I have installed Linux over the Windows and Recovery partitions that came with my HP Pavilion p7-1439. Before I did this, however, I copied all files from the recovery partition of the hard drive to a folder on an external hard drive. My question is: if I ever needed to go back to Windows 8 (the OS that came installed on the machine) for any reason, how could I use the files I copied to restore the machine? Or, if there is no way for that to work, is there any way to reinstall Windows 8 using the OEM license, perhaps, by using a retail disc from the web? Of course, it would be easier to use the files I copied before, if possible.
You can't use the recovery files that you copied on to an external hard drive because the HP recovery software that was pre-installed no longer exists, and even if it did exist, it looks for the recovery partition on the internal hard drive only - - there is no way to tell it to look elsewhere.
What you should have done was make a set of recovery discs when Windows 8 was still intact, using the HP Recovery Media Creator in Windows.
Or, alternatively, you could have created a backup image of the entire hard drive and saved it to your external hard drive, before getting rid of Windows 8.
The only way you can revert to Windows 8 now is to order a set of recovery discs from HP, for which you will have to pay a small charge.