No. What I mean is that when you buy a new machine with Vista or Windows 7 do you get an installation CDs/DVDs?
I haven't seen any such things for some years. The system is installed from an install-partition stored on the HD.
There is a general "Vista rescue disk" available in the internet, but it can only be used for repairing.
Well, I have personally never bought a prebuilt PC, except for a refurbished laptop with XP, for which I have a CD that I have from my desktop system (Win XP bought online for an OEM price becuase it was bought with the hardware to build the system). The laptop came with a license, which is the part that matters. IMHO, if your PC has a license code for say Vista Home, and they didn't give you a disk, your license code legally lets you use any Vista Home disk to reinstall your system, but let's not debate details... the rescue disk you saw on the internet (why doesn't spell check have internet in its dictionary) hopefully is sufficient to run the recovery environment which you can use to put the Vista MBR back on your disk, or rebuild your BCD store.
I have bought 2 machines with Vista - a desktop and a laptop. Neither had any CDs/DVDs included. Only the
install/rescue partition on the HD.
Then you should look into making disk images of your drives, just in case. Check out the open source solution (it is like Ghost, but free), Clonezilla.
If I have Grub or Grub2 installed on the MBR, can I boot the installation/rescue image partition from the HD and/or
does the rescue CD get any idea how to start fixing the HD if Grub or Grub2 is found on the MBR instead Win-stuff.
Since it is a rescue CD, hopefully it is designed well enough that it doesn't care about the MBR, or maybe it would put a Vista MBR on there real quick, if so you could always install grub again. Maybe it depends on the manufacturer, I don't know, but I would think it doesn't matter what is on the MBR. You can always back it up then restore if it does matter. My dell has a hidden diagnostic partition, but that is booted by a keypress from startup, thus it is controlled by the BIOS.
Sadly, the windows is still needed for some applications.
Desperately needed? Like what, just out of curiousity... I have some like that on my work laptop, so I don't dual boot that thing, I just stick a Linux usb stick in it and boot from it when I want Linux.
For clarification, some thoughts of mine:
1) I guess if Linux gets corrupted, it's almost always the boot
Ahhh, the booting of the machine you mean? Linux or grub do you mean? I'm not sure I fully understand.
2) Eventually Windows messes up the disk
3) Malware may cause 2) even sooner (and worse)
4) Windows disk problems can be on windows partition or broken windows files as well
So I guess for Linux it's essential to be able to fix the boot
For windows it is to be able to run disk check, fixing the boot and starting the install/rescue image
OK, I think I understand you now. You don't want an unbootable computer? Backup your data early and often, hardware failure will happen some day, that is something you can bet on.
If your system is mission critical, or a production system, just don't dual boot. I hate to say it, but dual booting can be easy and smooth as silk, but other times, things happen and fixing them can be difficult. Often not, but sometimes yes.
Not that you can always trust a disk image either, again, try Clonezilla or Ghost. If you are paranoid, make up a backup before and after you dual boot. Heck make 2, put one on DVD, and the other on tape.
Linux has file system checking tools like fsck which run automatically every so many mounts. Go to a terminal and check it out "man tune2fs" from a Live CD if you have to, or Google it.
All that being said, I have found Linux very handy to fix Windows. You can backup and restore entire hard drives, master boot records, volume boot records, the registry, etc etc. You can virus scan a Windows disk with clamav or Bitdefender Rescue CD. You can recover files when Windows won't boot.
Sorry I don't know more about the Vista specifics, or the nature of your recovery partition, but maybe you could tell us the make and model, and with luck someone else can tell you what they know.