Cruising through www.dell.ie the other day checking out the spec. on a PC for a customer I happened to note that Dell are no longer supplying a Windows operating system disk as standard with new PCs. This is, according to their website, because they now include a "recovery solution" pre-installed on their Dimension desktop PC range. As their website says:
PC Restore recovery solution by Symantec® comes pre-installed on your computer's hard drive. If you require CDs to perform advanced tasks choose the CD for the operating system you selected above.
If you want the OS CD you'll have to fork out €6.05 extra for it and the same applies to the Resource CD which contains system drivers and utilities. In theory, if you have a pre-installed "recovery solution" you shouldn't need the OS disk or driver disk. If you need to reinstall the OS just press F10 at boot and follow the on-screen instructions to restore your PC back to factory condition. Great. But what happens if your hard disk goes pear-shaped and takes your pre-installed "recovery solution" to hard disk heaven? Then you'll wish you had purchased the OS disks. This is one of the reasons I feel the customer should always be supplied with the disks. Another reason is that there are extra tools on this disk, such as the Recovery Console and Backup Tool, that are not necessarily installed by default.
Whether Dell will supply you with an OS disk three years down the line when you are faced with a corrupt master boot record remains to be seem. My advice is to tell the Dell salesperson that you'll buy the machine, but only if they will throw in the OS and Resource CDs. I doubt they will risk losing a sale over €12.10. But then again, you never know.