Dell PC Restore

| April 22, 2009 | 128 Comments

A Dell PC Restore allows you to revert your computer back to original factory settings. This is sometimes also called a System Recovery and can be done either by a set of Recovery CDs or a second partition on the hard drive that has a compressed version of the factory image on it. Either way, a PC Restore is used to wipe and take your computer back to where it was on the day you opened the box. A Dell PC Restore from the secondary partition generally will take around fifteen minutes to complete.

Warning: Performing a PC Restore will delete everything on your hard drive. Be sure to backup anything you do not want to lose.

A few other things to keep in mind with a Dell PC Restore is that you will lose any settings or applications you installed after receiving your computer. Be sure to take a quick inventory of your system and make sure you have the installation disks for new applications you’ve added. Also, you will not be able to PC Restore via the second partition to a hard drive other than one you received directly from Dell.

Backup Before A Dell PC Restore

Most people do not remember to backup everything. While they may grab their Pictures, Videos and Documents, it’s easy to forget Outlook contacts and emails, Internet Favorites from your browser, encryption keys for anything that might be encrypted and passwords that might be saved in the IE or Firefox. A good practice is to grab everything from the “Documents and Settings” folder under the C: drive in XP or the “Users” folder in Windows Vista.

How to run the Dell System Recovery

backup and run a dell system recovery

The Dell PC Restore is relatively easy once all the prep-work is done. You will boot the computer and begin tapping the F8 key. You will see an option called “Repair Your Computer.”  Select Dell Factory Image Restore and then click Next.

Click the check box that says “yes, reformat hard drive and restore system software to factory condition.”

The restore process will begin. Once it’s finished, boot back into your new Windows environment and immediately visit Microsoft Update to get any security patches that may have come out after the release of the computer. This is important.

Be sure to read our other Dell computer tutorials for more information on this topic.

Category: Dell

Dave

About the Author ()

Dave has been providing free computer repair and tech support advice online since 2002. Join us on our forums and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for weekly tips and other helpful computer articles. Connect with me on: Google+

Comments (128)

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  1. ratnaish singh says:

    good but very short.

  2. john says:

    i dont understand why i dont see that option “advanced Boot option” when i press the f8 button. i see all other stuff except that.
    i have the Dell demension 3000 series. does anyone have any idea or can help me reformat my computer?

  3. Dave Dave says:

    Not all models have a recovery partition. Is this a newer machine? If not, you can usually obtain recovery CDs from Dell for a small fee.

  4. galahal says:

    john try to hit Ctrl + F11 as soon as you see the Dell Splash Screen when you reboot the system, or if you’re havinf a problem with Ctrl+F11 like most people do just click the run button, on the page, it will show a popup window that will notify you that the PC restore will start & the system will be rebooted or notify you that no PC restore partition found. Dim3000 should have a PC restore on it. but if you have reinstalled the operating system of your computer using any OS CD or even used chkdsk /r & fixboot commands, it will wipeout the PC restore partition in your system.

  5. Dave I have entered the set up and when I choose “Repair your Computer” option my system restarts. I do not get any other options. I have shut my computer down several times and it reboots as soon as I choose the repair option

    • Dave Dave says:

      Does you model have the recovery partition? Do you have recovery disks? Maybe it is looking for disks in the drive when it reboots.

      • kamal says:

        i am able to get into advance boot option. but there i am able to find 5 option only.
        startup repair
        system restore
        system Image recovery
        Memory diagnostic
        command prompt

        the 6th option which i am looking for
        “Dell Factory Image Restore”

        i want to restore my system to the state when it shipped from dell to me.

        • kamal says:

          yes i have recovery partition of 12.25 GB.NTFS Healthy(system,active,Primary Partition)

        • Dave Dave says:

          I would look-up your model on the Dell website. The process for this might be different for your PC. When you find your model in their support section, download the manual and look in their recovery section. The manual will walk you through the process. Good luck.

