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This page last modified: Mar 19 2007
description:Acer, Toshiba, and Dell options for operating system recovery.
title:MS Windows recovery options

One of my friends has an Acer laptop with Window XP (purchased July
2006). Acer does not provide a Windows re-installation disk. However,
Acer includes a utility that is run on first boot up (the first time
the customer starts the computer) that requests that the customer
insert several CDs (one at a time, of course) and the Acer utility
makes a "ghost" copy of the installed software. This can be used to
restore the hard disk (or I assume a new hard disk of identical size)
to the original state. While not an idea solution, this is easy, it
will work well for many re-installation needs, and I'm sure that Acer
will argue that this solution helps keep the costs down.

Another friend has a Toshiba laptop (purchased March 2007). Toshiba
includes a recovery disk which says "applications and drivers". I
called Toshiba support 800-457-7777 and asked about recovery. If the
hard drive is replaced by a hard drive of the identical size, the
recovery disk will re-install Windows (in this case Windows
Vista). However, if the mother board (main board) is replaced, or if
the new hard drive is a different size, then the computer must be
taken (shipped?) to a Toshiba service center. The technicians will do
something to the computer that allows the recovery disk to re-install

Dell offers a Windows installation disk as an added-cost option. This
seems to be a real, full, complete copy of Microsoft Windows. From
memory the cost is $15 (or is that $25?). If the Dell offer is for a
real copy of Windows, this would be my preferred solution to the
recovery/re-installation problem.

For many users, the hard drive will last for the life of the
computer. However, hard drives are mechanical, and will not last as
long as other components in the computer. Typical life span is 3 to 5
years. If you do not have a way to re-install the operating system,
you will be forced to buy a new copy of the operating system (typical
retail cost is in the $150 to $200 range). This is irritating because
you paid for a legitimate operating system license as part of the
purchase cost of your computer.

A list of common Microsoft operating systems: Windows 98, Windows NT,
Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista.

For more information about the general topic of operating systems, see
the Wikipedia: