A recovery CDs can be used to boot a system and repair or reinstall the Windows operating system. This recovery CD should be the Windows Setup CD that was used to originally install Windows. However, in a pinch, you can use another Windows Setup CD as long as it is for the version of Windows you are using.
If you have a notebook computer or a brand-name computer such as a Dell, IBM, or Gateway, use the recovery CD provided by the manufacturer instead of a regular Windows Setup CD. This recovery CD, has drivers specific to your system, and the Windows build that is on the recovery CD might be different from the one provided by an off-the-shelf Windows Setup CD.
Quick tips a Windows XP Home Edition installation on a notebook computer might have been built with all kinds of changes made to it by the note-book manufacturer. These changes will make it different from a Windows XP Home Edition installation that was sourced from a package bought in a retail store. When you purchase a brand-name computer, the recovery CD is sometimes included in the package.
If it is not included, you can order it from the manufacturer. To order it, go to the manufacturer's Web site support section and find the recovery CD specific to your desktop or notebook computer.
For some brand name computers the hard drive contains a hidden recovery partition that can be used to reinstall Windows. Sometimes this hidden partition contains a utility that can be used to create a recovery CD.
However, know that the CD must have already been created if it is to be there to help you in the event the entire hard drive fails. To access the utilities on the hidden partition, press a key during startup.
Which key to press is displayed on the screen early in the boot before the OS is loaded. Tip, one Gateway computer displays the message "Press Fll to start recovery. When you press Fll, a menu is displayed giving you the opportunity to reinstall Windows from setup files kept in the hidden partition.