HP TouchSmart 420t Recovery Discs + Software

imageMy mom desperately needed a new computer (she's still running XP on a very old Dell), so I decided to pick up one of HP's new TouchSmart 420t machines for her, thinking it'll also be a great machine for Windows 8 when it arrives.

HP, in their infinite wisdom, decided that, among other annoyances, one can only create a single set of recovery media from the included Recovery Media Creation application.  Once you make the set, that's it.  If you lose the media, or if you want to make a second set on USB instead of DVDs, you're out of luck, short of ordering the media from HP for a price.

If you are stuck in this situation, there is an easy fix, assuming you still have the Recovery partition available on the hard drive.

  1. Open up an Administrator command prompt window
  2. Change to the D drive (D:)
  3. Change directories to D:\HP\CDCreatorLog (cd \hp\CDCreatorLog)
  4. Delete the ResumeSnapshot.xml file (del ResumeSnapshot.xml)
  5. Restart the Recovery Media Creation application

Alternatively, you could try downloading, saving, and running this batch file as an Administrator: HPRecoveryReset.bat .

A second issue I have is that they don't have their TouchSmart software and other client-side pieces on the driver and software support page on their site.  So, if you want to do a clean install of Windows and then selectively add back certain features, such as the HP TouchSmart shell, or the HP client utilities, you are, once again, out of luck.  However, there is a bit of a workaround.  On the C: drive in the SWSETUP directory, you will find a number of these applications in their installer state so they can be put back on the machine.  Simply copy this directory off somewhere safe, clean install Windows 7, restore this directory, and then install the software and drivers you need/want.

This may (and probably will) work for other models of machines from HP that use the same recovery software and drive setup.  Of course, this is a YMMV fix, but it has worked here without issue.  However, it does make me question purchasing another HP machine in the future.  If anyone from HP happens to stumble upon this, please take this into consideration.  Don't make it difficult for users to restore their machine and/or do a clean install of Windows.  You're not winning people over by making things cumbersome.  Then again, you're out of the hardware business so I suppose it doesn't much matter.

I hope to throw Windows 8 on the machine for a quick spin before I remove it and hand it over to my mom and will report back here if I find anything noteworthy in the install/usage of Win8 on the machine.