Old-school computer users will remember what it used to be like to restore a system. In the early days of Windows, reinstalling was a 3.5-inch floppy disk project; later systems saw a disk-and-CD combination, which was followed by a set of recovery discs that are all but obsolete by 2011. Manufacturers like HP now ship systems with a recovery partition, and users are left to their own devices to find backup media.
The Supplemental Recovery Disc
Because HP doesn't ship any of its laptops or desktop systems with recovery discs, users must buy or create recovery media. The "supplemental" recovery disc is one of two discs created by HP Recovery Manager. It's a driver disc with specific files for your system that accompanies the operating system recovery disc. If you choose to install your system outside of the HP Recovery Manager's partition, you'll need this supplemental disc.
Buying Recovery Discs
You can order HP recovery discs from the manufacturers, which include the supplemental driver disc in addition to an operating system recovery disc. It's very important to order discs that are a perfect match for your system. You don't need to buy recovery discs, especially not while your computer is working well and you can create them yourself, but if you do want to buy some recovery media, there are a few things you'll need to do. Identify your operating system -- click "Start," then right-click "Computer" -- and whether you are running a 32- or 64-bit processor. Write down your system serial number from its service tag, which is on the bottom of HP notebooks and on the side of the tower of HP desktops. Discs are ordered online.
Making Recovery Discs
Making the recovery discs yourself is both quicker and cheaper than ordering them from HP. You'll need two blank DVD-R discs for this process. Click "Start" and type "Recovery Manager" into the search bar, then click "Recovery Manager." Click "Recovery Disc Creation" to begin, then click "Next." Insert the blank DVD-R when prompted, then click "Next" and wait. Insert the second DVD-R when prompted. Label the discs for later use.
Using Recovery Discs
Remember, the easiest way to restore your system is to use the built-in recovery partition. Press "F11" when the system boots to access this partition and its set-up program. If, for some reason, you removed the partition -- to save hard drive space, for example -- or it has become corrupt, you can use the recovery disc and supplemental disc to restore your system. Insert the first recovery disc and reboot the system. Look for "Press any key to boot from CD" and strike any key on your keyboard. Follow the prompts to reinstall the operating system. Insert the second disk -- the supplemental disc -- when prompted toward the end of the install process.