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  1. #1
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    Question Desktops and laptops come with the disks of the windows installation?

    Hi, ive never owned a laptop, will be purchasing one soon though and the desktops ive had have been built by myself, never purchased an off the shelf one.

    When a laptop or an off the shelf desktop come with whatever windows installation is on that computer, do they provide the disk(s)? Should you ever want to format or anything else.

    Or do a lot of the companies leave those things out in the hope that the majority of buyers wont have a clue?

    I will be building a new desktop soon so its not an issue there, but for the laptop purchase im curious if many are provided with the windows on disk.

  2. #2
    From Italy with love silver trophybronze trophy
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    My previous laptop had two installation disks. The new one has none, but comes with an application that allows me to create a recovery disk, which contains the operating system and the drivers, and can be used to reinstall everything.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by guido2004 View Post
    My previous laptop had two installation disks. The new one has none, but comes with an application that allows me to create a recovery disk, which contains the operating system and the drivers, and can be used to reinstall everything.
    Hi Guido

    Do you know if this is quite common? When the disks are not supplied but like in your case an app is provided.

  4. #4
    From Italy with love silver trophybronze trophy
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    I have no idea. I only have my own experience

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by guido2004 View Post
    I have no idea. I only have my own experience
    No worries, thanks for your input though.

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    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    I have a Netbook and it seems to come with its own customised recovery version of Windows OS on a DVD as well as a driver disc.

    Obviously my main primary PC was self-built and I use a standard Microsoft OS Disc for that but the Netbook version will be slightly modified. I suppose you could always ask the vendor as to what they supply regarding backup.

    As I have heard different firms can vary regarding supplying an actual disc. I've seen some Laptops that just use a HDD recovery partition with a backup of the OS but I think they are less common.

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy mizwizzy's Avatar
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    Hi Starbar - My 2c

    I have a partition on my laptop drive where I can make recovery discs - I bought this laptop about 4 years ago, I was a bit peeved about not getting a Windows disc but I was told that they did away with issuing the OS discs and that this was the new dispatch format!

    Just last year I did purchase a desktop for someone though and it had the same set up aswell and recently I was in another computer store (window shopping) and they were the exact same too! Really annoying! Unless you can go to the small computer shops and order a custom built machine plus OS disc I doubt the major retailers will be as accommodating these days

    Anyways, I hope that helps shed some light for ya! Best of luck!

    Hazel

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    My last three computers (my current one and two older ones) - all three of them were store bought, not cusome made - haven't had the Windows disk, what they have had is a hidden partition with the recovery information (probably a drive image) and a disk to access the recovery stuff.

    You may well be able to burn the recovery stuff to disk, but you might need to get possibly some special software to access the recovery stuff, check the manual it may well say about how to burn the recovery data to disk.
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  9. #9
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    Check with the manufacturer too. I convinced Dell to include a set of windows disks with a laptop purchase a couple years ago.

    The custom recovery disk/partition assumes you'll always have a good backup, generally a recovery will put the computer back to the "from the factory" state and won't let you do a windows recovery installation.
    Doug G
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    One option is once you've got all your normal software installed (drivers, office apps, etc) but not necessarily games you could get a drive imaging software and create an image of the hard drive then burn that image to disk (burning a fresh copy on a new disk) every 6 to 12 months. I've never burned anything to disk so can't say how long an average re-writeable CD-ROM or DVD-ROM would last for before it degrades too much.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by xhtmlcoder View Post
    I have a Netbook and it seems to come with its own customised recovery version of Windows OS on a DVD as well as a driver disc.

    Obviously my main primary PC was self-built and I use a standard Microsoft OS Disc for that but the Netbook version will be slightly modified. I suppose you could always ask the vendor as to what they supply regarding backup.

    As I have heard different firms can vary regarding supplying an actual disc. I've seen some Laptops that just use a HDD recovery partition with a backup of the OS but I think they are less common.
    Thanks xhtmlcode, a good suggestion, i should ask them so that i know what to expect.

    Quote Originally Posted by mizwizzy View Post
    Hi Starbar - My 2c

    I have a partition on my laptop drive where I can make recovery discs - I bought this laptop about 4 years ago, I was a bit peeved about not getting a Windows disc but I was told that they did away with issuing the OS discs and that this was the new dispatch format!

