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The Recovery Disc Rip-Off

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the you-get-what-you-don't-pay-for dept.

Operating Systems 551

nk497 writes "The chances of finding a recovery disc at the bottom of a PC box is getting slimmer, as vendors instead take the cheaper option of installing recovery software on a hard disk partition, leaving the buyer with no physical copy of the operating system they paid for if (or when) the hard disk fails. Users can burn a backup disc, but many aren't as diligent as they should be. While some PC vendors will offer a free or cheap disc at the time of purchase, buying one — or even tracking one down — after the fact can be expensive and take weeks to arrive. 'I've had a lot of people that have had this problem,' said David Smith, director of independent maintenance company Help With Your PC. 'One customer recently found his hard drive had gone, but by the time he'd paid £50 for the recovery disc, paid for a new hard drive and paid for the labour of installing the device, it made more sense to buy a new machine.'"

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551 comments

It's down to the cost of one disk? (3, Insightful)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 3 years ago | (#33122986)

That's how close we're watching costs these days?

Re:It's down to the cost of one disk? (4, Interesting)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123136)

That's how close we're watching costs these days?

In an industry where one is expected to lower your retails costs by 25% every year simply to stay competitive, I can't say I blame them.

If they could fit enough into the BIOS to have it connect to their servers and redownload your OS in case of drive failure, why the hell not go that route? One less plastic disk the world doesn't need.

Re:It's down to the cost of one disk? (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123198)

I don't see why they don't do this anyways. And they don't need the BIOS to do it.

You have your serial number on the sticker on the box. The OEM license discs won't take the non-OEM serial.

Just publish the ISO image to their FTP site, say "here it is, download/burn it wherever", and be done with it.

The real answer is that their "built-in burn your own backup" software is a ruse: first they fuck you over not including a real recovery disc separate from the hard drive, then the OEMs (Dell especially) spam ads all over the fucking screen about buying the "upgraded backup software which will back up your personal documents" while you wait for it to burn the fucking DVD at 0.5x speeds.

Re:It's down to the cost of one disk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123328)

And just how the fuck do you expect a presumably novice computer user to just download an ISO image somewhere and burn it? You might as well tell them to use Linux; it would be just about as useless to them.

Re:It's down to the cost of one disk? (3, Insightful)

n4f (1473103) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123336)

If the burn even works. I have a Compaq laptop that came preloaded with Windows Vista. Tried burning the recovery because I wanted to wipe the drive, reclaim my 8 gigs by deleting the recovery partition, and install Ubuntu. It would get through 99% of the burn and then just fail randomly. After going through half a dozen DVD-R's, I just gave up.

Re:It's down to the cost of one disk? (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123218)

>>>I can't say I blame them.

I can. It's cheaper for them to run-off a million or so DVD Restore Discs, with discounted pricing, then for me to run to the store, buy a DVD blank, and record a restore disc. (That's what my new HP Compaq computer expects me to do.) I'd rather pay an extra 10 cents on the purchase price and get the disc.

Re:It's down to the cost of one disk? (2, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123250)

For anyone not Apple. Look at what happened with Dell. Basically since 2005 they made almost nothing on PC sales. Something like 70% of their operating income came from kick backs from Intel. It's one of the reasons why I don't buy PC's these days. It's been a race to the bottom and to see who can cut the most corners without completely going under.

Re:It's down to the cost of one disk? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123290)

It's not just the cost of the blank disc. The recovery disc has to be made up with the right mix of bundled software, including a suitably-keyed copy of Windows. That means that they burn a different image for each machined shipped. if they were supplying a FOSS OS and bundle then they could probably use a mass-produced, pressed disc and it would be way cheaper.

Re:It's down to the cost of one disk? (2, Informative)

Carpathius (215767) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123434)

They don't burn a different image for each machine shipped. Not even each model shipped. I recently had to restore two Dell machines. Each came with a base Windows disk with a bunch of different base drivers for a bunch of different machines. Then came the drivers disk, which supported a bunch of different models as well. Each of those two disks probably supported hundreds of different models.

Micro$oft (0, Troll)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 3 years ago | (#33122990)

All they would have to do, is have MICROSOFT to crack down on the practice, and the disks would come back. LOL...heck, more than likely MS is the one behind this, trying to save money not having to ship disks.