          • aguirr28 says:

            hey dave have a dell inspiron 1501 laptop i tried to do the factory settings restore when i hit the repair computer it takes me to enter uesr administrative and password but i dont have one what can i do to bypass this

      • albert says:

        I have similar problem of my machine restarting after I press enter to go into Repair your computer. I used to run recovery earlier on my dell studio 1569 computer successfully, but after making my windows 7 machine a dual boot with windows 2008, I have not been able to run recovery successfully even though I have taken the windows 2008 out of the system. how do I make my machine run recovery as it used to be before. thank you

  6. Dave thanks for the reply. It does not ask for disks. My computer is two yeras old. The only disks I got with it was for the monitor etc. I have a reinstal disk for Vista

    • Dave Dave says:

      The Dell Vista install disk is what you want to boot to. it will format and reinstall Vista. The other disk is probably a driver disk, which you will need to make your network adapter, sound card, video card, etc work. Does this seem like the type of disks you have? If so, keep in mind it will erase everything–so backup. If you continue to have problems, let us know the model and we’ll try and help more.

  7. I have a Dell Inspiron 530. Any help will be appreciated, It definately is a Vista OS disk

    James

  8. Dave Dave says:

    James, I recommed you join our forums at http://www.pctechbytes.net/forums/ as this can become a long resolution. The message boards really are a better medium for this type of topic. I will research your problem in the meantime.

    I was just reading the proceedure, and the rebooting part is normal. It should be prompting you to log in as Administrator. You should then see the “Click Dell Factory Image Restore” option and follow through the prompts.

  9. Yea I will take up the invitation to join the forum. When I try and reboot pressing F8 key it asks me to go to “Repair your computer. After selecting this it should bring up another list of tools and the one I want is the Dell Factory image restore option but when I select the Repair computer prompt it just starts my computer up

    • Toby says:

      please can you help me also with this, i brought the pc second hand and when i select repair it takes me to the login screen

  10. Jessica Hart says:

    Sigh, I’ve got the same problem on a Vista xps m1530

  11. Joe Musiel says:

    I have a dell inpirion 910 and when i hit f8 i dont get a repair computer option! any ideas? This is a netbook also, and doesnt have a slot for cds/disks

    • Dave Dave says:

      Isn’t F10 or F12 the repair option on Dells? F8 is or the startup options (Safe Mode etc.) When you first boot, you should see a message that tells you what to hit for repair.

      • Johnny says:

        I have followed all the steps but when I click on the repair my computer it goes to an screen that asks for an password that I didn’t put on there. Help

        • Dave Dave says:

          Hmmm, it might be asking for an administrator password….as with most of these cases this would be easier to troubleshoot in our forums. Sign up–it’s free–and ask your question there….include as much info as you can and someone will try and help.

  12. I got a dell inspiron 1750 and I did a reinstall with the cd’s but when i had formatted
    C: drive i figured out it had a recover partition now ive lost it.
    I’ve still got d.drive with all the recovey stuff in like factory image ect ect
    but i can’t press f11 any more get get to reinstall it that way any idea how i would get it back

    • Dave Dave says:

      Hmmm. Did you use the recovery CDs you made when you go the computer or did you use a regular Windows disk? Are you holding the CTRL key when you press F11?

  13. I want to use the Dell PC Restore, but I don’t know how to back up my e-mails, address books, My Documents folders my Desktop, Favorites, etc. Please help me.

    Thanks very much,
    Tommie

    • Dave Dave says:

      Tommy, you can backup the folders by getting a USB thumbdrive or an external hard drive and copy the entire Documents and Settings folder over located in My Computer under the C drive. This will pretty much grab everything. Confirm they are backed up before you do the restore.

      Regarding email, it might also grab the email depending on what client you use. If you use Outlook you can read how to backup your data here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/287070

  14. craig roberts says:

    the recovery cds and ctrl f11 dont work etha ive lost the recovery partishon and need it back

  15. Rob Wilko says:

    I have an inspiron 2200 and about to try the dell system restore. I have had problems with my computer getting very very slow, and my cd/dvd drive is also not showing up in my computer. Is the restore a good idea ?
    cheers

  16. NICHOLE says:

    after pressing f8, then ‘repair computer’, then dell image factory restore, i go thru all the prompts and click ‘next’ …… then its says “performing factory image restore” may take over five minutes …. the bar just keeps moving for over an hour, or two, i have to manually shut it down by pressing and holding down the power button. All i want is my computer back to how it was when i opened it :( … please help i dnt have my disks

    dell xps m1530

  17. Amber says:

    Hi, I have a Dell and want to do the PC Restore. Can you tell me if this will remove microsoft office as I don’t have any microsoft programes on a disk and I don’t believe that my computer came with any. Any advice would be very appreciated. Thanks.