    Just last year I did purchase a desktop for someone though and it had the same set up aswell and recently I was in another computer store (window shopping) and they were the exact same too! Really annoying! Unless you can go to the small computer shops and order a custom built machine plus OS disc I doubt the major retailers will be as accommodating these days

    Anyways, I hope that helps shed some light for ya! Best of luck!

    Hazel
    Hi Hazel

    Thanks, it helps a lot as i can see a pattern there and what is the most likely outcome at least with the major retailers.

    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    My last three computers (my current one and two older ones) - all three of them were store bought, not cusome made - haven't had the Windows disk, what they have had is a hidden partition with the recovery information (probably a drive image) and a disk to access the recovery stuff.

    You may well be able to burn the recovery stuff to disk, but you might need to get possibly some special software to access the recovery stuff, check the manual it may well say about how to burn the recovery data to disk.
    Thanks SpacePhoenix, it seems this sort of thing is quite common then wth off the shelf computers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug G View Post
    Check with the manufacturer too. I convinced Dell to include a set of windows disks with a laptop purchase a couple years ago.

    The custom recovery disk/partition assumes you'll always have a good backup, generally a recovery will put the computer back to the "from the factory" state and won't let you do a windows recovery installation.
    Thanks Doug G for explaining.

    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    One option is once you've got all your normal software installed (drivers, office apps, etc) but not necessarily games you could get a drive imaging software and create an image of the hard drive then burn that image to disk (burning a fresh copy on a new disk) every 6 to 12 months. I've never burned anything to disk so can't say how long an average re-writeable CD-ROM or DVD-ROM would last for before it degrades too much.
    A good idea SpacePhoenix, thanks for the advice.

  12. #12
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    I can also confirm (as someone who's owned laptops from pretty much every major manufacturer).

    Most manufacturers don't offer an actual OS disk, but they do offer one or more of the below:

    1) Recovery Disk / Partition - A disk or part of the hard disk which restores an image of the system to the state you received the thing - software and all.
    2) Driver Disk - Contains all of the drivers, software and bits that come with the machine so you can install them as you require them (on a fresh install).
    3) Software Disks - most manufacturers don't provide OS disks, but they often give software disks for stuff like Office, Works or whatever is with the machine.

    When you get a laptop (alike a pre-made PC) you'll get a system filled with software and trials and such (they want to try and sell you stuff). My recommendation is factor the cost of an OS disk into the package, get the machine home - boot up the system to see if there's anything you want to keep from the default install (perhaps back it up) - if there's no driver disk, backup all the drivers using a software tool or go to the makers site and download them. Then go into Windows partition manager, purge the recovery partition (as you have backed up or got the driver disk and an OS disk - retail, you won't need the multi-GB image wasting space), then boot the machine to the retail OS disk, format the thing, install it, get all your windows updates (for the stuff that is supported by default), all your service packs etc, then hitch up the driver disk, install everything that needs it (either from the device manager or otherwise). Your system will be better for it... you don't want all the crap that comes pre-booted on a system and you'll have a nice fresh springy machine plus the disks you need to reinstall if needed in the future - note some system builders like Acer have a software tool to produce driver CD's or restore disks so you can do that when you first boot the machine.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    I can also confirm (as someone who's owned laptops from pretty much every major manufacturer).

    Most manufacturers don't offer an actual OS disk, but they do offer one or more of the below:

    1) Recovery Disk / Partition - A disk or part of the hard disk which restores an image of the system to the state you received the thing - software and all.
    2) Driver Disk - Contains all of the drivers, software and bits that come with the machine so you can install them as you require them (on a fresh install).
    3) Software Disks - most manufacturers don't provide OS disks, but they often give software disks for stuff like Office, Works or whatever is with the machine.

