HP has had a number of different recovery strategies for our PCs over the years, often changing significantly depending on the series, operating system, customer segment, etc. I'll try to summarize what is relevant today and what I think should be considered when deciding how to recover. Let me know if there are any questions!
We don't use HP Recovery Manager anymore!
Starting around the time Windows 10 released, HP consolidated all PC recovery processes into one solution, the HP Recovery Manager. It had a few features like disc/usb media creation, HP recovery partition, on-disk recovery from F11 or in Windows. There are detailed instructions here if you need to review them.
Starting last year, however, HP decided to no longer support HP Recovery Manager on newer models. There were a number of reasons, but mostly it was because the process for including HP applications pre-installed on Windows 10 PCs was changed by Microsoft. Apps (called UWP) needed to be available in the Microsoft Store to be included pre-installed on PCs.
If your PC was released before the change, you can still use the HP Recovery Manager. You may need to update the app to the latest version by downloading the softpaq on the driver page for your model. If you created recovery media using HP Recovery Manager, the media will still work.
But HP doesn't recommend using HP Recovery Manager in Windows 10, even if you can. Only in extreme troubleshooting scenarios should you be expected to return to factory conditions.
Use Microsoft Reset instead
It's just as reliable to use Microsoft Reset as your recovery solution in most cases. And there are advantages to using Reset over HP Recovery Manager. For one, it's faster to complete the process. And you can decide to keep your files and settings if you like. Most importantly, there are fewer updates to download and install after you are back in Windows. If your PC came with an earlier version of Windows 10, the reset process will keep your latest known good version. There is no need to upgrade to the latest spring or fall update.
If you want to install a fresh version of the OS from scratch, you could always download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool from Microsoft and install the latest version of Windows using the clean install instructions. Provided you didn't significantly replace the hardware in your PC, OS activation should automatic.
HP Cloud Recovery
If you really intend to return to factory conditions, your best option might be the HP Cloud Recovery solution. You'll download a tool that connects to HP services and creates recovery media specific to your PC. It can be run from any Windows PC connected to the Internet.
HP has been working on expanding the number of home/consumer models that are available. I think the latest is models sold since 2016 are included. You can check here if your model is included.
The tool is different for business PCs so be sure to use the one approprate for your model.
Order disks from HP
As a last resort, you can still order media directly from HP. This doesn't include every model and the process can be different in some countries. There is usually a fee involved to cover the cost of shipping and media.
I've pasted in a table below we use to train support agents at HP. It helps give a picture of each of these options and what they mean. We are always updating this list so I'll check back in and revise when needed.
|Customizations||Microsoft System Restore|
(to previous date)
|Microsoft Reset this PC|
HP Cloud Recovery
|Microsoft Windows 10 Media Creation Tool||Order media from HP|
|Using Microsoft System Restore (Windows 10, 8)||Resetting Your Computer (Windows 10)||Installing Windows 10||Obtaining PC Recovery USB Drives or Discs|
|To Launch from|
inside Windows 10
|Search for restore, select Create a restore point|
System Properties opens with the System Protection tab selected.
On the System Protection tab, click System Restore
Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery> Reset this PC > Get started
|In Windows, search for Cloud Recovery, right-click HP Cloud Recovery Tool, and then select Run as administrator.|
Start> Settings > Update & security > Recovery>Advanced Startup>Restart now
|To Launch from outside Windows 10||Press F11 upon restart|
Select Advanced Options
Select System Restore
|Press F11 upon restart|
Select Reset this PC
|Boot to the USB device that was created using the HP Cloud Recovery Tool to recover your system. Follow screen steps and instructions.||Requires internet connection to create Installation media|
Boot to installation media created
|Boot to media|
*Dependent upon PC spec and connectivity speed
|System restore time is dependent on the amount of data present within the last restore point. Restore time could take +/- an hour. If the restore point is not the current Windows version, it may take up to 2-3 days to download and install Microsoft quality and security updates.||PC Reset from F11 prompt takes about 20 minutes or more. Additional download (4-5GB) (dependent on internet speed) and installation time is needed to obtain the latest build, software, and updates since the RTM was made.||About 1-4 hours depends on the speed of network and PC specifications. Additionally up to 2-3 days of Microsoft quality and security updates including download and install time (this time may vary depending on when HP image media was created).||When using a Microsoft Windows 10 Media Creation tool, initial installation time is about 30-45 minutes. Additional download (4-5GB, dependent on internet speed) and installation time is needed to obtain the latest build, software, and updates since the CD image was made.||Shipping time + recovery. About 30-180 minutes Install (depending on image size). Additionally up to 2-3 days of Microsoft quality and security updates including download and install time (this time may vary depending on when HP image media was created).|
|OS||Restores the PC back to when the last restore point was created||Restores the RTM state of the currently installed version of Windows||Return a computer's software configuration to its original condition, without latest updates||Restores to the most current version of Windows that was available when the Microsoft media was created.||Return a computer's software configuration to its original condition, without latest updates|
|Drivers||Restores PC back to last restore point created||All drivers are kept (Only INF based drivers are kept. Device applets installed outside of INF are NOT kept)||The drivers are restored to the original software build from when the HP media was created||Drivers are received from Windows Update server||The drivers are restored to the original software build from when the HP media was created|
|User data (picture, documents, music, videos, desktop shortcuts)||Restores PC back to last restore point created||Choose an option|
- Keep my files
- Removes everything
Need to reinstall
Need to reinstall
|Personalized Windows settings||Restores PC back to last restore point created||Personalized Windows settings are saved in cloud via Microsoft connected account. Local account need to reset password.||Need to reset||Reinstall to original state to media when created||Need to reset|
|Restores PC back to last restore point created||Provisioned Store apps are kept||Reinstall to original state to HP Media build||Reinstall to original state to media when created||Reinstall to original state to HP Media build|
|Restores PC back to last restore point created||All user-installed Store apps are discarded||All user-installed Store apps are discarded||All user-installed Store apps are discarded||All user-installed Store apps are discarded|
|Restores PC back to last restore point created||All HP preinstalled desktop apps are reverted to factory state. Keeps HP preinstalled antivirus as the default||Reinstall to original state to HP Media build||Reinstall to original state to media when created||Reinstall to original state to HP Media build|
|Desktop apps (User-installed)||Restores PC back to last restore point created||All user-installed desktop apps are discarded||All user-installed desktop apps are discarded||All user-installed desktop apps are discarded||All user-installed desktop apps are discarded|