  18. Amber says:

    Thank you for your reply. My computer doesn’t seem to have come with any of these disks. I found a document about the PC Restore which says that certain disks won’t be needed. If it does remove Office and I don’t have a disk how can I go about re-installing it?

  19. Chelsey D says:

    i am planning on selling or donating my desktop. i’ve been advised to completely wipe the hard drive to ensure that nobody is able to hack in and recover any personal files. does running the pc restore process make my hard drive secure enough to sell?

    thanks so much!

    • Dave Dave says:

      In most cases yes–meaning unless someone is using tools to specifically look for files on the drive that have not been overwritten. Normally these files will be invisible. If you’re really concerned, look for a free program called DBaN. It will overwrite the drive so no data can be recovered.

  20. Rakesh says:

    Hello Dave

    I need to know dell factory image restore is wipe out my pc due to installion from OS disk ..is there any way to can i get my dell factory image back

  21. Rakesh Perchani says:

    Problem is that my Dell factory Image is not found in my laptop after install win 7 from DVD provide by Dell . So i need to know is it possible to get back my dell factory image setting.

  22. rose ginther says:

    advanced Boot option comes up but no repair your computer listed

  23. fyrdok says:

    I have reinstalled window vista twice on my dell inspiron laptop, I still have the (now) two ‘old’ versions of windows, is there any way to remove all versions and just have one, will this pc restore do that or is it just the same as reinstalling?

  24. James says:

    Ctrl+F11 did lead me to “Dell PC Restore by Symantec”.
    the restore seems to work for me.
    i believe it is running the Ghost utility.

  25. Bourbonite says:

    All these problems you all are having is EXACTLY why you should NEVER spend money on a Dell product, period

  26. jeri says:

    help! My parents got a nasty worm/virus (w32 blaster/worm), it won’t let me restore setting via the computer. I can’t download a patch or run a scan without it stopping it.

    I am hoping to try this F8 option or the cntrl F11 option to restore to factory settings. But what about operating systems? I dont have a cd to add to that. I only have the microsoft windows cd (5 of them), they gave us. Will those work to help get the icons back and get to basic functions again?

  27. jeri says:

    ob btw, its a Dell DIM 3000 running windows xp 2002 pack 3, worksuite 2005

  28. jeri says:

    oh, sorry I am just so frustated. I was able to go in safe mode and try to restore settings for another date, but it won’t let me restore to another date. I am out of options.

  29. tcasto says:

    For those trying to find the factory recovery on a dell inspiron 1750, we had to first complete the emergency backup (files and folders) and then it would allow a computer system recovery. ctrl f11 didn’t work and neither did the instructions on the dell website.

    Hope this helps. :)

  30. aaron says:

    ive tried doing PCrestore from the tools folder and when it starts it stops shortly after with a error message saying nothing. all it says is error. what should i do?

  31. nyi says:

    ctrl+f11 is for the ones with xp pre-installed
    to fix ctrl+f11 see this website http://www.goodells.net/dellrestore/
    f8 is for the ones with vista/7 pre-installed
    to fix f8 see this website http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/software-os/f/3524/t/19263355.aspx?PageIndex=2
    hope that helps

  32. I need to restore my Dell C521. I go into the F8 function and click on “repair my computer” and it then goes to “other user” and askes for a user name and password. I have tried everything known to man and can’t get passed this point. is there a generic password to get passed this. i am the administrator for this computer and have the correct password for all other functions but i guess i don’t have the right user name for this. help.

  33. Tony says:

    I am having the same problem as Tracy. I am running an Inspiron 1520 with Vista. ‘Repair my computer’ just takes me to a login screen ‘other user’ and none of my passwords work.

    I can’t run the PCRestore.exe through the Recovery Partiton (D:) either. It say that access to tools\dp.sc was denied OR something about PCRestore.exe not being a valid win32 app when I try to run off cmd with a USB (F:)

    I have read something about the Ctrl-F11 Function will only work once and I have used it before. But I haven’t messed with the Recovery Partition (D:) How can I fix this?

