Even quality laptops are susceptible to virus infections, errors and hard drive corruptions that can cause your system to become unusable. To resolve any problems created by these issues, laptop manufacturers include built-in recovery partitions that allow users to return their computer to a functioning operating system without any additional technical assistance. Use the recovery partition only as the final step in the troubleshooting process as it will erase all the data saved to your hard drive.
Connect the external hard drive to one of your computer's USB ports on the side of the laptop's body. Drag any important files that you want to save into the hard drive's folder that appears on the desktop. Eject the hard drive once you have backed up any valuable data.
Remove any non-essential hardware devices, such as any printers, scanners, MP3 players or PDAs, and restart your computer. Pay attention to the screen while the computer starts up. Press the "F8" or "F11" key repeatedly once the standard BIOS prompts appear on the screen to access the "Advanced Boot Options Menu."
Use the arrow keys to highlight the "Repair Your Computer" option and press "Enter" to access your computer's recovery environment. Some computers will skip the boot options menu and go directly to the recovery environment.
Enter the language settings for the computer and log in with an administrator account. Click the factory image recovery option. Click "Next" in the Recovery utility window to launch the Recovery Wizard for your computer.
Follow the prompts displayed your computer's Recovery Wizard to restore your computer to the original operating condition. Keep your laptop connected to the power source during the restore as the process may take up to several hours. Click "Finish" or "Done" in the Restore Completed window to restart the computer with the original operating condition in place.