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I might soon have to change my hard drive for a new one as it is starting to show signs of ceasing to work properly. I am running Windows 7 and have a recovery partition on the current hard drive from which I can restore the entire system in case something goes bad. If I replace my hard drive, I will lose this partition. SO, is there

  1. A way to download and reinstall such partition from the manufacturer's site (in my case sony).

  2. A way to back it up and restore it to the new hard drive, perhaps using some other operating system (this has the disadvantage that since my hard drive is beginning to malfunction, some bytes may be copied incorrectly, causing the whole system image to be useless).

Or, do I need to purchase a separate copy of windows and reinstall it on my new hard drive (in which case I would also lose all the sony vaio customizations which came with my laptop)?

Thanks.

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I can't say for sure as I don't have a Sony, but some manufacturer allows you to burn a copy of your recovery partition into DVDs. So instead of having your recovery partition on your HDD, you have it externally on a DVD. And after that, perhaps the recovery DVD will re-create the recovery partition on your new HDD. –  Darius May 16 '13 at 7:40
    
I don't think the recovery DVDs which can be built from a windows 7 system are the same as the software found on the recovery partition. Please correct me if I am wrong. –  Jason Posit May 31 '13 at 12:12
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If your current drive is still functioning, the best thing for you to do would be to buy a replacement hard drive with equal or greater capacity and use some disk cloing software to copy the failing hard drive to the new one. This way, you will not have to reinstall windows, and you can keep your recovery partition.

Another option if something goes wrong is if you can get a retail installation disk of the same version of Windows that your computer came with. Then you can install Windows and use the product activation key from the sticker on your computer. Note that you may have to end up calling the 1-800 activation number to get it to successfully activate. I have done this several times with success. I believe it works on any version of Windows 7 except for the Starter Edition, though I have only tried it with Windows 7 Home Premium. As for how to get a retail disk, perhaps you could borrow one from a friend, or maybe you have a friend with an MSDN subscription who could download it from MSDN, or not that I can really encourage this, but you can always get a non-hacked retail install CD from BitTorrent.

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Yes, I have a Windows 7 Home Premium Disk. However installing from that disk does not give me all the goodies which came with the Sony Vaio such as some look and feel and preinstalled software, which means I would lose all the sony customizations. In particular I need to have the network driver at hand because after installing from Windows 7 disk my network card does not function properly. –  Jason Posit May 31 '13 at 12:11
    
You should be able to download all of the drivers and Sony software (probably not the customizations, but the backup tools and such) from the downloads and drivers page on the Sony support website. –  druciferre Jun 1 '13 at 22:56
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