• New Laptop: Windows Reset versus Recovery Media

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    I have a new computer and there is a digital download of recovery media that can be saved to a USB thumb flash drive.

    Question:  What is the difference between doing a “Windows Reset” versus using the downloadable “Recovery Media”  (assuming the computer is working fine and can boot).

    Example of “Recovery Media” download website:  https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/ht103653

    Thanks for the help.


    Viewing 3 reply threads
    • #2404604

      Recovery media loads drivers included by the manufacturer (Lenovo) and software bundled with the computer, such as Lenovo System Update, often a DVD playing utility, possibly Office software trialware.  Windows reset or a clean install from a Windows Key will install only the software Microsoft loads, and only drivers chosen by Microsoft, which may not support some advanced features of sound or video cards.

      Having usb keys with a variety of recovery methods available is fine.  If you prefer to use a clean install or a OEM configured install of windows is up to your preference.

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    • #2404612


      I tested this out and found that there was no difference between “Windows Reset” method and the “Recovery Media” that I downloaded and installed on a USB thumb drive.  It occurred to me that the “Windows Reset” method maybe uses a manufacture partition (which would be the same).  It also seems that the only advantage a USB Recovery would have is to boot from if Windows OS won’t boot on the computer.

      Not sure if I’m right.

      • #2404632

        If the main drive on the computer fails, you lose the Recovery partition on the drive too.
        By having the Recovery on the flash drive, you can do a factory reinstall (which includes the proper drivers and any special s/w) on a new replacement drive.

        Put the flash drive in a safe place.

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    • #2404636

      It’s far more important to make a note of your bitlocker recovery key off machine and get the firmware and the machine generally up to date than to worry too much about recovery initially.

      Be aware Windows reset can also be started from the “on disk” recovery options, and comes with the choice as to if your files are retained (which is not a reliable backup, more a hopeful gesture, and the added apps are not your files..).

      I would expect the manual for your model to indicate how to start the on disk recovery process, and from that manual you also need a note of what key to press at boot to access the boot menu so you can start either of the other three options.

      Most recovery is for Windows alone – so if you download and install apps, remember to squirrel away the latest installer downloads and any licensing details, email addresses, passwords used (Keep ALL passwords you used on record, note the date you changed against the old password in case something at the far end goes screwy and a password change is rolled back without you knowing).

      If you change antivirus remember to download the removal tool for the outgoing product and use it after you have uninstalled the initial product and rebooted, and reboot again after using the removal tool, before installing the replacement product and updating it manually to be sure it’s working. Test by going to https://www.eicar.org/ – you shouldn’t be able to get near many of the downloads!

      On a laptop (you didn’t say..) be AWARE of the number lock key as on a lot of those the middle key bunch become numbers when that’s on which can result in you validly setting a password where some letters are replaced by numbers!) Windows usually warns about Caps lock but not number lock..

      If you want to do the whole machine you need a more significant backup solution – delve in here:


      Three options for a recovery USB:

      Microsoft USB – just Windows, newest version.

      Recoverydrive (just type that in the run box..) – a back up of your current Windows install state, and drivers but NOT necessarily apps.

      The lenovo download – looking further down their page it likely won’t contain everything (even the newest build of Windows) – but it seems likely it will use Lenovo update to fetch it. This is probably more for older systems where the user has tried to start over and it’s gone awry.

      I guess which you choose to use depends on what you want to do with the machine. If you want it clean of extras you’re probably going to need the Microsoft key but if you plan to just start it and use it suggest once you have it updated create the recovery drive. Then again USB flash drives are cheap enough to make all three and keep them aside. Most Lenovos will ultimately attain enough updates to work even installed from Microsoft media as they leverage BIOS level technology to get the Lenovo updater software installed (which is why an up to date BIOS is sensible).


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    • #2406634
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