I have a set of three system recovery discs. I am a bit concerned that through some accident at least one of the discs could get damaged or lost. Is it possible and safe to copy the contents of the system recovery disc onto blank CD-R so that I can at least have a second copy for booting my PC should the need arise.
Being Prepared with Recovery CDs
I know a guy that often carries three sets of keys: one in each pocket and another emergency key on a long string around his neck. That way, should he lose his keys, he has a backup set in his other pocket. However, if the backup key were to fall down a gutter or something like that, he is prepared with a backup backup key and it's around his neck where it can't possibly slip out of his hands.
While it may seem redundant, making a second, or even a third, set of recovery CDs isn't a bad idea in the least - and it's perfectly safe to do. While CDs are fairly reliable, they can become scratched or even warped if exposed to excessive temperatures. You could drop a disc and it could break into pieces. I've even accidently cut a CD in half with scissors when trying to open the packaging of a USB drive. You may even have a bad recovery disc from the factory and wouldn't it be better to discover that now rather than after a hard drive crash?
Copying Recovery Discs
Since you have three recovery discs, you will need three blank CD-R discs. Make sure that your computer is already turned on before loading the first recovery CD. Otherwise, it will boot into the system recovery mode which we don't want. When inserting the disc into the already turned on computer, you may see a screen wanting to "auto-run" the disc. Don't choose that option. Instead, choose the option where you can explore the contents of the disc.
Now, use your disc burning software, such as Nero, to copy the disc. You can also use Windows XP or Vista's built-in disc burning features to copy each disc by going into My Computer and right-clicking the recovery disc in the source drive and choosing Burn to Disc from the menu. Follow the prompts to instruct Windows where to copy the disc.
If you do not have two CD drives, one as the source and the other for the burner, then you will need to create an ISO image of each disc and then copy the ISO images to your CDs. Disc burning software like Nero makes this a simple matter of following a few prompts.
Recovery CDs have their place and can restore your computer back to its factory settings in case of a computer crash or extensive damage from computer viruses. However, most of us value our computers not so much because the operating system is neat or the programs are fun, but because they store our data. Our financial documents, family photos, and creative works are what really matter. So, while you're copying your recovery CDs, take the time to backup your precious data. Better, yet, set up a regular backup system to ensure that should your computer crash, not only can you recover the operating system, you can recover your most important computing assets of all: data.
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