No, I don't use it myself. A situation to use it in hasn't presented. I could see how it could be useful it someone wanted to watch a movie on an airplane or something. Hard drive space wise there is so many gigabytes of space now a days that it doesn't matter.
As for knowing it's there, I don't really care about it either way. It's on my Dad's laptop and he doesn't need any extra space or partition changes. The same above still applies to my Dad's usage of it too. He hasn't used it either.
Also you can still do what you want with the partitions if you don't need the feature. Just delete the partition and do what you want.
Edit: Now that I think about it, it probably would bug me to have all the partitions used if it was my laptop due to my dual boot of Windows and Linux.
Edit 2: If I did find it useful and needed another partition I would probably get rid of the recovery partition sense I know how to reinstall Windows and the preinstalled software and drivers manually.