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Sony Says Make Restore Discs Yourself

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 102 comments

Sometimes the smallest things can indicate drastic things are taking place.


I accompanied a friend to a Sony Style store because he was interested in buying a Sony ultra-portable. After bruising through several notebooks and asking for my opinion on which Sony he should pick up, we both decided on the TT series based on what he wanted.

After telling the in store sales person what we wanted to buy, we were taken over to a desk and the TT was brought out. As we began to examine the notebook for any signs of possible defects--like hot or stuck pixels on the LCD screen--the sales person told us that the unit doesn't come with recovery discs. In fact, the sales person indicated that Sony no longer ships recovery discs with its notebooks.

We turned our heads at each other with confused looks, simply because retail systems usually come with restore discs. At least that's how it's always been.

The sales person then explained to us that Sony now recommends that as soon as you finish setting up your new system, to go out and buy 4 blank DVD discs and run the create-restore setup.

Apparently, this is one of the new ways that Sony is trying to improve its bottom line and save on costs. As far as I know, discs are cheap, and factory-pressed non-writable discs are even cheaper to manufacture.

Is this an indication of how bad companies have been hit by the economy? Enough to exclude recovery discs with systems? It's simple enough to run the utility for the TT and most people these days have spare blanks, but what if you perform this task a few days later and something had gone wrong at the software level?

If companies are leaving out something as inexpensive as some recover discs, then we wonder what companies are making shortcuts on that aren't so obvious to the customer? Cheaper internal components may be used. Lower quality grade plastics or metal--who knows?

Have you discovered any purchases you've made recently that omitted something you expected to be there?

Discuss
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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    cregan89 , June 5, 2009 7:49 PM
    Worked at best buy. Sony and all other oem's haven't included recovery discs with their computers for YEARS. Way before the economy started to fall apart. The only laptop manufacturers I know of that include recovery discs right now are Dell and IBM Lenovo. All other manufacturers have a program that starts on first boot telling you to insert 2 blank dvd's and it will burn the recovery image onto them.
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    tixarn1 , June 5, 2009 7:47 PM
    neither my notebook or my PC came with one. :( 
  • 13 Hide
    cregan89 , June 5, 2009 7:49 PM
    Worked at best buy. Sony and all other oem's haven't included recovery discs with their computers for YEARS. Way before the economy started to fall apart. The only laptop manufacturers I know of that include recovery discs right now are Dell and IBM Lenovo. All other manufacturers have a program that starts on first boot telling you to insert 2 blank dvd's and it will burn the recovery image onto them.
  • 2 Hide
    tenor77 , June 5, 2009 7:52 PM
    Well MS should be loving this policy.
    "But I had Windows on there already. Why do I have to buy it again?"

    So what percentage of users do you think do this without being prompted?
  • 2 Hide
    exar333 , June 5, 2009 7:55 PM
    This is old news; I bought a Sony Vaio for my girlfriend 2.5 years ago and this was the approach. I don't see an issue really. If you aren't bright enough to create the restore disk, your probably the person who would toss these out, after opening you computer anyway. :) 
  • 2 Hide
    pyroholtz , June 5, 2009 7:59 PM
    What about a portion of the HDD dedicated to recovery as Dell and other manufacturers do. Now obviously this doesn't solve mechanical HDD failures, but its a start.

    Thoughts?
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 5, 2009 8:00 PM
    Read the find print, the recovery dics must be made on bluray media.
  • 2 Hide
    samely , June 5, 2009 8:00 PM
    A very low percentage actually do it. I do warranty repairs all the time, and what usually happens is they have to purchase the discs from the manufacturer after they have the machine.
  • 2 Hide
    bloody_el , June 5, 2009 8:00 PM
    I worked over at Circuit City for 8 months up till they shut down. As far as I know, only Toshiba and Lenovo carry Restore Disks. Because I did work on people's computers through Firedog, and thats the only time I've seen them. HP, Compaq, Sony, Acer, and my girlfriends Dell (from Best Buy) did/does not come with Restore Disks.
  • 0 Hide
    mikeyp , June 5, 2009 8:02 PM
    Actually this is not necessarily a reflection on the current economic climate. Sony has not been offering recovery discs for 1-1.5 years now!

