HP System Restore Feature

Good evening!

A friend from work has an HP at home.  Her child somehow pressed F10 on boot which launched & started the System Restore feature.  From what I understand, HP creates a partition on which it keeps the Win XP image in case the OS gets corrupted.  Is there any way that the information that was on the hard drive before the system restore utility was run can be recovered now?
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First of all, tell him to don't use the HD. He is already overwriting data with System Restore and the probabilities of getting a full recovery are decreasing with every read/write.
Take a look at this post for recovery software: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Q_21335490.html . Also, you can do a more extensive search, as data recovery questions are fairly common in this site.
if it was a system restore, you can simply undo it.
Click Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, then System Restore.
At the Welcome to System Restore screen
if there is an undo restore, select it, otherwise
select  Restore My Computer To An Earlier Time field.
Click Next.
Select a Restore Point screen will appear.
Select Any Date on the calendar that is in bold colors, click Next.
This will restore the system to the configuration it had on the date chosen.
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if it was the factury system restore  - i think the common name is system recovery - (not the xp system restore) i doubt you can recover much from that drive without specialised  software.
however, if you want to try to recover, slave the disk to a working PC, and  :
1- look if any data can be copied from it
2-try any of the recovery softs below - use the free downloads to test if you can recover, then pay for it.

http://www.grc.com/spinrite.htm                              Spinrite
http://www.runtime.org/                                    GetDataBack
http://www.stellarinfo.com/                                    Stellar
http://www.bitmart.net/                                    Restorer 2000
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/restoration.html                        Restoration
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/activeundelete.html                  Active undelete
http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/UK/welcome.htm                  pc Inspector
http://www.handyrecovery.com/download.shtml                        Handy Recovery
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/smartrecovery.html                  flash recovery
http://www.ontrack.com/                                    ontrack
http://www.ontrack.com/easyrecoveryprofessional/                  Easy Recovery
http://www.cgsecurity.org                                    Test Disk + utils
http://www.z-a-recovery.com/setup.exe                        zero assumption
http://www.stompsoft.com/recoverlostdata.html                        Recover Lost Data
http://www.recovermyfiles.com/                              RecoverMyFiles
http://techrepublic.com.com/5100-1035_11-1051391.html#            Disk Commander
http://us.mcafee.com/root/package.asp?pkgid=105                  EasyRecovery
http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/10031                        VirtualLab Data Recovery

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hp has a feature to use F8 at startup for "system restore"
if it is a matter of data recovery, getbackdata has had a GREAT track record www.runtime.org
knowing which model hp can help, because they seem to have different hotkeys for different functions
F10 is simply bios setup (in some models), and if that's the case, you can simply press F10 at boot and select
system default or factory default or load fail safe default to reset any changes that may have been made.

Does windows start, but without programs installed?
Can your friend see data on the drive?
If so use the "system restore" feature as mentioned above.
fattumsdadAuthor Commented:
It's an HP Pavilion a520n.  "System Recovery" (F10 on boot) was used.  OS is good to go, but all personal data is gone.  She's mostly concerned with the loss of her pictures.  

nobus had a long list of recovery software, as I said getbackdata has an EXCELLENT track record. some will be lost because of overwriting, however.

what is wrong with hp to allow a single hotkey to wipe out a system?
There normally will be two recovery options available in the HP desktops
1)Destructive recovery and
2)Non destructive recovery.

Destructive recovery will partion the whole hdd and reinstall the O.S
whereas NDR will retain saved files but not the installed applications(which you've to reinstall again)

NDR can be performed using the below instructions

Recovering from recovery discs
I believe Hp provides an option to create a Recovery one time CD which you can create only once.
Instructions for creating recovery cd's
start->hewlettpackard->hp pavillion/presario pc tools->hp pc recovery cd creator.

In case if you had already created Recovery cd's
-use it as per the below instructions
-you created recovery cd's and lost it then you have to order for it.
Use the following steps to recover the PC from a set of recovery discs (either CDs or DVDs):

Before recovering, back up files from the My Documents folder and from other folders you may have created.

Disconnect all connected devices (such as the Personal Media Drive, USB drives, printer, and fax), remove media from drives, and remove any recently added internal hardware. Do not disconnect the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and power cord.

Turn on the PC and press the Esc key when the first logo screen appears.
Insert the first recovery disc into the top CD or DVD drive.

Use the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to select the CD or DVD drive containing the recovery disc, and press the Enter key to start.

If a screen displays "Press R for recovery options", press the R key.

A screen with a list of options should appear: R, F, and Q. These options can change depending on the state of the hard drive. For example, if the hard drive is new, only R lists.

Select one of the following methods depending on the type of recovery method you want to perform:

Press R to perform a standard, non-destructive system recovery.

Press F to perform a destructive recovery. This will format the hard drive. If the hard drive is new or has had the recovery partition damaged, this option will also create new partitions and format the drive.

Press Q to quit recovery.

Read and respond to each window and screen that appears.

NOTE: When changing discs, do not press the OK button. Instead, wait for the drive to read the disc and automatically continue the recovery.

NOTE: If you are using a supplemental recovery disc (select models only), you must remove the supplemental disc before restarting the PC.

After the System Recovery is complete, the PC restarts and continues into Windows setup. Complete the setup screens and wait until the computer finishes the setup.

NOTE: It may take a long time to complete Windows setup. This time varies and may take over several hours. Recovery times are most affected by using recovery discs that were ordered from HP and/or the amount of files that were stored in the user account folders (Like My Documents and the Desktop).

Before using your PC, update and protect your PC. For more information, refer to Things To Do After Performing a System Recovery in Windows XP .

Hope this has resolved your issue.

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