COMPUTER RESTORATION SOFTWARE -- TO HAVE AND TO HOLD!
Circumstances sometimes make it necessary, or perhaps just highly desirable, to reformat a computer hard drive, and/or reinstall the operating system, unique component drivers, third-party software and data into an otherwise serviceable computer. But it can be very frustrating to a computer owner / user or a technician to discover that the required original operating system, unique component drivers, installed third-party program software disks, associated software key-codes and data are lost, or otherwise unavailable when needed. Restoring a computer to it's original software configuration, followed by updating to it's most recent / current operating configuration, requires that the original software be available from somewhere. Please read more about important things to watch for, and some helpful suggestions.
With computers purchased today, most (- but not all) computer manufacturers provide copies of the original / installed operating system, installed component drivers and installed third party restoration software in at least one of the following ways:
1. On CD's or DVD's provided free, or at a usually small extra cost.
2. On a second "logical drive" partition of the main C drive; i.e., drive D, E, etc.
3. The capability and instructions for the owner / user to create their own restoration CD's or DVD's after purchase and initial setup of the computer.
Personally, I would advise against purchasing a computer that does not include at least one of the above software restoration options. Also keep in mind, that if the hard drive ever fails mechanically or electrically, such that hard drive replacement is unavoidable, the software restoration capability in option 2 above vanishes. Accordingly, I think options 1 and 3 above are the "safest" to rely on; BUT, --
1. If your new computer includes only restoration option 2 and / or 3 above, by all means, follow the instructions to create your own restoration CD's or DVD's promptly after setting up your new computer.
2. Put the "factory-made" disks obtained via option 1 above, or the"self-made" CD's or DVD's per option 3 above , into a labeled envelope or box; and store them in a cool and dry place you won't forget to remember, when or if needed.
3. Similarly, place all CD's or DVD's (and associated key-codes) for all other third-party software you purchase in the same or similar marked envelope or box; and store them in a cool and dry place you won't forget to remember, when or if needed. (A friend of mine recently had to re-purchase a $230 "Microsoft Office" product he purchased two years ago, because his original disks and receipt for proof of prior purchase were "lost".)
4. Last but not least, ALLWAYS establish a DATA BACKUP method of your choice, and USE IT daily to manually or automatically backup ALL NEW or CHANGED data you consider to be financially or sentimentally important to you -- especially when the data is not available anywhere else. Do not backup such data to your computer's main system C Drive; and preferably, not to any other internal computer hard drive. Instead, backup your data to an external hard drive, CD's, DVD's or, minimally, a Flash /Thumb drive.
Consider your computer restoration disks, third party software disks, key-codes and your backed up data as you would an insurance policy. You hope you never have to use them; but if "disaster" happens, with a little time and patience, you or a technician will have the right "tools" to get your computer software and data back to normal operation again.