    Is there a way I can just boot into the D: Recovery Partition and format the (C:) and then run a PCRestore to reset the system?

    Thank you in advance,
    Tony

    • Andrew says:

      Hey Im was just wondering if you ever solved your dell recovery partition problem. I’m having the exact thing you described now. Any info would be appreciated

      • Darlene says:

        I am having the exact same problem with “other user” login when trying to run access the recovery partition. I know this computer was infected and suspect that part of it was making the recovery partition non-accessible. Has anyone found a solution to this. I was able to restore by booting off of a windows system disk using repair computer, then going to command prompt, got to recovery drive (whatever it is d: e;) cd\tools, then put in this command imagex /apply d:\dell\image\factory.wim 1 c:\ (make sure that at the beginning of the command the d:\dell\image you are entering the actual letter of your recovery drive. This worked for me however I still have the other user if I try to access partition from F8. Anyone has a fix for that please let me know.

        • doc says:

          For all of you having the password issue you need to create a Hirens rescue cd (at least ver. 13), and use the password utility to clear all passwords. For those wanting to wipe your hard drive for security reasons it also has DBaN and you can overwrite your hard drive to Dept. of Defense standards or better.Overwiting with random characters is best if it offers you the option (as opposed to 1’s and 0’s).
          The problem here isn’t Dell, or any other PC manufacturer. It’s Microsoft trying to save a buck (or make another buck). Since they stopped giving customers recovery disks and made this pretty much usless “Recovery Partition”. About the only thing you’re going to recover from is the migraine you get trying to use it. It’s the real garbage here.
          Most of you going through he repair your computer boot loop are going to find that your hard drive is shot like the one I’m repairing for a friend now (Dell 530s), and was ruined by either a virus (protect yourselves, there are too many good free AV programs out there to find yourself corrupted by a virus), or from improperly unplugging an external usb hard drive. You can save yourself a lot of grief by getting ahead of the learning curve and dual – booting your Windoze operating system using Unetbootin and a good Linux distribution (free I might add). It’s very simple to do…just Google it. Go to Distrowatch and spend an hour or so looking at the incredibly large list of free Linux operating systems. There’s a flavor for most everyone and you won’t have to worry about those nasty little malwares that kill Windows machines.
          Good luck

  34. Scott says:

    I have a Dell inspiron 1501 that is having many problems, the first is I cannot log on and since irony know it, I can’t reset it so I can log on and take care of my software issues

  35. Scott says:

    I’ve done like some of the suggested for others f8,and
    11 and My thing is I can’t even get there to try them…
    My user name and password née to be reset

  36. Jennifer says:

    I need to completely restore my computer to way it was shipped, and I read somewhere about a restore partition or something on the computer so that it takes it back to how it was shipped to you. Microsoft Office was preinstalled on this and I was wondering if that would be put back on my computer. I also read on one of the dell sites (customer to customer chat thing) how to reinstall but it doesn’t tell you if everything you ordered on the computer would still be there. Help!

  37. Bayu Seto says:

    i have a dell inspiron 910 (mini) and i need to restore it to factory settings. since it’s a mini, it doesnt come with any disk whatsoever. i’ve tried hitting f8 and i dont seem to find the repair option, can i just plug in another keyboard and hit ctrl+f11? or should i just buy another computer? thanx

    • That’s an older computer, so I don’t think it has a recovery partition. If it came with disks, you will need an external CD / DVD player to launch the recovery process. But since your’s did not come with disks, you can get an external DVD burner and burn a free copy of Ubuntu Linux. It’s very similar to Windows. You can run it from the DVD before you install to make sure you like it.

  38. Kham says:

    Can I restore the dell mini 910 through an external hd? I’m having an issue with “missing operating system.” Been reading alot of forums and try hitting F8 and such but nothing works. When I do use the external hd I get an error of “invalid partition table”.

  39. ken says:

    i bought a dell inspiron 2200 off a female freind of mine had to get a charger now when i try and install or download anything it asks for a username password that she cant rember she got a differnt what can i do? it wont even let my stepfather or buddy reformat i dont think. so what should i do iam at a lost?

