.
    at the time, i was provided with 3 system recovery disks, but not an actual copy of windows xp.
    i've had a few problems with the computer since, and have considered restoring the computer to factory settings and starting over. i have removed all my personal files already. I have access to all the program disks that i have since installed.

    however, i have no idea how to go about this, if I should choose to.
    are these the disks i would need to restore my computer to its original state, and if so, what would it involve, what are the risks.
    just curious
  2. ender

    ender TS Rookie Posts: 94

    To reinstall the OS you will need the 'restore CDs' that came with the computer. Booting from them will reinstall Windows and all the drivers and hopefully you will have a working computer that has been reverted to the state it had when you originally bought it. That means the following:

    - Your "My Documents" folder and any other personal files you may have on the computer will be permanently deleted in the process. Make sure you have a backup of any file that you wish to keep.

    - All of the programs you installed will be deleted so you will need to install them again either by downloading installation kits from the internet or by using the provided CDs. Depending on what is included on the restore CDs, you may need to install things that you may not have considered such as the flash player that enables you to view YouTube, the Java runtime, an application that handles archives (files with the extension .zip, .rar, etc.), a pdf reader and many others.

    - All of the Windows updates you have downloaded and installed over the years will be gone. You will need to spend quite some time downloading and installing updates from Microsoft Update. Depending on your connection speed and what information is contained on the restore CDs, the entire update process may take anywhere between an hour and half a day and several reboots are likely to be required.

    - All of your preferences and settings will be gone. This includes bookmarks from your web browser, windows themes, wallpaper, sounds, etc. Again, make sure you backup anything that is important to you.

    Many things can go wrong during this process but if you prepare for them before attempting the reinstall they should be nothing more than mere nuisances. In fact the single worst thing that can happen is that the restore CDs do not have all the drivers for your laptop. The way to prevent this from causing issues is to go to HPs driver download site and download the most updated XP driver for your laptop. It is especially important to make sure you download drivers for your wireless and LAN and make sure to test them before embarking on the restore journey. If your internet is working, google and techspot's forums will probably provide enough information to fix any other issues you might encounter.

    P.S. Whenever I say backup in the above post I do not mean copying the files to some random folder on your laptop but copying them to an external hard drive or burning them to CD/DVD. The same goes for the drivers you download. You need to have them on a CD/DVD or USB drive that is easily accessible during the restore process.
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