Windows Vista Bootable Recovery Disc
if you're like most PC users, you probably got Windows Vista with a new PC or laptop. And if you're like 99% of the population, you get your new machines from one of the major manufacturers. Dell, Acer, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo, they all have one thing in common: they don't give you a real Windows Vista installation disc with your purchase. Instead, they bundle what they call a "recovery disc" (that's if you're lucky – otherwise you'll have a recovery partition instead) with your machine and leave it at that.
It doesn't matter that you just paid a thousand dollars for a machine that comes with a valid Windows Vista license – your computer manufacturer just don't want to spend the money (or perhaps take on the responsibility) of giving you a Windows Vista installation DVD to accompany your expensive purchase.
The problem is, with Windows Vista, the installation media serves more than one purpose. It's not just a way to get Windows installed, it's also the only way of recovering a borked installation. The Windows Vista DVD has a "recovery center" that provides you with the option of recovering your system via automated recovery (searches for problems and attempts to fix them automatically), rolling-back to a system restore point, recovering a full PC backup, or accessing a command-line recovery console for advanced recovery purposes.
Microsoft seems to have realized this problem, and have thankfully made a recovery disc for this purpose. It contains the contents of the Windows Vista DVD's "recovery center," as we've come to refer to it. It cannot be used to install or reinstall Windows Vista, and just serves as a Windows PE interface to recovering your PC. Technically, one could re-create this installation media with freely-downloadable media from Microsoft (namely the Microsoft WAIK kit, a multi-gigabyte download); but it's damn-decent of Microsoft to make this available to Windows' users who might not be capable of creating such a thing on their own.
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