You need to make a set of recovery disks in case anything happens to your computer and it's functioning badly or not at all, and you also need to start backing up anything like photos, music, and videos SEPARATLY from the recovery disks. The recovery disks are normally made once and then put somewhere safe. Use DVD's, you'll need at least 2. Your photo's, music, etc. are backed up separatly and are not included in the recovery disks, and they should be backed up either onto DVD's, CD's, or a portable flash drive as needed. I back up my photos and music every 2 weeks onto a portable flash drive, and to be safe I also back them up to DVD's every 6 months. Below are terms from my HP's help section. Keep in mind that if your computer ever does screw up and you need to use the recovery disks you made, then after using the recovery disks, you will need to reset all or any settings changes you made and you will also need to re-download any programs that did not come on your pc, and you will also need to re-download all of your music, photos, etc that should be backed up on separate disks or flash drives.
Recovery - The procedure for recovering your computer's factory installed operating system, software programs, and hardware drivers.
These discs are required to reinstall the operating system and any factory-installed programs if there is ever a problem with your hard disk drive. If you create your own set of discs, you do not have to order, purchase, and wait for a set of recovery discs to be delivered.
Recovery discs - Recovery discs are copies of the recovery information located on the Recovery hard disk drive. Recovery discs are created by the user and are used in the event the hard disk drive is not functioning properly.
How does a System Recovery work?
The computer operating system, all software programs, and hardware drivers are deleted. The original factory-shipped operating system, software programs, and hardware drivers are reinstalled.(in other words.. if you ever have to use the recovery disks, it would be as if you just brought your computer home brand new from the store..only that information will be on the computer, and all other stuff you've put on it will be gone unless you have backed it up onto separate disks or a flash drive.)
Your computer's hard disk drive contains a partition of space dedicated to recovery called the Recovery hard disk drive. This partition contains a System Recovery image that includes all the operating system and software programs, and hardware drivers that were originally installed on your computer at the factory.
What happens to my personal files during a System Recovery?
All personal files are deleted. If you would like to save these files for later use you need to back up your files while your hard disk drive is still functioning properly. (this is referring to how you need to put your photos, music, other progragms you downloaded, etc., back onto your computer by using the disks you saved this info to.)
When would I perform a System Recovery?
Perform a System Recovery when factory-installed software, drivers, or the operating system experience failures or loss. Performing a System Recovery is a last resort for fixing your software problems. Some reasons you might decide to do a System Recovery include:
Windows 7 operating system files accidentally were moved, deleted, or corrupted, and your computer is not responding properly.
Your computer has a virus (or other malicious software) that cannot be removed by antivirus software.
Your hard disk drive is damaged, blank, or not responding. In this case you must use a set of recovery discs.
I have an HP Vista computer, so this is how I would make a set of recovery disks... not sure if it is the same for Windows 7 or not.
How do I create recovery discs?
To create recovery discs use the Recovery Disc Creator program in the Recovery Manager. You create a set of recovery discs that can be used in the event your hard disk drive is not functioning properly. (see if you have this on your computer... to do so, click on the start button, then type in recovery disk creator.. see if that program shows up, if it does, click on it...if not, then click on start and type in recovery manager and see if that program shows up)
What is a USB flash drive?
A universal serial bus (USB) flash drive is a small, portable device that plugs into a computer's USB port. Like a hard disk, a USB flash drive stores information, but with a flash drive you can easily transfer that information from one computer to another. USB flash drives vary in size and shape and can hold gigabytes of information. USB flash drives are also called pen drives, thumb drives, key chain drives, key drives, and memory keys.
Sorry this is so long. Let us know if you get your recovery disks made and if you also back up your photos separately, and if you run into any problems with either of the 2 different types of back ups. Now go buy some DVD's and maybe a USB flash drive so your ready to download all of your computer's info.