The short answer is absolutely yes. Not directly in the way you describe, but to the same effect.
And anyone who knows me already knows what I’m about to say.
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The problem: no discs
These days you’re not getting system discs with your machine and in fact, even if you are given the option to create discs, those discs typically do not include the operating system and all the applications anymore. They’re simply something that accesses a recovery or restore partition on your machine to reset the machine to its initial state.
That all works, and works fairly well, unless the hard disk itself is what has failed. Because if the hard disk is gone then of course that recovery partition that was part of it is also gone.
Now, what I strongly advise people to do, of course, is backup regularly. That part’s easy.
What I’m hoping is that everybody has some kind of a backup regimen so that when things go wrong and they find themselves in a problematic situation, they can restore their data and hopefully their operating system to the state it was in within a few days, or at least within a certain or reasonable amount of time.
For example, in my case if the hard disk in my machine were to blow up this afternoon, I could restore to the state that it was in last night when its most recent backup was taken.
The solution: a backup image
That same backup technology, however, can be used very effectively to save the state of a machine you just got.
I now recommend that one of the first things you do when you get a new machine is to create an image backup of it. Ideally you’d do so before you do anything to it – although there’s an argument to be made that doing so after you’ve set it up and taken all of the Windows Updates is also an appropriate time.
What’s important about this image, though, is that you then save it somewhere secure, exactly as if it were the initial installation media that you used to get with the machine. That way you’ve got it some days, months, weeks, even years from now when you suddenly decide that, “You know what? I really need to restore this machine to factory settings.”
The way you do that is to restore the machine to that very first image you took. It’s actually a very simple procedure with most backup programs and it actually does accomplish pretty much exactly what you’re setting out to do. You want it set to the way you got it the day it arrived. And as long as you take a backup of what it was like on the day you got it then you’ll always be able to restore the machine to that state.