Microsoft Windows Vista has a considerable change in its interface if compared with Windows XP. Most of the features and menu options are found in different places where they used to be in its predecessors. At times if you do something wrong or if your Windows Vista computer starts behaving erratically then you might need to restore it to the way it was when you purchased the new computer. This method of restoring the computer to the way it was when you purchased it is called System Recover and it Restores Windows Vista to its factory settings. All the settings, software, applications etc are rolled back to their initial form.
Every OEM computer be it a laptop or a desktop has a recovery partition present in it. If the recovery partition is not present then the user would have received a recovery disk or a set of recovery disks. This recovery partition or the recovery disks contains the image of your computer system and this image can be used to recover it back in case required. These recovery partitions contains image that can be used only for restoring the system back to the original date and does not contain any changes that you would have made while using your computer. This recovery partition or the recovery disk along with the entire operating system also contains software and drivers which you got preinstalled when you purchased the computer. So if you uninstalled several applications or device drivers after purchasing the computer then they would return when you perform the recovery and you would need to remove them again. As quoted earlier restoring the system back to factory settings makes your system just like a new one. This means that all your data would get erased and there would be nothing saved on it. So please take necessary backup before starting the system recovery because system recovery once started cannot be rolled back.
Not all but few of the computers come with two types of recovery options. One is destructive recovery and the other is non-destructive recovery. In destructive recovery all the data and your files gets erased and your system gets restored to the factory settings. In case of non destructive recovery systems roll backs itself but does not deleted or erase your data. Non-destructive recovery is a kind of repair of your computer.
Restoring the computer back to factory settings is not a feature of Windows Vista or any other operating system but it is a feature provided the computer manufacturer. The recovery can be invoked by three ways. 1) If you are able to boot the computer to the desktop then you can start it from the start menu and System Recovery option (this option could have some other name as well like Dell Recovery or HP recovery). 2) By pressing a specific key to start recovery from the recovery partition. When done control is passed to the recovery partition which then performs the restoration of factory settings on your computer. 3) By putting the Recovery disk and starting the computer. It is quite similar to the recovery by recover partition but it is done through the disk and not your hard drive.