Re:Micro$oft (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123020)

I think the real goal is to make it more difficult to get away from the manufacturer's preinstalled bloatware.

Re:Micro$oft (2, Interesting)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123102)

I think it's just to save a nickel on each unit.

My el cheapo Acer laptop was set up this way. The pre-installed software had a utility that creates a recovery disk, which I did almost immediately after buying the machine, then I threw the (2) disks into a safe. Problem was, it never really asked me to do it. I just stumbled on the utility.

I don't really see anything wrong with the practice personally, but the manufacturers should be much more forceful about telling people to burn recovery disks. There should be some kind of a nag screen when you first start up the machine warning you to burn them and keep them in a safe place.

Re:Micro$oft (2, Insightful)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123332)

Wrong assumption on saving money. This could be looked at as a method to drive sales of Windows. Rather than wait for a recovery disk to be shipped, how many people will just drop the system off at BigBoxTechSupport and pay for a clean install -- and how about we upgrade your Microsoft to Windows 7 also? Microsoft sells another license, the retail support department has more sales, and the system owner does not have to know anything about how the system works.

Just like taking the car to the dealer for service. What could be more natural?

Gotta wonder... (4, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123000)

... how many Windows "pirates" actually own a legitimate product key but have simply no install CD/DVD.

Re:Gotta wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123024)

Perhaps the machines could come with an Ubuntu disk, just in case...

why can't MS have easy to get iso's for windows (2, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123052)

why can't MS have easy to get iso's for windows that just need your key that is on the COA so you don't need to torrent the iso?

Re:why can't MS have easy to get iso's for windows (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123122)

They have this for volume license customers, but SOHO gets the shaft.

Re:why can't MS have easy to get iso's for windows (0, Flamebait)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123130)

Because all Microsoft's attempts to secure anything end in epic fail.

The best security measure they have (which is not saying a lot) is the simple fact that not everyone in the world has a physical disk.

Re:Gotta wonder... (1)

Mr. DOS (1276020) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123154)

It gets worse: many so-called Vista “OEM” keys on laptops will only work with the manufacturer's recovery disc, and won't work with a legitimate (but generic) OEM disc. In three instances, I've had to give up and tell clients they'll have to cough up the $40 and buy a recovery disc because I just couldn't get Windows to activate otherwise.

Re:Gotta wonder... (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123438)

On the several occasions I have been in this situation, I have just phoned Microsoft, said that I have reinstalled Vista/7 on a machine following a repair and it won't reactivate and they have taken me through the manual process using my legitimate licence key and sorted it. Have to admit, Microsoft have always been helpful when this has happened.

Ah the joys... (1)

Midnight's Shadow (1517137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123006)

...of being able to download my OS from the internet for free! Not to mention knowing how to install a new hard drive.

Re:Ah the joys... (1, Troll)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123062)

being able to download my OS from the internet for free!

But then you have to be more diligent in choosing hardware for your PC. Sure, a Free operating system based on Linux (Fedora, Ubuntu, etc.) supports a wide array of hardware. But if you happen to buy a piece of hardware at the store that's not on the distribution's hardware compatibility list, it probably won't include a Linux driver on a disc either. Now what?

Re:Ah the joys... (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123116)

Take Linux LiveCD to shop, test machine. Stop whining.

Re:Ah the joys... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123226)

Take Linux LiveCD to shop, test machine.

How many shops will unbox a PC that has no floor model to let me test it? Or (in the case of small form factor machines with no built-in optical drive) let me plug in a USB DVD-ROM drive? Or unbox a printer or scanner and let me connect it to a floor model PC?

Re:Ah the joys... (1)

psyeye (883344) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123404)

How many shops will unbox a PC that has no floor model to let me test it? Or (in the case of small form factor machines with no built-in optical drive) let me plug in a USB DVD-ROM drive? Or unbox a printer or scanner and let me connect it to a floor model PC?

Bah.

Ever considered this to be an indicator of whether to buy there or not?!

Re:Ah the joys... (4, Informative)

Pop69 (700500) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123118)

But if you happen to buy a piece of hardware at the store that's not on the distribution's hardware compatibility list, it probably won't include a Linux driver on a disc either.

