I always create the manufacturer's recovery DVDs. Good grief, it's tedious, but it means I always have a 'start again' option if my own format-and-install-without-their-crudware goes up the creek.
Alternatively, or maybe as well, once the basic Windows setup is done - as soon as you get to a proper boot into Windows - take a drive image.
Then I can get up to all sorts of interesting experiments knowing that I can go back to the beginning if I need to.
P.S. All this applies to desktops too, surely?
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