It's more or less a copy of Windows as well as any other software that came pre-installed on your computer. It's there so you can directly recover your computer from it or, better yet, burn a set of recovery disks (instructions) from which you can restore your computer should you ever encounter massive corruption, malware attacks, or hardware failure and have to start over. Once you burn a set of recovery disks, and ensured they work, you may reformat that partition and use it for additional storage if you wish/need.
Hope this helps,
Ihave a new HP desktop running Vista. When I pull up My Computer it shows all of my drives. Drive C - hard drive - Drive J - is my external drive and then it shows Drive D labled Factory Image. What is this? Can anyone tell me. When I explore the drive I honestly have no idea what I'm looking at. Can someone explain in simple terms please what Drive D Factory Image is. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me. Vista's been giving me problems after only a month, the boot record was corrupted and I had to reinstall to factory condition - needless to say,didn't have everything on external drive and lost a lot. Live and Learn.