You mean that you haven't noticed that Windows has a hardware compatibility list as well ?

Re:Ah the joys... (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123214)

But windows compatibility is usually marked on the box. Linux compatibility usually isn't.

Re:Ah the joys... (0, Troll)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123400)

Well there you go then. I like you have joined a world where all of our decisions can be made simply by reading the front of the box. No need to think or understand. All we need to do is look at the box and buy with joy.

Seriously dude. Linux dose not want you.

For the pedantic Linux/GNU fanboys... Yes I realize it's Linux/GNU or GNU/Linux what ever.

It is the one with the penguin on the box. Right? :)

Re:Ah the joys... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123284)

Windows has a hardware compatibility list

Driver discs bundled with peripherals extend the hardware compatibility list of Windows because they include a driver for Windows. They do not extend the hardware compatibility list of Linux because they do not include a driver for Linux.

Re:Ah the joys... (1)

shaunbr (563633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123398)

The "Windows Compatibility List" is pretty much every piece of hardware everywhere. Vendors would be absolutely stupid to *not* include a Windows driver, since Windows users are something like 85 percent of the market. I guarantee that a Windows user will never have the problem of buying a piece of hardware and finding that there aren't any Windows drivers for it.

Re:Ah the joys... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123126)

I have been finding that Linux compatible hardware is becoming pretty easy to obtain. Certain companies are still on the "bad list" -- Broadcom certainly stands out -- but for the most part, I have no problems anymore. Of course, I do not demand particularly high performance 3D graphics, so maybe that is why...

Re:Ah the joys... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123430)

Certain companies are still on the "bad list" -- Broadcom certainly stands out

So how do I discern, by looking only at the retail packaging, whether a particular peripheral contains a chipset from a company on the "bad list"? It'd be best if there were a central "good list" of manufacturer names somewhere on the web that I can recommend to friends and family who have grown tired of headaches associated with Windows. For example, HP printers and scanners would make the list. Does this exist?

Re:Ah the joys... (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123152)

It doesn't help consumers who are already the victims of vendor lock-in, such as those with a large purchased iTunes music collection.

Or those who simply aren't savvy enough (most) or have better things to do (some) than wrangle with an OS or replace disks.

Most people have more money than sense, and they don't have much money either.

Re:Ah the joys... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123330)

>>>Most people have more money than sense

Or they recognize that it's silly to waste 3-4 hours trying to make a device work, when it only takes an hour of overtime to earn the cash and BUY the fix (like a new device). That's called common sense.

iTunes Plus (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123344)

It doesn't help consumers who are already the victims of vendor lock-in, such as those with a large purchased iTunes music collection.

Was this large iTunes music collection purchased before or after Apple's transition to DRM-free iTunes Plus, which took place between mid-2007 and the end of 2008?

Re:Ah the joys... (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123228)

But if you happen to buy a piece of hardware at the store that's not on the distribution's hardware compatibility list, it probably won't include a Linux driver on a disc either. Now what?

After that, I wake up and stop dreaming about the past.

Welcome to the 21st century.

Re:Ah the joys... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123388)

Welcome to the 21st century.

Unless I'm severely missing something, you're claiming that makers of PC peripherals, such as printers, scanners, and network cards, started putting Linux drivers on the included CD sometime in the past decade. Which year was this?

HP Does this ... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123022)

My wife recently bought an HP laptop. It comes with the recovery stuff on a partition.

You get one time you can burn a physical recovery disk. When we tried it, the process failed. Leaving you with no more tries at a recovery disk, and no recovery disk.

Very annoying. Combine that with the performance of the laptop, and we won't be buying anything else from HP because they're products are overpriced and crappy. Ripping a CD created MP3 with really bad jitter and noise -- lame for a dual core machine which wasn't doing anything else at the time.

Posting anonymously because my wife works for HP and we bought it using her discount. :-P

Re:HP Does this ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123066)

we won't be buying anything else from HP because they're products are overpriced and crappy.

You won't buy anything else from HP because they are products? Wow, your an idiot.

Re:HP Does this ... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123094)

Wow, your an idiot

I hope you were going for irony there.