    • Dave Dave says:

      You should be able to reformat if you have either the recovery disks or a Windows install disk. But try tapping F8 when booting and see if you have the option to do a system recovery from there.

  40. Alex says:

    I have a dell inspiron 910 mini and I want to restore the factory default. I’ve seen all the comments and suggestion to press F11 but the problem is the mini stops at F10. Can’t get to the repair mode or hard reset. Any recommendations?

  41. peaches says:

    trying to restore my computer back to factory settings. when i get to the advanced boot menu and then select repair my computer it gives me a error message saying that my computer didn’t shut down properly, so i can’t restore my computer. i have went to the sart menu and selected shutdown and that still didn’t work. can anyone help me please

  42. Fuzion says:

    Help Please, I have a dell latitude D630 and i need to restore to factory settings. when i get into advanced boot settings there is no “repair my computer” option, any ideas? :S

  43. Dan says:

    Hey, my computer is not working. when I repeatedly press F8 it asks what I want it to boot in: safe mode, normal mode and other things. I do not have recovery Cds but don’t know how to use a re-install cd of Windows XP.

    • Dave Dave says:

      Restore options will be different–especially for older PCs. I recommend visiting the Dell site and in the support section look up your model and find the manual. It should tell you exactly what to do to restore the computer.

  44. Elle says:

    Please help! System restore wiped out by viruses on my XP Home Dell laptop. Eset online scanner, kaspersky & malwarebytes removed the viruses but still no Dell splash window hence, no dell restore. I have no CD available for repair/re-install. Dell website freezes everytime I try to access My Account to try and download a repair cd. And I cannot even begin to understand Dan Goodell’s pages upon pages on partition information!! What would be the best option for me to simply get my computer back to factory settings? Is there a recovery disk/website that you can recommend? thanks.

    • Dave Dave says:

      The dell splash screen is before windows, so it should not be affected by the virus. Have you tried accessing the BIOS to turn the splash screen off? I say this because you might see where the system is hanging if the splash screen does not attempt to load. Try tapping one of the following keys to get into the BIOS when you first boot: ESC, F1, F2, F10, F11 or Delete. Regarding the recovery disk, Dell is your best option for replacement disks.

  45. shiven says:

    My laptop(I have windows 7, dell inspiron 1750) when I try to boot normally,safe mode it doesn’t. I have run drivers and utilities disk which allowed me to check for problems because I had turned off the laptop correctly and when I ran the diagnostics it came up with theses disc errors: 0F00:1332,0F00:0132,0F00:0632,0F00:0232,0F00:0432,0F00:1232. I. Was wondering if the reinstall disk would fix my problem? And I. Did my research before I posted here and everywhere it says the hard drive is completely dead because of those errors and all I can do is get a new hard drive.

    • Dave Dave says:

      The recovery discs might work. It’s worth a try. Your drive might have some bad sectors on it, but all hard drives do. If you reinstall Windows and it works, make sure to have a good backup of your data in case the drive DOES completely fail. Good luck.

      • shiven says:

        Well the reinstall disk was the recovery Disk but sadly the recovery part didn’t work. So the hard drive is fully dead but luckily everything that was on that hard drive is on my external hard drive so everything is safe.

  46. John811c says:

    When Ctrl F-11 doesn’t work because someone re sized their partition in this case added a D partition to the Hard drive this interferes with the Ctrl f11 on the system restore I found a work around Download Symantec System Recovery 2011 use that to make the DSR partition active reboot the machine and then follow the instructions on Symantec Ghost to re-install the OS back to the original out of the box configuration – do not forget to set the windows partition back to active after completing this this worked on a Dell B110 Dimension

  47. Jayne says:

    I backed up my files to an external hard drive before doing a full system restore, which worked great. Except, my backups don’t show up when I go to Windows restore and look for backup periods to restore. I can find the backups on Explorer, and can open each and every little file (tedious) but can’t seem to restore them as a unit. Any thoughts? I think I backed them up with the Dell local backup, for which Dell now seems to want $39.99 for. Before I send them more money, is there another way to get the system to recognize the backups?

