If you have a dell try pressing f11 at startup it might boot into your recovery console.
It's ctrl+F11 actually (used to work for them for 3 years)
@OP: If it is a DELL you can watch for right after the DELL splash screen for a blue bar to show up at the top that says "www.dell.com" and that will tell you if the recovery partition is still intact or not. NOTE:
This is only on some of the newer, past 5 years probably, that have this option.