How-To Geek

Recovery Partition

Historically, computer manufacturers shipped optical media (such as CD/DVDs) with each computer that contained recovery software the purchaser could use to restore the computer back to factory settings in the event of data corruption or other problems. As a cost cutting measure, most manufacturers have moved away from optical media and now simply partition off a portion of the machine’s primary hard drive to serve as a recovery partition; this partition is not directly accessible by the end user and houses recovery software as well as an image of the computer’s hard drive as it was when it left the factory.

While this setup is convenient in that you always have the recovery media on hand (especially in the case of laptop computers, the user rarely brings the recovery discs with them while travelling), it offers poor protection in the event of mechanical hard drive failure, as a failed drive will take both the primary partition and the recovery partition with it.

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