It has been my experience, and hopefully some of the techs out there can jump in on this, as well… Most people who own PCs in their homes have never made their factory recovery discs. What I find is that most people are not aware that this is even possible and that this option even exists.
The computer manufacturing trend today, with just about every PC maker, is that they typically provide two methods to recover a PC to factory specs in the event disaster strikes; and, believe me it will.
The first method, which is a false sense of security in my opinion, is that the recovery files to return the PC to the day you bought is in a hidden partition on the computer and is launched typically by software or by hitting a key on startup to get you into the recovery mode. This method is there as a convenience measure; not, a full disaster recovery measure. In the event of a hard drive failure or malware infection this recovery option can become inaccessible real fast.
The second method is typically an option to create recovery discs through a software interface on the PC. I strongly advise… Make those discs. Typically the software will walk you through the process of making the discs (usually DVD’s) and oftentimes will only give you one chance to at making those discs. It will take less than 15 minutes. After you make those discs, it is important to label them and put them in safekeeping. If you ever need them, pull out the first disc you created (if multiple discs), place it in your CD/DVD drive and reboot the PC.
Another point to make here is that do no think that the Factory Recovery Option will restore the personal files you have on your PC (such as pictures, docs, videos, etc.). It will not do that… The factory recovery option will only restore the PC back to the original factory specs. So if you have personal files on your PC you need to back them up prior to performing the factory recovery.