While I strongly agree that you should FIRST ...
create your recovery media (your hard drive can up and quit on you at any moment) you can also make use of the recovery from boot up.
Since you didn't mention your exact model I can only point you to an HP Support page you can work from.
From that point, after selecting your model (or entering your product name/number) the correct model page will open (if you didn't enter your actual product name/number you will get a model series page to select the exact product you have).
When you get to the page that lists:
Solve a problem
Having a problem with your product? Find your solution here.
Software & Driver downloads
Looking for software & driver updates? Download available software & drivers here.
Setup and install
Connect, install or verify installation of your product.
How to use
Enhance your product ...
Select Setup aqnd Install and in the resulting page select Syustem Recovery and in the page that brings up (lots of pages so far but we are almost there) select Performing an HP System Recovery in Windows Vista
Now you have the full set of instructions for performing the recovery from within Vista, when you power up the computer, and also with the recovery disks.
This step (crucial to every method) is sadly too often overlooked and overlooking it can cause real problems:
2. 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.
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