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HP Notebook PCs - Overview of Recovering the OS or Reinstalling the Operating System

This document pertains to HP and Compaq notebook computers.
Performing a system recovery to return the computer to its original condition may be necessary if the operating system is damaged, the hard drive is corrupted, or the computer is infected by a virus. Performing a system recovery removes all software and files saved to the hard drive, reinstalls the original operating system, and then configures the settings for the default programs. This document provides an overview of information available to help you perform a system recovery.
If you have never run a system recovery and you want to review a list of frequently asked questions, see FAQ on Repairing or Reinstalling the Operating System for more information.
Preparing for a system recovery
Before performing a system recovery, you can complete several processes that may prevent the need to run a system recovery or help make sure your system recovery is successful. Review the topics below and click on the links for detailed information and step-by-step instructions for each topic.
Back up important files
HP recommends that you make backup copies of your files on a regular basis, and that you store the backed-up files on a CD/DVD or other external media in a separate physical location, away from the computer. Doing scheduled backups will help you to recover some, if not all, of your information in the event that something happens to the original files on your computer.
When deciding which files you want to save, make a list of important information that you cannot easily replace. The list will also give you a reference list in the event that you need to retrieve the files. For more information on backing up your important files, see Backing Up Your Files (Windows 8), Backing Up Your Files (Windows 7), or How to Back Up User Files (Windows Vista or XP).
Performing a system recovery will destroy all the files on the hard drive. In the event you did not back up your files prior to running a system recovery, the Recovery Manager displays a prompt to make a backup copy of your files before it performs any action that might erase or delete any files.
Correct startup or boot issues
If your computer does not start or boot into Windows, it may be possible to correct the issue without performing a system recovery. Performing a system recovery is a destructive process that erases all the files and programs on your computer. Recovering an operating system will take an hour or more to complete. You must also configure the pre-installed hardware and software components, and reinstall all your programs and personal files. The entire process may take several hours. Finding and correcting startup or boot issues before performing a system recovery may save time.
Many startup or boot issues are caused by minor problems that are easily corrected. Before performing a system recovery, try to determine if other, non-destructive, corrective actions will fix the problem. Refer to Overview of How to Troubleshoot Problems When a Computer Does Not Start Up or Boot Properly for a list of startup or boot symptoms with troubleshooting steps.
Complete a Windows System Restore
If your computer suddenly develops a problem, perform a Windows System Restore to try to resolve the issue before performing a system recovery with the HP Recovery Manager. Windows System Restore is a Microsoft program and should not be confused with HP Recovery Manager. The Microsoft Windows System Restore function returns the computer to a previously chosen restore point, which resets all of the settings for the operating system to those settings that existed at the time that the restore point was created. No personal data files, such as email, documents, or pictures are lost. For more information on Windows System Restore, see Using Microsoft System Restore (Windows 8), Using Microsoft System Restore (Windows 7), Using Microsoft System Restore (Windows Vista), or Using Microsoft System Restore in Windows Me and XP.
Find recovery discs
One option for performing a system recovery is to use system recovery discs. Prior to 2006, HP provided operating system CD discs or recovery discs for most computers. After 2006, HP configured computers with a Recovery Manager function that lets you recover the system from files stored on a partition on the hard drive. Recovery Manager also lets you create a set of recovery discs that contain the files that are specific to your computer. For most models, replacement recovery discs can be purchased from HP. See the HP support document HP PCs - Looking for Recovery Discs? for more information.
Performing a system recovery
Performing a successful system recovery requires using the correct system recovery tool for your computer and being aware of potential system recovery errors. Review the topics below and click on the links for detailed information and step-by-step instructions for each topic.
Select a recovery process
The procedure for performing a system recovery varies by computer model, manufacture date, and the original operating system. Use the table below to identify your computer model, manufacture date, and original operating system. Then, click on the name of the document listed in the right column for detailed information and step-by-step instructions on how to perform a system recovery.
Notebook description
Recovery procedure information
HP and Compaq Notebook PCs shipped with a Windows 8 operating system.
HP and Compaq Notebook PCs and Mini PCs shipped with Windows 7 operating system.
HP and Compaq PCs using the Microsoft recovery feature for Windows 7 instead of an HP solution.
Presario, Pavilion, and HP Compaq Business PCs shipped with a Windows Vista operating system.
HP and Compaq PCs using the Microsoft recovery feature for Vista instead of an HP solution.
HP and Compaq Mini with Windows XP using the HP solution.
HP and Compaq Mini with Windows XP using the Roxio recovery feature instead of the HP solution.
HP and Compaq Mini with Mobile Internet Environment (MIE).
Presario, Pavilion, and HP Compaq Business PCs manufactured and sold in 2006 or later.
Presario and Pavilion PCs manufactured from 2001 to 2005.
And
Pavilion PCs with Windows Media Center edition of XP manufactured from 2001 to 2005.
Compaq Presario PCs supplied with a Compaq Recovery CD and manufactured from 2001 to 2005.
Omnibook and certain Pavilion PCs manufactured pre-2001.
Solve common system recovery errors
Performing a system recovery can be a complicated task. The single most common cause of recovery errors is the interruption of the process or turning off of the computer before the recovery and setup is complete. For additional recovery issues see System Recovery May Fail or Display Error Message (Windows 7, or Vista).
Completing a system recovery
After performing a system recovery, you must reinstall and update all of your software and drivers, and reestablish the Internet connection. Use the original manufacturer's disc to install your software programs, and then go to the manufacturer's web sites to download and install all updates. For more detailed information, see Setting up Your PC After a Recovery (Windows 7), Setting up Your PC After a Recovery (Windows Vista), or Things To Do After Performing a System Recovery in Windows XP.

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