Couple quick thoughts
1) External USB DVD
2) USB Flash Drive: Create a Bootable Windows 7 Installation USB Flash Drive
(I've used Option 1, easy all freeware)
3) How to Clean Reinstall a Factory OEM Windows 7
& Clean Install : Factory COA Activation Key
(I've done this, activates by Robo-Call to M$)
I replaced a failed HDD on my laptop using the above methods/tutorials, The Tutorials at their forum are beyond compare and are very user friendly. BC & 7 Forums are the 2 best & user-friendliest IMHO.
You may have a point to argue (no DVD drive) re:User respnsibility to create recovery disk though I doubt you'll win that argument I understand & am in complete agreement with your sentiments.
I had a similar experience with Dell. An old laptop at least 3 years past warranty, failed HDD, no install/backup methods. Contacted Dell thru their site, and long story short 48 hrs later (they shipped via FedEx free) I had an XP SP2 reinstallation disk along with 2 other OEM progs (Roxio & Power DVD) that I didn't ask for but the progs originally factory installed had reached "end of life" status...all free of charge.
But I digress (as usual) Let us know how you make out
Hope this helps.
Edited by Union_Thug, 16 January 2013 - 06:10 AM.