How much would you pay for recovery media?

Or, asked another way, how much is your time worth? I just picked up a new HP consumer-grade notebook. It doesn’t come with Windows installation media. Instead, it has a recovery partition and a utility that allows you to burn the recovery media to DVD (or CD, but you’d have to be a little nuts to choose that option).

I was really surprised at how long it took to burn those disks. All in all, it was over two hours. Now, I didn’t have to sit and babysit the machine while it was doing this task, and probably spent a grand total of 10 minutes clicking buttons and swapping disks. But still, that’s too long.

For $19, I could have ordered official media, it turns out:

Charge for OS Recovery media

Given that I have multiple image-based backups and I was able to create the recovery media easily, I’m not sure I would have paid the $19 even if I had noticed this option. Would you?

12 thoughts on “How much would you pay for recovery media?

  1. No, but sometimes if you “recover” your computer before you use it the recovered installation has less crapware. That would be worth paying $20. I’ve noticed this is the case with HP and Dell recovery disks.

  2. My Sony notebooks came with do-it-yourself recovery disks as well. I set it up to do that while making lunch. 😀

  3. I wouldn’t pay for recovery media.

    I would and did pay extra for real OS installation disks so you can trash all of the shovelware that gets loaded onto a PC. It is amazing just how much better Windows runs without all that stuff.

    If you can, try to find the most cut down version of the drivers that’s available. Many of the utilities that come with, for example, video drivers have poor user experiences and a detrimental effect on system reliability.

    Microsoft know what they’re doing; the third-party hardware vendors less so; the OEMs almost none at all.

  4. If I ordered that HP from their site, I’d’ have paid the twenty dollars, even for “factory” OS recovery disks. Like Mike, I prefer genuine Microsoft-branded disks.

    I’d rather pay $20 for pressed media—crapware included or not—than risk relying on self-burned disks down the road. If I had redundant disks laying about (I don’t) I’d skip them altogether.

    I’m not even sure if a sticker-supplied activation code works with all copies of the OS media.

  5. Danny, the activation code on the sticker will work with any retail media, with the following conditions:

    You will not be able to activate over the Internet but will have to do so by phone.
    You might find it easier to do a PID-less installation, then run the activation app and type in the product key from the sticker.
    The edition on the sticker must match the one you install (Home Premium, Ultimate, etc.).

    Also, the recovery media you receive will be customized by the OEM and not Microsoft-branded.

  6. Recovery media should be included with every PC. Not including media is a shady way for PC makers to make a few extra bucks from people who are desperate. I wouldn’t pay anything for recovery media. Then again, I have a TechNet subscription, so I don’t really need it.

  7. Actually, if you’re still under warranty, HP will send you the recovery media for free if you call them after you receive the computer. They don’t advertise this, apparantly because that $20 is important to them, but I learned this when I discovered that I didn’t get any media from my store bought PC and I didn’t have any blank discs. I decided to try calling them first, before spending money on blanks.

  8. I hate the way manufactorers no longer supply an installation disk… however If I’d been given the option (and Toshiba didn’t have that option, I checked) I would take it.

    I did end up with the unfortunate situation of a backup disk failing which was annoying.

    My Toshiba laptop came surprisingly crapware free… it didn’t even have anti virus installed… it just had a shortcut to begin the optional installation. It did have a stack of Toshiba extras which ran so slow they where practically impossible to use.

    Anyway, I would prefer a real installation disk so as to be able to do a complete clean reinstall like others mentioned… and remove the factory partition.

  9. I have had that same “wow, this is taking forever to burn” experience with Sony computers. I still wouldn’t pay $19 to get what should have been included.

    BTW, my Apple MacBook Pro and Mac Pro machines came with complete (re)-installation media.

  10. So how upset would the OEMs get if Microsoft were to sell Vista DVDs at cost to anyone with a valid CoA sticker? Realistically, people who are smart enough to do this probably wouldn’t have been good upsell prospects for the preinstalled craplets anyway. So really, the OEMs aren’t losing out on any commission this way.

    From the other POV, how much money would Microsoft give up from selling double-copies of Windows (one OEM, one retail) to people who want craplet-free computers? Surely not much. Especially since you can already use retail Vista DVDs with OEM CoA stickers by activating over the phone.

    Besides, once you have an established process to verify and sell individual DVDs to people who already hold licenses to use the software, you could also generate enormous goodwill among retail purchasers of Windows by selling SP1 slipstreamed DVDs.

  11. When I was considering an HP laptop last year I saw the $19.00 for the recovery media and considered it a bargain considering the hassle of burning your own. I ended up buying a Dell from their excellent outlet store with the OS restore disks included for no additional charge.
    The real problem with burnable media is that from my experience, if the 1st attempt fails, you’re hosed. You only get one shot at least that seems to be the case with my sons Acer desktop.

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