Re:HP Does this ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123082)

There is a way to create more than one set of recovery disks on HP's http://www.troublefixers.com/create-more-than-one-set-of-recovery-cd-on-hp-laptop-computer/ [troublefixers.com] but I agree with you HP are POS and i'll never get another as they cripple the bios and they all run very hot.

Re:HP Does this ... (1)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123326)

they all run very hot

Do they still run hot? I once had a HP laptop (AMD Turion X2, 64-bit Vista), and if I routed the exhaust vent into a shoebox, I could probably bake bread or reheat my pizza. Then I installed a BIOS upgrade and those overheating problems went away. It still ran ridiculously hot, but not as bad as before the upgrade.

I'm on a Dell/Pentium now, and it runs much cooler and the performance is better.

Re:HP Does this ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123142)

Bought an HP Pavilion about 5 years ago, and this ONE TIME ONLY burn deal on the recovery disc was true back then. Also true back then: the crappy CD/DVD reader supplied; couldn't handle DMA mode or some such nonsense. One couldn't play an audio CD without pauses about every 10 seconds. At least the latter was a cheap fix.
Anyway, I successfully made my one-and-only recovery set, but there's no way in h-ll I would rebuild this thing with the bloatware and obsolete drivers and everything else that came "pre-installed" for me. Simply horrendous experience getting rid of it all. Ugh.

Re:HP Does this ... (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123150)

> they're [sic] products are overpriced and crappy

> my wife works for HP

Due diligence again, why didn't you try something before you bought it.

People pretend like computers are like DVD players.

Re:HP Does this ... (1)

miggyb (1537903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123232)

Are you sure? All the laptops that I've dealt with will happily let you use up DVDs if the process keeps failing. I think there's a limit of one *successful* burn, but not one burn in general.

Doing something wrong? (0, Troll)

fnj (64210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123272)

Huh, a music CD is a sequence of digitally encoded sectors, one after the other, with error detection and correction. Ripping it to disk files, computer performance should be TOTALLY IRRELEVANT on the face of it. Maybe if you used a half decent ripping tool ... CDDA Paranoia [xiph.org] . Of course, that tool only runs on a real operating system ... linux.

Re:HP Does this ... (2, Informative)

berashith (222128) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123280)

The other piece about the HP recovery disks is that they are not an OS disk, but instead an image of the factory default install. I was hoping to have an image with base OS and drivers to get started. Instead I have a copy of all of the apps and other nonsense in the exact same configuration.

Re:HP Does this ... (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123372)

You should have purchased a desktop if you were looking for performance instead of portability. You might have spent a grand on the laptop, but not on the computer itself. You have the screen, the keyboard, the trackpad, and all the other features the company feels you should have get subtracted from the money that they have to spend on the computer itself. I have seen my friends do it before so your not the first to assume a laptop doesn't come at a premium.

Re:HP Does this ... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123378)

Combine that with the performance of the laptop, and we won't be buying anything else from HP because they're products are overpriced and crappy.

Good thing you won't be supporting them anymore.

my wife works for HP

Well, except working for them.

Re:HP Does this ... (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123408)

The same thing happened with my mom. She's not really a tech-savvy user, but she doesn't go poking at things she doesn't understand, and the backup process wasn't exactly complicated. There was an error on the recovery partition and the backup puked.
We ended up getting a copy of Windows 7 to throw on it instead of the default Vista that it came with so she was out a few bucks but better off I guess.
Still, I find it extremely dickish of Toshiba to do such a thing.

Re:HP Does this ... (1)

darkeye (199616) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123444)

yeah, I had the same experience - the burning process fails, and then they want to charge you when they send the recovery DVD. costs you time & money.

which can do nothing else, but _delete_ everything from your HDD, and install a 20GB 'recovery partition', which is incidentally the boot partition as well - there is no way you can remove it and maintain a working system.

and yes, it does cause permanent data loss: it deletes all partitions from your drive at the beginning of the 'recovery' process

I ended up installing a 'standard' Windows install DVD - which works a lot better.

whereas if they just included the standard install media in the first place, it would have been much cheaper for everyone: me, their support staff, mailing, etc.

Download one (-1, Offtopic)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123068)

Luckily, numerous varieties of recovery disks are Freely [ubuntu.com] Available [fedoraproject.org] on the internet, or you can build your own [gentoo.org] if you prefer.

