I just got a Toshiba Canvio 1TB USB 3.0 desktop external drive model HDWC110XK3J1. I also got a new PC running windows 8. I tried to save the windows recovery files to the external HD and it seemed to work fine. But when I look at my external HD properties, windows calls my drive "Recovery" and only recognizes it as being 32 gigs and FAT32. did I accidentally re-format my new drive? How can I correct this? help is greatly appreciated.
Go into disk management, delete all partitions by right clicking on the right section of the window for that drive, and then right click on the left section that has the disk number, like disk 1 or whatever, and select convert to GPT disk, then format NTFS to the full drive size.
You should save the recovery partition in the event that you need to use it.
I haven't yet worked on the issue of reinstalling an OEM version from a legit downloaded iso image with your OEM key, which would be necessary if your HDD died. One issue is that the activation key is embedded in the bios for OEM machines and you need to use a program to recover your key as a first step. Another is that you need a specific type of disk image to allow use of the key.
Windows 8 is not as easy to work with yet in this area, it was and still is easy in Windows 7 to do a clean install from a downloaded image from Digital River (the 30 day trial), and then activate it with your OEM key. For some reason, Microsoft has decided to make life tougher for OEM machine users.
edit: one other thing for you to do -- read all your info that came with your computer to see if you can make a set of the re-installation disks from that partition in case the HDD fails. When they stopped shipping install disks, many OEMs made it possible to create your own disk set in case of such an event. I am told that some models that do provide for that use 4 CDs rather than just a DVD, so if your machine will do it make sure you have the correct media.