    • Dave Dave says:

      I’m not familiar with the Dell Local Backup system. Sounds like it is an annual fee for this service? I hope not. Windows has a built-in backup system, too. But I don’t really recommend it. I prefer services like Carbonite, where you can see the files and download them whenever you need to. Good luck. Let us know what Dell says, so others will learn.

  48. Amanda says:

    I have a Dell M5010 and when i hit F8 at start up and I click on Repair my computer it takes me a to black screen with a grey bar at the bottom that say’s windows is loading files then it doesn’t do anything after that. I just sits there. Does it take a while for windows to load the files? I really need to get this restored back to factory settings tonight as I need my computer tomorrow for school and work. Thanks.

  49. Haider says:

    um guys i really need help.. I got a new laptop recently types Dell Inspiron what happened was i randomly got an error while searching on internet and it kept on giving warning i had to restart the pc.. but when i did so it doesn’t turn back on.. now whenever it turns on it loads and a black screen with _ blinkin.. Now when i got the laptop i made recovery disks and that’s all now if u think i should reboot my pc bout my files or anything i just want it as it was when i got it i have the recovery disks now on the main screen for setup it says F2 Setup and F12 Boot setup in F2 setup it doesn’t have any options in my opinion as to reboot or recover in F12 idk what it means it has options as Internal HDD then CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive/Onboard NIC/ Bios Setup/Diagnostics idk what to do please HELP! Thanks!

  50. Anita says:

    I tried using pcrestore.exe but get an error with no message. Any other suggestions?

  51. If you can boot to Operating System through safe mode, type PC recovery on D:drive search url. Click on it and do d recovery from there. Follow up the instructions and recover to factory defaul.

  52. denial says:

    i will be click f8 button..but nothing happend to my computer..why..??some one can help me..??:(

  53. Lumen says:

    I got a Dell Inspiron 530 and the hard drive was formatted and winxp was installed. I looked and found a FACTORY.WIM image on the second partition but i dont obviously get the F8 boot option now.

    I am able to boot on a live CD and run DOS commands, and have found out how to type

    > Imagex /apply factory.wim 4 c:

    I am able to get all the files except the bootloader and the important stuff do load. I later found out that this crappy image program doesnt do bootloaders. So dont install linux or any other OS, Dont delete the partition and dont format it clean. and oh Dont get a bootloader virus I guess and you will be ok.

    My question is for my dell inspiron 530 what is the number I should put afer the image name? A one or two or what? what does the number mean on the image? anything? thanks!

  54. David says:

    I just completed a System Restore on my Inspiron 1464 by reverting back to the factory image saved on the recovery partition. The process was quick and painless. However, after rebooting I was directed to make new restore disks on removable media (DVD-R) but what I really want is a new recovery partition in case I need to restore again in the future.

    Can anyone tell me how to recreate the recovery partition and store the recovery information I just burned to DVD on it?

    Also, Microsoft Office wants my registration key, and since it came preloaded on the machine, I don’t have it. Does anyone know who I can contact to get my registration code?

    • Dave Dave says:

      The recovery partition should still be there–you can use it every time. Regarding the product key, it is usually on the side of the case somewhere–look for a sticker with the Microsoft logo.

  55. adit says:

    pls help ..i have problem while booting..
    it says bootmgr is missing
    my laptop dell inspiron n4010 .

  56. Solomon says:

    I have a Dell INSPIRON N5030 i have used the factory recovery before and nowo i want to use it again when i select System Image Recovery I get this message that no image file is present. I checked my disk manager and i can see the recovery partitions is still there as it has always been but dont know why i cant load it when i click System Image Recovery

  57. Billie says:

    I have a dell latitude d520 and I have tried so many different ways to fix it. It has windows vista and I don’t have the restore disks. I press f8 then go to repair computer and I have tried restoring to an earlier point but that didn’t help. And I am at a loss of what I should I do to try and get it back to factory settings.

  58. Jon says:

    Hi Dave. I want to donate my Dell computer and I want to get rid of everything. I don’t have the CD and the internet. Can I do that without the internet or CD? thanks for the help.

