I was intrigued to get a phone call from my pal Peter over the weekend, bemoaning the fact that his new laptop came with a copy of Microsoft Vista, but no recovery disk.
Novatech, the veteran South Coast PC builder/systems integrator, told Peter that the laptop has a recovery partition on the hard drive in case of problems.
And if the Vista boot manager - those few first sectors of the disk that tells the computer the location of the operating system - gets corrupted?
You're on your own, it seems, as neither Novatech nor Microsoft will issue recovery disks, even if you offer to cross their palm with silver.
A quick straw poll of other PC vendors reveals that some suppliers, notably Dell and PC World (eMachines) will supply disks as part of their telephone support recovery procedures, but only as a chargeable last resort if all else fails.
Many suppliers, however, have cut price deals on the OEM copies of Vista they're shipping with their machines, so can't offer recovery disks for any price.
Unless you want to buy a full-blown new version of Vista.
Peter isn't up a gum tree, I'm pleased to report, as he's sufficiently tech-savvy to create his own recovery disks.
I think it's worth checking about recovery disks before you buy your new PC - assuming you're bold enough to go for Vista, of course...