you used something like Partition Magic or Disk Director to expand (resize) the partition or unhide it allowing you to delete the updates ?
Sounds like the inevitable user headache and a possible money maker for (HP) Tech Support.
I own an HP Compaq purchased in Nov 2006. 120Gig, 512RAM.
May I suggest you end a futile search for the perfect solution to this problem. There is no workaround in Windows XP O/S to stop the recovery partition from filling up unless you turn off Automatic Updates. Even then updates to any of the other factory installed programs could be downloaded to it.
Email from HP Support:
"The system will automatically update the recovery partition information.... This is a built-in feature of Windows XP."
HP's suggestion: "disable 'low disk space' error message".
Offered to download this patch:
Here's what I ran into:
Rather than depending on my own set of Recovery CDs, I purchased a set from HP intending to manipulate the size (increase) and format type (NTFS) of the partition during installation. However, there is no prompt during that process to do so. Back to square one. If Automatic Updates is enabled, over time any updates to factory software programs are going to bloat the recovery partition again.
With no obvious Windows fix for this, the only thing that has been suggested in other forums is add another hard drive and install the recovery CDs on it. Then delete the recovery partition on the internal drive making sure you have the back-up CDs in a safe or bank vault.
I have learned a valuable lesson buying a product set-up this way and will be more careful in the future.