IF you had the same model laptop then the worst that would happen if you use your homemade recovery discs is that the computer wouldn't work.
Much more likely is that the OS will detect the hardware changes and ask you to "reativate windows"
(re-enter your COA)
Even a minor hardware difference between then can cause you to have the wrong
driver installed for something... likely you will have to reinstall the drivers for the hardware
(this isn't as traumatic as it sounds)
HP's are generally easy to deal with because IF after restoration the computer will open a browser and go online HP's will "Autodetect" (on HP-Compaq support.com) for the correct drivers.)
If it won't go online it's easy to reinstall the chipset driver, the video driver and the network
(either wired or wireless) by downloading them to a thumb drive then installing them on
the computer being "Restored" THEN proceeding to "run the list:" of other drivers on the HP website.
If you did something similar... say... swapped your HDD to his notebook literally the worst that would happen is the OS would detect the differences and (once again) ask you to "reactivate" windows by entering your CoA number (Don't!)
Worst case? the OS doesn't "authenticate".... and you have to call either HP-Compaq for support OR Call MS to reactivate your OS.
Remember, you BOUGHT a copy of the operating system with your computer
and though MS might give you a little arguement about it they will eventually give in and
On a Dell the only reason it wouldn't reactivate would be if your CoA had already been repeatedly used
OR you were trying to restore to a different version... and then it would only matter on Windows7..
XP or Vista self authenticate when the OS drive is moved between multiple different model computers... yeah I've actually done this purely to see what would happened when I did it.... and frankly even taking the Windows 7 HDD from my notebook and plugging it into an older GX280 the computer would start and run... all the drivers were wwrong and it asked me to "reactivate" windows but even then it gave me 30days to do it....
HP-Compaq and Dell are the easiest to perform recovery on.
"break" something? not likely.
I'd be more worried about WHY it became corrupt and generally that suggests a hardware problem...
And frankly more likely than not that means the HDD... more specifically the :"low bidder" (usually
Hitachi on an HP) HDD....
So BEFORE you restore if that notebook is more than a year or so old I'd strongly advise making an investment in a new hard drive for it.
Personally I recommend Western Digital, but Seagate drives are good too
(I've generally had less arguement from WD when one fails under warantee)
Presuming his notebook is new enough to use a SATA Hard drive rather than an IDE (more expensive older style) Typically expect to spend $50-$60 for a mail order 320gb drive.
I recently replaced the 160gb drive in my 18month old Dell 1525 notebook with a 320gb drive for all of $45 shipped. I wanted to preserve the original OS install and the best way to do that
was to keep the old HDD.
Frankly a situation like this is only a "big deal" because you don't already know how to deal with it.