Alternatively referred to as a boot disc, system restore disc, restore CD, recovery disc, and recovery disk, a restore disc is a CD or DVD included with many OEM computers that can restore the computer back to how it was when originally purchased. Using these discs often makes reformatting easier for most users because all of the settings, drivers, and requisite software are included. Computer manufacturers (e.g., Dell, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba, etc.) may ship a recovery disc with their products or allow you to create one.
Tip: Many of the new computers no longer come with a restore disc or CD. To restore these computers, use the hidden recovery partition.
What do you do with the restore disc?
To use a restore disc place it in your disc drive while the computer is on and then either restart the computer or turn the computer off and wait a few seconds and turn it back on. As the computer boots with the disc in the computer if the boot options are set up correctly the computer should boot from the disc and allow you to start the restore process.
Lost restore disc
If you have lost your restore disc and don't have a hidden partition, contact your computer manufacturer for a replacement. If your computer manufacturer is out of business, you may be able to find a restore disc through an online auction site or a third party website that specializes in restore CDs.
Alternatively, you can purchase a copy of Microsoft Windows or other operating system and install it onto your computer. However, keep in mind that only installing the operating system will not restore any of the programs that came included with your computer and may not install all of the necessary drivers.