Re:Download one (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123416)

That's but there are a few flaws with your idea:

- My ISP web accelerator software doesn't work on Linux (although I could substitute Opera Turbo for almost-as-fast performance).
- My Atari and NES emulators only play half as many games as the Windows versions of these emulators
- I can't make Flash work on Ubuntu, even though I've tried numerous times. It keeps saying something about, "Not enough permission."
- iTunes doesn't work
- MS Office doesn't work
- Windows Media Encoder doesn't work
- 2xAV (double speed) Player doesn't work
- And on and on and on.

Using Linux is liking taking a step back to the days of running my Commodore Amiga. I loved that machine but it was hard to find any software to support what I wanted to do (and therefore I moved to Windows 98).

Not necessarily a rip-off (2, Interesting)

FalconZero (607567) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123070)

Personally, I have never used a recovery CD. When I buy a PC - I do not need or want the recovery CD (It just fills up cabinet space). If this cost is unbundled (and I'm not saying it is) - I'd prefer to pay a little less and not receive the physical media.

Re:Not necessarily a rip-off (0)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123108)

As opposed to wasting HDD space instead?

Well two things (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123264)

1) You can remove the partition easy enough.

2) Are you hurting for disk space on a new system? Hell I just bought a laptop a couple months ago and it has 500GB of disk space in it. A *laptop* has that much. Desktops are no problem to get with 1TB or more. Are you really going to miss 10-20GB of that?

I mean I reinstalled my laptop with Win 7 Pro, instead of the included Home version, but I left the recovery partition. Why not? It isn't a problem or anything.

Re:Not necessarily a rip-off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123298)

What? You don't know how to format?

Re:Not necessarily a rip-off (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123302)

Well, if you don't plan on actually using the recovery disk (if you, say, have a copy of the Windows install DVD, and know how to install your own drivers) then you can just get rid of the partition.

I still burn a recovery disk from the machine, just to be safe, but then promptly wipe the whole drive clean with a new Windows install.

Re:Not necessarily a rip-off (1)

FalconZero (607567) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123318)

Nope.

Windows computers I look after either have remote deployment or I already have appropriate physical media (I've got drawers stuffed full of the shiny holographic XPsp2 CDs.) (Although I admit that route loses the install time OEM tailored drivers)

As for Linux machines, the distros are available everywhere - even if I didn't have a live flashdrive.

Re:Not necessarily a rip-off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123172)

At a price of a few pennies, your not going to save much.

Re:Not necessarily a rip-off (2, Informative)

zzsmirkzz (974536) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123224)

Personally, I don't want a recovery CD, I want the Windows Install CD and a Driver CD. I just bought an HP which reminded me to make my one set of recovery disks (which I did, 3 DVD's). However, what I really wanted to do was format it and re-install windows to get rid of all the junk they pre-loaded on it.

Just happened to me (1)

dFaust (546790) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123084)

Well, not me directly. My father bought my son an eMachines computer, against my advice, this past Christmas. My son was staying with my folks this past month, with his computer, and it turned out the hard drive failed (despite being only 7 months old). My dad ended up paying for a recovery disc and then taking it to Best Buy (presumably where he bought the computer) for them to install it - which I'm guessing wasn't free. It wouldn't have necessarily been cheaper to get a new computer, but it sounded like a big crap fest. And with that kind of quality, what's the cost associated when you actually care about the data on your hard drive? Sadly, getting my parents or son to do regular backups just ain't gonna happen.

Re:Just happened to me (1)

charles xavier (1861908) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123342)

At only seven months old, was the machine not under warrenty? It's been a long time since I've bought a computer from a box store, but I was under the impression that one year warrenties come standard with computers.

Infuriating (2, Insightful)

hcpxvi (773888) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123088)

This is indeed one of the most infuriating things about purchasing a new computer. How much money can it save? Surely the manufacturing cost of an optical disc produced in bulk is in the noise compared to producing and shipping a laptop? Heck, Canonical will ship you a disc with Ubuntu on for free, so it can't be that pricy.

Actually, perhaps the Linux zealot faction should welcome the "no OS discs" trend. Faced with a machine where you have had to replace the HDD, it is nowadays much easier to obtain and install Linux than to get your hands on the media from which to re-install Windows.