    When you get a laptop (alike a pre-made PC) you'll get a system filled with software and trials and such (they want to try and sell you stuff). My recommendation is factor the cost of an OS disk into the package, get the machine home - boot up the system to see if there's anything you want to keep from the default install (perhaps back it up) - if there's no driver disk, backup all the drivers using a software tool or go to the makers site and download them. Then go into Windows partition manager, purge the recovery partition (as you have backed up or got the driver disk and an OS disk - retail, you won't need the multi-GB image wasting space), then boot the machine to the retail OS disk, format the thing, install it, get all your windows updates (for the stuff that is supported by default), all your service packs etc, then hitch up the driver disk, install everything that needs it (either from the device manager or otherwise). Your system will be better for it... you don't want all the crap that comes pre-booted on a system and you'll have a nice fresh springy machine plus the disks you need to reinstall if needed in the future - note some system builders like Acer have a software tool to produce driver CD's or restore disks so you can do that when you first boot the machine.
    Hi Alex

    I think thats a good idea, to purchase a copy of the OS, i didn't know that its common for them to install a load of unwanted trials etc and i do think that i would want it as clean as possible so i like your suggestion, thanks for the advice.

    Nice and clean and with a retail copy of the OS sounds good to me.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy rushiku's Avatar
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    I don't think a computer ends up as 'clean' afterwards as with a fresh install; however, PC Decrapifier is much, much cheaper (free, in fact) and takes a few minutes to run rather than the hours to days it takes to install and setup an OS.

    IMHO, driver disks included with a computer are nice as drink coasters, but worthless as disaster recovery assets. If your HDD dies, replace it and get the PC running again, then plug the model number into the manufacturer's website download the latest drivers for your hardware (if you have no other access to the 'net, if, on the other hand, you have another computer at your disposable...well, use it to get the drivers).

    If you still want to go the fresh install route (which is, I cannot deny, a good idea) be aware that sites like newegg offer an OEM version of Windows, usually for about half the price as the retail version, the difference? No shiny box (seriously, that's it) - that said, a retailer may have restrictions on purchasing a copy, eg: must be purchased with a motherboard and CPU - however, you could try putting in your cart all by it's lonesome and see if you can make it out the door (stopping by the cashier on the way, of course)

  15. #15
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    rushiku, While I do like PC Decrapifier - I'm still suspicious at it's ability to clean every last remnant of all those installs (those trail installers are like spyware, no matter how much you sweep it, there's still the doubt). While it is cheaper I would still go with the fresh install every single time, it's worth buying that disk just to know that what you've got is something that's never been tainted with bloatware. As for the OEM disk thing, I usually get the retail disks as you can transfer the license from one PC to another (if you remove the old one). OEM disks are tied into a machine and can't be used (say) if you upgraded to a new machine. I've never had an issue transferring a retail license to a new PC (by phoning MS activation if it doesn't auto accept it) - I just say that I bleached the old version off the disk.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy rushiku's Avatar
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    While it's been some time since I've purchased and installed an OS (XP) the OEM version worked just fine across multiple computers. Which is to say, as I phased one out, I had no problems installing it on the next computer.

    After all, what is 'a' computer? At what point has your agreement to use an OS on 'a' computer violated by new hardware? Is it when your mainboard is replaced? The CPU? I know I refer to my computer as 'new' whenever I get a new case, but what does that have to do with software?

    At the end of the day, if one is asked to call in to register/unlock, one spends less than 5 minutes on the phone with an automated system or a bored voice that just wants something, anything, to fill in the blanks on the forms. Which you already know.

  17. #17
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Well Microsoft's license ties your machine to the motherboard (at least the OEM license)

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    I haven't bought a new computer in years. My last laptop purchase, I could get a copy of the full OS for cheap.
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    SitePoint Wizard donboe's Avatar
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    I completely agree with AlexDawson. They try to sell things. I actually find it a big big shame the computer manufacturers working along with the OS manufactures. If you buy a new Laptop or Desktop they nearly force you to use a certain OS

  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy rushiku's Avatar
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    Here's the scoop on the up front, head on, how-they-intend -you-to-use-their-product: Windows 7 licensing. So that's that, there is a gray area, but I've said to much already

    Now, the thing is to weigh how often you replace your computer versus Microsoft's Windows lifecycle. Will you still be using such and such computer when the next Windows comes out? Then maybe saving a few bucks now is the way to go.

    Realistically, even if you do get another computer before the next version, you're still ahead of the game buying another OEM copy when you buy the next computer because it will be Win7 SPn, instead of the Win7 vanilla you'll buy today.


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