    • Dave Dave says:

      Depends on your model. Most will have a recovery partition. When you go into My Computer, do you see both a C drive and a D drive? If so, you can usually launch the recovery partition by tapping F8 during boot and selecting it in the boot options. If you don’t see it, try looking for your computer’s manual in the Dell support website. The manual for your model will explain how to use the recovery partition. Good luck.

  59. Zachary says:

    Where can you buy The recovery CDs at?

  60. Phillip says:

    I have a dell 530s desktop….I bought it at an auction and when i turn it on it has a user name password prompt on it…I have no recovery disks since it was purchused at an auction..I need to know how to wipe it back to factory condition …please help……thanks

    • Dave Dave says:

      Tap f8 when booting. See if you can get into Safe Mode without a password. Sometimes the Admin account will not have one. Other than that, you’ll need to either buy a Windows install disk or find software to crack the password.

  61. Sadiq says:

    Hi Dave,
    I have a dell inspiron 1525, which came with a preloaded windows vista and then i replaced with an windows xp, now i dont have the windows vista CD with me, is that possible for me to reload the windows vista without the vista CD? if so, could you please explain me?

    Many Thanks
    Sadiq

    • Dave Dave says:

      Assuming you still have the recovery partition, you should be able to. If you look in My Computer, do you have a D: drive. If so, you should be able to launch the recovery partition when booting and reinstall that way. Try pressing CTRL + F11 when booting. Tap them several times. If you get into Windows, restart and try again. You should eventually come to the restore section.

      If the recovery partition is gone. You have to contact Dell and try and get the recovery disks.

  62. Hamed says:

    hello,
    I read this page and I saw the same problem!
    I have dell studio xps 1640, and I have windows vista home premium on my laptop!
    before my laptop worked very god until my hard has damaged, I bought new hard drive and install it and I also copy my RECOVERY partition exactly the same!
    right now I lost my “repair your computer” when I press F8! and I cant use my Recovery partition! even I use dell datasafe local backup I cant repair or recovery my system!
    please if you know tell me how can I bring my “repair your computer” back again!
    this is a big problem for me!

  63. uday says:

    i purchased new dell laptop which has inbuilt ubuntu and windows. but after making on i could not find windows i can access ubuntu.

    ny laptop is dell nseries with vision AMD processor

    • Dave Dave says:

      I never saw that before in a new computer. Usually there will be a screen that comes up as soon as you power on the computer, asking which Operating System you want to load. If you have a Dell screen and do not see this, you can disable the dell screen in the BIOS setup.

  64. Heather says:

    So when I go into repair my computer it only takes me to other user. I hit enter and it wants me put in a user name and password. None of my user names and passwords work.
    How can I restore to factory settings using command prompt? Please help

    • Dave Dave says:

      If you can boot into Windows, maybe try creating a new admin account with a new password. Then try again. If you can’t, see if you can get into safe mode and create the accounts there. Often, safe mode will reveal a hidden Admin account that you do not normally see.

      • Heather says:

        I tried that. it didn’t work. i even reinstalled windows. it still keeps popping up other user. everything would be fine but now i can’t connect to the internet. i had a lot of problems with viruses and i think that is what is preventing me from restoring. any other ideas?

  65. Abhinandan says:

    hello.
    I have Dell Inspiron 15R.
    I want to know that if i install another OS, will i be able to use the “Factory Default” option to recover it to original. ?

  66. Jellyfish says:

    Hi, I have a Dell XPS ONE A2010 and it was working fine until yesterday when I was watching a fil and the screen just went black half way through. I can turn the computer on but the screen us still black, u kept on turning it off and on a couple of times and the control buttons on the right side turn on too but the screen stays black. Also sometimues you hear the uploading sond, you know… But thats about it.. I have a lot of pictures and videos I don’t want to loose… What do I do.

    • Dave Dave says:

      Check your monitor. If you disconnect it from the computer and turn the monitor on it should show a diagnostic screen. If not the monitor might be shot–test it on another computer.