Usage (2, Interesting)

MistrX (1566617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123090)

Pfff... I never like recovery discs. Every grain of personalisation is gone since the company you bought the computer from placed their wallpapers and custom themes all over the place. Even worse, the harddrive is littered with trials of virusscanners or other advertisement software. Always had that personal drive for your music? It's gone! The last recovery disc I used also 'restored' they drive mapping replacing all partitions to make it factory default again. And there is nothing you can do about it. No settings, no parameters you can set. C drive was wiped like it should, but forget about other partitions and everything on it aswell.

I HATE recovery discs. Just do it yourself by loading a boot diskette/USB/other external device and install a clean copy of your favorite OS which mostly can be ripped from the recovery disc themselves.

Re:Usage (4, Insightful)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123300)

Personally I like what dell does with thier buisness machines. The discs they ship (at least the XP ones, I haven't tried the vista or win7 ones) are windows install CDs (not "recovery CDs") that use the normal windows installer, don't insist on wiping the hard drive, don't seem to install andy crapware and yet provided you install them on a dell they will install without any activation BS.

Why not leave the HDD as is too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123092)

So when will the OEM vendors just leave the HDD for what it is and ship it without any pseudorandom bytes pre-written to it? Would save them a lot of hassle!

Re:Why not leave the HDD as is too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123194)

Duh, because then they wouldn't get $X per box for the pre-installed trialware.

don't buy without (1)

djfake (977121) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123138)

The Joysystems computers (off-lease refurbs) that are sold at Microcenters actually advertise the fact that they come with a recovery disc. Every Apple computer comes with one, and it's usually a free option for most Dell purchases. In short, I wouldn't purchase a system without one. Doesn't need to be more complicated than that, does it?

I don't think it is just cost (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123146)

Maybe not even primarily. It is an ease of use sort of thing. Remember: We are talking about the mass market here. Most people are not computer savvy. So if their system blows up, they want a simple fix. When it comes down to problems relating to the disk, most of them are going to be one of two things:

1) The installed OS got messed up somehow. A reinstall is the answer.

2) The hard disk failed. A replacement is the answer.

For #2, the company gets involved and replaces the disk, which of course comes loaded with the software. For #1, a recovery partition is the easier way to go. They just have the user press a button on startup and say "Yes, redo my system." Keeps the complexity way down.

Please remember that in most cases the recovery discs were many. For the Gateways we were getting at work there were three: A Windows reisntall disc, a drivers disc, and an apps disc, some times more than one apps disc. So you had to install Windows, put in the driver disc and choose the right ones (they were for a few models, not your specific system), and then install the apps. Rather complex for an ordinary user.

Thus I don't see a big problem here. If you are a power user, make the discs, or simply download the correct version of Windows for the system (Google around, Digitalriver provides legit downloads for Windows 7 to use with systems that already have a license). If not, this is an easy way to deal with things.

Hard disk failure? Unlikely... (2, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123166)

no physical copy of the operating system they paid for if (or when) the hard disk fails

I know very few people who have recently reinstalled their OS due to hard drive failure. On the other hand, I know quite a few people who have had to reinstall their OS because their OS was a craptastic pile of failure that in one way or another became unusable due to non-hardware issues.

I hate having to be the one to say it... (4, Insightful)

randomaxe (673239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123168)

...but every Mac I've ever bought has had install discs for the OS and any additional applications in the box. They are rarely needed, since Time Machine does a fantastic job of providing a backup that I can restore to, but they are there.

That in itself might be worth the so-called "Apple Tax".

Not only that, but (3, Informative)

davebarnes (158106) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123254)

The discs are not "recovery discs", but full blown copies of the operating system.

Worth the tax to me.

Re:Not only that, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123350)

You mean they provide operating system install discs with the purchase of your operating system? Amazing. What will they think of next?!

Re:I hate having to be the one to say it... (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123286)

...but every Mac I've ever bought has had install discs for the OS and any additional applications in the box. They are rarely needed, since Time Machine does a fantastic job of providing a backup that I can restore to, but they are there. That in itself might be worth the so-called "Apple Tax".

