Recovery Discs

Whenever you buy a new computer, especially when you buy it from a name brand company such as HP, Dell, Compaq, Gateway, etc., be sure you receive a Recovery Disk!

If something were to go catastrophically wrong with your installation of Windows, and the chances are high that it will, you will need to recover, aka re-install, Windows, all the drivers for your hardware and peripherals(printers and such), and all the programs that came with your computer.

Because the five minutes it takes for a company to create a recovery disk for you is five minutes the company is losing money, do not expect to have it handed to you with the computer.
You must ask the salesperson you are dealing with for the recovery CD (or DVD, if you are buying a computer with Vista installed).
Most nation-wide chain stores will provide you with a recovery CD, but they will charge you for it. If the store charges more than $10, it is a rip-off. (Most major brands of computer makers will mail you, or allow you to download and burn, a recovery CD/DVD for your exact model of computer; but you shouldnt have to ask.)

You should ask the salesperson if there is a recovery CD/DVD that comes with the machine. If one does not come with a CD/DVD, you should shop somewhere else that does provide one.

If your brand new computer comes with a recovery partition (a part of the hard drive where the recovery and re-installation information is stored), you should ask the salesperson how to access it if Windows fails to boot.

Having a recovery disc is like having jumper cables in your car; if you have them, you are less likely to need them, but you will be thankful to have if you ever need them.