Using a system recovery disk

Tips & Hints

Why you should never use a recovery disk

27 February 2002

My computer is playing up and the support line says run the recovery disk. Should I?

NO! The only time you should run a recovery or restore disk is to restore your system to how it was when it came from the shop.

At the very least, the recovery disk will reinstall Windows and the supplied software. You will have to reinstall everything installed after you bought it. Many recovery disks will wipe your drive clean and you will lose all your data.

Unfortunately many computer support lines are too quick to recommend using the recovery disk. Wiping and reinstalling your system is the last resort, and should only be done when all else has failed. It certainly shouldn't be done just because your scanner or printer is misbehaving.

Recovery disks are a good idea in that you can quickly reinstall everything so that the computer is back to the condition it was when you bought it from the shop. Fortunately, most users should never have to use one.

If you do have to run a recovery disk, then make sure all your data is backed up and you have all your software and accessories disks handy. Allow a whole morning or afternoon to reinstall all your software and get your settings right.

Recovery disks should be kept safely locked away and only used as a last resort. Running a restore disk will cost you at least several hours of reinstalling and reconfiguring your system. At worst you will lose all your data.

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