  67. ali says:

    My Dell Latitude D630 will power on but the screen is black….nothing will show not even the startup page for windows. What do you think the problem may be

  68. Josh says:

    Im sooooo tired of my crappy pc being slow so i decided to do something about it and when i finally found PCRestore it doesn’t even work it gave me a blank error box and then when i moved PCRestore to my desktop it gave me an error saying invalid path dp.sc and i dont know how to fix it i just want to wipe my computer of everything

    • Dave Dave says:

      Did you ever make recovery disks? If not, it still might be possible. I’d make the disks, and then boot to them to begin the recovery process. In addition, I would look on the Dell support site for the manual for your specific model to see what the process is for this. Just do a search for dell support. Good luck.

  69. Randi says:

    I need help!!! I am guessing I contracted a virus that went crazy I could not get any thing to work even in safe mode so I went in to do a manual system restore using the command prompt and it started out fine but we have been stuck on reinstalling your selected system backup for over four hours! The message at the top says do not turn off ur computer during this process, I have a new dell Inspiron One that runs Windows 7 now do I turn it off and try again or let it keep going and pray that it moves past 1 percent sooner or later? I’m also not sure how long this process takes someone told me it took them 10 hours for theirs Ti complete. Thanks for any help

  70. Cody says:

    When I hit windows complete pc restore bc I don’t see factory restore i get area valid backup location could not be found. Windows can not find a backup on this computer. I have a dell xps 630i. What can I do. I bought the floor computer.

  71. joey says:

    if you cant restore your pc that means your partition has been altered =(

  72. frank says:

    used the back up all looked good than screen came up saying it needs to reboot it does and than says preparing comp for first time use than it looks like its installing drives but turns out its looping the same thing over and over and help would be great
    ty
    frank

  73. Miriam says:

    I have a massive virus on my Dell Studio 15 and I am trying to restore the system to factory settings. When it starts up, I press F8 and select the repair option which takes me to a screen which reads ‘Windows is loading files’. It does not move past that screen no matter how long I wait and the only way to get rid of it is to turn the computer off. Do you have any advice? Thanks.

    • Dave Dave says:

      I would make sure any hardware attached or installed in the machine after you bought it be removed–printers, cameras, etc…as it might be getting stuck while looking for drivers for these devices. Aside from that you might need to order recovery disks direct from Dell. Good luck. Try our forums, maybe others will have different recommendations.

  74. Jack says:

    Okay, I just did this and it crashed during. Now it won’t boot past the “serial ata ahci bios” screen. I don’t have a windows cd it was factory installed. I can get to the setup and boot device menus only. Is there any way I can format the c drive or install the factory image from there?

  75. keshav says:

    hi!
    i have dell xps laptop.
    i want to restore my laptop back to the state it was when i got it from the dealer so i tried for dell factory restore option
    on the advanced boot menu, when i clicked on repair my computer option n my windows started normally again .
    it didn’t show any other option that could help me to recover my laptop.

    i have done this quite a number of times.
    also if i pull out the battery, and then also the launch startup repair option does not work and ultimately i have to switch to the option launch windows normally.
    please help me in solving this issue

    • Dave Dave says:

      If the Dell PC Restore isn’t working, and if the repair option isn’t working, you might have a problem with the hard drive. Tap F12 when booting and run the Dell diagnostics. Also, try posting in our free forums section–we have a lot of techs in there that might be able to help.

  76. helpmeplease says:

    I recently performed a factory reset on a dell inspiron 5520. I entered a username and password with administrative capabilities and everything went according to plan. The laptop restarted, said it was preparing the machine for first time use and now I cant log back in. There are no usernames present and it says the “guest” and “administrator” usernames have been disabled when those are tried with no password. I notcied a couple of people with this problem. Is this a Dell flaw or built in situation? I saw a clean install as a possible solution. Are there any other solutions?

  77. Matt Shearer says:

    I have a dell inspiron 910 its the dell mini I removed windows xp and installed windows 8.1 it worked for awhile then my computer began to run real slow so I tried reinstalling windows 8 again or restore it and now I think I deleted the recovery partition on accident now it sends me to a troubleshooting screen but the original windows 8 cd has no effect now wat do I do

    • Dave Dave says:

      If you want to install Windows 8 from the DVD, insert the DVD and then tap the F12 when booting. Select the DVD drive as the boot device and it should run the DVD installer. Or you can tap the F12 key when booting and then go into the BIOS setup and select the optical drive as your first boot device.

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