HPA in laptops as an alternative choice to a recovery disc

Vendors of laptops may give a recovery disc or may not. Makers who don’t give the CD to their users generally put the original Windows OS installation to the special partition along with a tool which is capable of deploying this OS installation back to the drive.

Such a partition containing the OS is placed in the end of the drive and hidden from the Windows by the means of HPA (Host Protected Area, described nicely e.g. at www.disk-space-guide.com).

The recovery process for a laptop with Host Protected Area can be the following:

  • you press certain keys during startup sequence
  • BIOS discards HPA limitations
  • Windows is loaded off the appeared recovery partition
  • a special tool starts from this partition. This tool formats the drive and copies the factory Windows installation to the disk.

When the recovery is complete, HPA is set back. After this process is complete the laptop is as good as new from the store, software-wise.

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