Every Dell I have ever bought has had install discs for the OS and any additional applications in the box. How do you like them "Apple Taxes"?

Asus Do It (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123174)

I bought an Asus Windows 7 laptop as a present for someone the other week and ended up spending a few hours making it useable. There was a lot of Asus-branded shite that had to be removed, plus some Oberon media games, plus Trend Micro virus scan trial and then the Office 2007 trial.

Lastly I did the creation of the recovery discs and it took nearly two sodding hours or so to burn the FOUR DAMN DVDS! What the hell is on there?!?

thats lame (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123188)

a CD that costs about 25 cents each, when i bought a new laptop with win7 earlier this year it was like that = no OEM or recovery disk, the laptop was loaded with gobs of trial software wanting me to buy full versions, so i wiped the drive and put a retail version of win7 i bought at a local brick & mortar PC store, i tried Linux on it but xorg really sucked when it came to supporting the graphics, i did manage to get it to work but the performance was terrible, i will try linux on it again in a couple of years (giving time to the xorg developers to work the bugs out of it)

One Of The Best Things About Being A Mac User (5, Insightful)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123210)

Is that Apple gives you a real bonafide OS disc with the computer you buy.

Re:One Of The Best Things About Being A Mac User (0, Flamebait)

TheTrollToll (1545539) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123268)

Lets see.... an extra 10 bucks for a recovery disc or an extra 200+ for the apple tax. Tough one! ...... not!

Re:One Of The Best Things About Being A Mac User (1)

meow27 (1526173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123370)

apple's business model revolves more on the hardware, rather than the OS

there is a reason why i can buy windows 7 pro for $170 (virtually any PC) and snow leopard for $30 (and can only be installed on intel macs)

and to reply to the topic, you can still download the iso from MS or sometimes (use the label on your machine as the key), the manufacturer.

Conversely (1)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123216)

They have installed a recovery disk exactly where it is needed when you have problems on the road.

Most devices are laptops. A recovery disk that is at home is of zero use to me when I'm in a hotel. How many people used to carry their recovery CDs with them everywhere they went with their laptops? How does that compare to harddisk failure in a laptop?

Better still might be to put it on a separate flash chip embedded inside the device.

CD? What's that? (1)

Nexus7 (2919) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123246)

Why aren't we talking about recovery USB keys? I notice many thin-n-light notebooks are shipping without CD/DVD drives.

Don't usually need it (1)

Rashkae (59673) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123248)

Just about any PC repair person should have copies of all the commonly used OEM Windows install CD's, and in most cases (especially with Vista / Windows 7) the OEM key on your sticker will work just fine to install and activate Windows. The recovery CD will potentially save you 1 - 2 hours tracking down drivers, but you might spend nearly as long de-crapifying the OEM adware. I prefer to create my own backup partition and use ntfsclone to backup up the system once it is tuned to my liking and all additional software has been installed and activated. Still requires to re-do all the work in case of hard drive failure, but those are, fortunately, a rare condition I need to recover from.

It's all about the cheddar (2, Insightful)

gregor-e (136142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123256)

When you make a backup, you're also enshrining all the crapware the computer comes with. This guarantees that should the drive fail, your crapware shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. That's probably worth an extra $10 to the manufacturer, so there's no way they're going to bear the cost of a disc plus lose the extra $10 they can get from the crapware-advertisers.

I think this is miscategorized (1)

starslab (60014) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123258)

Being unable to install all the vendor's crap and their uniquely gimped version of Windows....

That's not a bug, it's a feature!

I've got install media for all recent client versions of Windows - straight, not-more-fucked-up-than-Microsoft-makes-it media that will accept the valid serial keys attached to the chassis of any mass-produced machine... Now if the sticker has faded off or been removed that's a different story...

Re:I think this is miscategorized (1)

novium (1680776) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123410)

That sticker thing is really, really damn annoying. On my older computers, they were damn durable. But now I'm stuck using the damn recovery disks (which have the added bonus of automatically splitting my hard drive into *five* stupid partitions) because the sticker they're putting at the bottom of the laptops are some uberly flimsy paper, and it all completely was worn away after a month or so. I say worn away just for a lack of a better word- the sticker is still there, but it looks like the bottom half of a carbon copy that's been beat to hell.