    I do not agree. Discs are cheap, how many consumers won't take the effort or will mess it up somehow or have a write error in the dics. The company should make the discs.
  • 3 Hide
    producepete , June 5, 2009 8:07 PM
    I worked at Best Buy a couple years ago and at that time I only remember Toshiba models having recovery discs included. The rest was burn it yourself or have GeekSquad do it for you (for a fee of course). All in all a pretty lousy way to save a few cents at the most. Besides which, all the companies not providing discs where waiting for the user to have a crash or HD failure and then hit them up for money to provide discs (anywhere from $40 to $150 bucks for a recovery set depending on the manufacturer). Pretty lousy way of treating a customer if you ask me.
  • -1 Hide
    krazynutz , June 5, 2009 8:10 PM
    HP has a built-in recovery partition on the hdd. So that if your PC needs to be restored, you just choose the recovery option upon booting and, boom, fresh from the factory OS.
  • 2 Hide
    MrManO1 , June 5, 2009 8:12 PM
    Amongst HP, Acer, Gateway, EMachines, Toshiba, Dell, Compaq, and Sony - as of right now, only Dell provides full sets of recovery discs with their consumer level PCs. Up until roughly 6 months ago, most Toshibas came with discs and about a year ago Gateway/EMachines had the OS disc but not drivers/apps. All other discs had to be created by the user for the last 4 years or so.
    Seems like a profitable scam to me - especially on laptops. In my profession, at a large electronics chain, wearing a tie - it seems like the average laptop hard drive only lasts 2 years with some dying much sooner and some dying later. At that point 99% of users don't have discs so they have to call the manufacturer, usually dishing out another $30 (give or take) and waiting a week or two.

    It's not a way to save money, it's a way to make money.
  • 1 Hide
    t-bone steak , June 5, 2009 8:12 PM
    The money maker for Sony isn't not making the discs to put in the box at POS, it is in charging $50 for them when the client needs them after a HD failure. Maybe every person won't lose a drive, but that is the most common component failure, especially in a laptop. So say 3% of Sony laptops loses a HD, (thousands of computers) multiplied by $50 minus cost of disc... pretty big chunk of change that nobody is going to notice them making until it is too late....
  • 0 Hide
    tipoo , June 5, 2009 8:15 PM
    In my house, we have bought 3 notebooks in the last 3 years and not a single one came with a restore disk. Just a hidden hard drive partition, and *sometimes* a blank DVD. Its REALLY annoying and cheap.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 5, 2009 8:16 PM
    Really old news. Other factors that led to this:
    - making a master disk for each new laptop series is expensive, even for sony and other OEMs. There are LOTS of different models out there, and each would require a different master disk to make pressed copies from.
    - by sending the ISOs instead of the pressed DVDs, they can update the install/image whenever they want, whenever they find a bug or want to update the shipped drivers.

    These two are probably the main reasoning behind this move from the major OEMs.
  • 0 Hide
    tipoo , June 5, 2009 8:18 PM
    P.s its not just sony, HP, Toshiba and Gateway do this, and I'm sure many others do as well.
  • 0 Hide
    duanes1967 , June 5, 2009 8:19 PM
    I don't think that it is so much about money. A few years ago (OK, maybe more than just a few), our company had terrible problems providing internet support for Packard Bell, Compaq and a number of other brands. The problem was that software updates like Win95-B had been slipstreamed into production and the pressed discs were not the same as the installed version.

    Another issue is the newer flavors of MS activation that limits the number of installs. I'm sure that this is a tremendous headache for all of the vendors to support. So really, the lack of CD images is not surprising..... But you would think they could throw in a few cool colored blanks to make your reinstall set with.
  • 0 Hide
    duanes1967 , June 5, 2009 8:19 PM
    I don't think that it is so much about money. A few years ago (OK, maybe more than just a few), our company had terrible problems providing internet support for Packard Bell, Compaq and a number of other brands. The problem was that software updates like Win95-B had been slipstreamed into production and the pressed discs were not the same as the installed version.

    Another issue is the newer flavors of MS activation that limits the number of installs. I'm sure that this is a tremendous headache for all of the vendors to support. So really, the lack of CD images is not surprising..... But you would think they could throw in a few cool colored blanks to make your reinstall set with.
  • -1 Hide
    michaelahess , June 5, 2009 8:21 PM
    Acer, Gateway, some Dell's, eMachines, just to name a few, this has been going on for years, what a stupid story....
  • 0 Hide
    Hanin33 , June 5, 2009 8:22 PM
    hp does this.. and i think the system is great because you can actually setup everything the way you want it.. run the restore software that takes a snapshot of your system and gives you that plus the seperate OS and software restore discs all in one easy to access area. it pops out iso images too so you can make as many copies as you want whenever you want. i think this type of system is great for techs as we are able to generate restore discs at any time since users/owers often loose or destroy them in one way or the other...
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