Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Will System Recovery Delete My Programs?

Most computers today come with manufacturer software and a partition on the hard-drive to provide the ability to do a “System Recovery”, oftentimes accessed through a program called “Recovery Center”.

hard-drives progs

I have received several inquiries recently as to whether or not running a “recovery” will remove (“delete”) installed programs and files.

A: Well.. Yes and no. It will “delete” your installed programs, and no, it probably won’t “delete” your files.


What the recovery software — when launched — will do is offer to copy the files on your machine to a backup location,{usually, it depends on the manufacturer, but most do} and them restore them again after it wipes out your C:\ drive and re-Installs Windows.
(Actually, a factory “image” of your machine taken right before it left for market.)

[note: you already have a copy of your files.. right? You do make backups.. right?!? If you answered, “uh.. no, not yet..” please read this.]

Your computer will basically be “restored” to factory defaults, and you’ll have to reinstall all your programs, and visit Windows Update, and tweak your Desktop.. deja vu all over again. But, the contents of your Documents folder will be copied back.

Because of this, you should consider this type of recovery a method of last resort, not to be tried until other methods — such as the built-in Windows’ System Restore — have been tried first.
Maybe.. call a Pro first?

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Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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October 6, 2008 - Posted by | advice, computers, file system, how to, PC, software, System Restore, tech, troubleshooting, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. […] admin wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptMost computers today come with manufacturer software and a partition on the hard-drive to provide the ability to do a “System Recovery”, oftentimes accessed through a program called “Recovery Center”. […]


    Pingback by Will System Recovery Delete My Programs? | October 6, 2008 | Reply

  2. I recently copied and installed a game to my laptop, but due to some problems on my laptop ( that started before I copied the game) I decided to restore my laptop to an earlier date. After the restoration however, the folder with the game was still there but the launcher or setup file was not present anymore. Is there a way to recover them?


    Comment by Ayuk | June 27, 2014 | Reply

    • Ayuk,
      A “system recovery” (the topic of this article) and “System Restore” are two different things. I presume you used the latter to “go back to an earlier date”.

      Your question is a puzzler, as System Restore shouldn’t/doesn’t affect your files.. (meaning, your executables in that folder should be there.. meaning.. maybe something else deleted them..? Your antivirus, maybe?)
      You might try going back into System Restore and “Undo last restore”. If that restores the files, copy that folder to a thumb drive or CD, then repeat your repair. Then copy back the folder.
      If that doesn’t work, you might try an undelete utility like Recuva.

      But you might also look in your security product’s quarantine (or ‘activity history’). Since you don’t have the install CD, and used the phrase “copied”, I wondered if the game is not a crack, or bootleg from a friend. It may have been removed by your AV. (cracks and Torrents often are/contain Trojans [and violate DRM].)


      Comment by techpaul | June 27, 2014 | Reply

    • You’re welcome, Ayuk.


      Comment by techpaul | June 28, 2014 | Reply

  3. If you do a System Recovery back to the factory defaults, does it create another factory recovery point if something goes wrong? In other words, I restored my computer to factory defaults, does the initial factory recovery point still exist in case it is needed at a later time? AKA – Is the partitioned drive still in tact? All files were backed up on a disk prior to doing the recovery, so there was no need to have the computer create a back-up file. How do I check and see if the “factory default” is still there? Thank you


    Comment by Ann | March 5, 2015 | Reply

    • Ann,
      The “factory reset” type of recovery only affects the C:\ drive and does not write over itself on the D:\ drive. So yes, you can do another reset at another time, and again restore it to “like the day I bought it” state.
      As for how you could ‘double check’ that, well, you can’t really except for launching the process again. But you can click the Start button, then “Computer” and look and see if D: Recovery (or similar name) is still there; and if it will let you, you could double-click on D: and verify that there are files in there (hopefully one large one).. but you really don’t need to. (You may not be able to open the recovery partition/drive, as they are ‘locked’ to prevent any changes.)


      Comment by techpaul | March 5, 2015 | Reply

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