A few weeks back, I wrote this post on vendor websites where I also mentioned how I disliked that Gateway didn't ship a Windows CD with my girlfriend's PC and that Dell does ship that CD.
Well, her brother just bought a Dell Inspiron 9300 and guess what it didn't come with. You guessed it! A Windows CD.
Why don't computer companies ship systems with this CD anymore? It's just ridiculous. The Windows CD isn't just for doing a fresh install, it can also be used to do a "repair" install which fixes a lot of problems that can't be fixed any other way. And a XP "repair" install is non-destructive so applications ,other than Windows service packs, hot fixes and updates, don't need to be reinstalled.
Dell does provide the Windows CD for Latitude customers (although they can opt not to have it sent), and it's not like they are paying that much of a premium as most Latitude customers are businesses that get a hefty discount.
Perhaps companies stopped shipping CDs to customers after doing studies that showed that most of them throw them away, or that most customers don't know how to use them. Whatever. I guess they also assume that a computer tech will have the CD with them if they are called to fix someone's PC.
Hey PC box pushers (you know who you are...Dell, HP, Gateway, etc.) do us all a favor and start shipping PCs (all PCs) with support media. At least give the customer a choice to have the system shipped with them.
You are doing a HUGE disservice to your customers when you don't ship the support CDs with the system.
And no, a refresh CD that destructively puts the PC back in shipping condition does not count. In fact, shipping PCs with these CDs is worse, in my mind, than not shipping anything at all!
With a Windows CD, it's difficult for a customer to unintentionally wipe out their whole drive. With a "refresh" CD, it's easy for it to happen, since that is what it's designed to do.
So just include the frickin Windows and driver CDs for all PCs (notebooks and desktops) that you sell! Enough said.