Why do you need one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123266)

I always recommend downloading a clean iso of the OS and formatting all the crap that comes by default nowadays.
You get a clean OS recovery DVD too, so no need to remove all the trial versions when you do have to restore.
It's easy enough to activate the retail edition of Windows of the using the OEM licence by just making a simple phone call, so I don't see what the problem is.

Actual cost savings? (1)

jonhorvath (934037) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123278)

I truly don't understand the cost savings by not including a recovery DVD. Here is a rough estimate on costs associated with each option.

* Include DVD recovery disc - 10 cents per disc

* Customer calls in to have recovery DVD shipped - 5 dollars per disc (includes support call, shipping and handling)

The computer company is counting at least 1 in 50 people will not call their support line to recover their PC. Knowing the typical home user, this is an extremely high ratio. I suspect that the actual ratio would actually be 1 in 5 or lower. The combination of MS Windows and a home user would usually lead to an unstable OS within a year.

Is the OS a product or a license? (1)

pbrooks100 (778828) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123310)

If a physical disk is not shipped with the product, does this help M$ support the claim that you are purchasing a license to use rather than a product?

While production costs are certainly lower, this may have more to do with changing the marketplace than saving costs. Who benefits the most from the absence of physical media and manuals?

Haven't experienced this problem (1)

palme999 (82528) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123324)

My experience has been the opposite of this story summary. Have a 2 year old Dell (warranty expired) that needed Windows (XP Media Center) reloaded on it. Two weeks ago I look for the CDs and couldn't find them, realized they never came with the system. Googled around to this page[1] and ordered the recovery disks. Free of charge. Arrived 2 days later.

At least for Dell this appears to be a non-story.

[1]http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dellcare/en/backupcd_form?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&redirect=1

Even worse (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123386)

Even worse, diligence isn't always sufficient. I've tried half a dozen times to burn the recovery disks from my Lenovo laptop. It always has an error during the process and doesn't finish. Out of fear of not being able to get the original OS back on when I wanted to try Linux on that laptop (I use Ubuntu as my desktop OS) I literally pulled out the factory hard drive and put in a new hard drive to run Linux on, as if the factory drive was wiped I had no good path back to the original setup.

I wouldn't even CARE if they provided the recovery disks on the drive to burn if they just put them in ISO form so that I could burn them using the program and system of my choice. As it is if their proprietary utility doesn't work you're SOL.

Uhm, Vista/Win 7 are easy to reinstall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33123390)

OEM certificates are easy to find, OEM SLP keys are easy to find. Your machine has the license and the BIOS markings.

Import key & cert = activated Windows Vista / 7 OEM install. slmgr.vbs ftw.

No need for recovery disc. Also .isos are freely available from Microsoft servers. Google it.

how many actually want them? (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123418)

How many people here actually use these disks? Don't we all just wipe our new computer of shovelware and install Linux or something? In my experience, i've always thrown away the disks that came with a retail computer. They don't ever restore to the system i wanted. My first dell came with a vanilla win 95 disk that just installed the OS. It wasn't even tied to any kind of hardware identifier. I could install it on my new system, and the system after that (always only one at a time though :))

When recovery disks became tied to computers and installed more than just the OS, i stopped wanting them anyway.

They might be nice for some users, but i kind of think most people don't even know what they do and just take the computer to best buy, etc. The other end of the spectrum are power users who want to install the os and partitions their own way. In the middle are people savvy enough to run the disk, but i really think that's the minority of users.

Spend Money to Save Money (1)

iCharles (242580) | more than 3 years ago | (#33123442)

I'm working with a SOHO on a workstation refresh. The brand new Lenovo workstations don't come with OS disks (only the burn-your-own recovery disk option). So, we either have to buy Win7 OS media (which, in my mind, makes licensing tricky), or accept the OS load as is, and try to surgically remove anything bloaty. Either way, no good option when you are only talking about half-a-dozen workstations.

We're trying to de-bloat.

I contrast this with big companies I work for/with. With hundreds or thousands of seats, they have the critical mass to justify an Enterprise Licenses with Microsoft that means they get what they need. Buy a hundred workstations, and blast down a clean, standard image. As an added perk, they don't have to troubleshoot too deep, just re-blast.

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