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Manuals
Restoring Your Operating System: Dell Technology Guide

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Restoring Your Operating System

Dell™ Technology Guide

  Using Microsoft® Windows® System Restore

  Using Dell™ PC Restore and Dell Factory Image Restore

  Using the Operating System Media


You can restore your operating system in the following ways:

  • System Restore returns your computer to an earlier operating state without affecting data files. Use System Restore as the first solution for restoring your operating system and preserving data files.

  • Dell PC Restore by Symantec (available in Windows XP) and Dell Factory Image Restore (available in Windows Vista) returns your hard drive to the operating state it was in when you purchased the computer. Both permanently delete all data on the hard drive and remove any programs installed after you received the computer. Use Dell PC Restore or Dell Factory Image Restore only if System Restore did not resolve your operating system problem.

  • If you received an Operating System disc with your computer, you can use it to restore your operating system. However, using the Operating System disc also deletes all data on the hard drive. Use the disc only if System Restore did not resolve your operating system problem.


Using Microsoft® Windows® System Restore

The Windows operating systems provide a System Restore option which allows you to return your computer to an earlier operating state (without affecting data files) if changes to the hardware, software, or other system settings have left the computer in an undesirable operating state. Any changes that System Restore makes to your computer are completely reversible.

NOTICE: Make regular backups of your data files. System Restore does not monitor your data files or recover them.
NOTE: The procedures in this document were written for the Windows default view, so they may not apply if you set your Dell™ computer to the Windows Classic view.

Starting System Restore

NOTICE: Before you restore the computer to an earlier operating state, save and close any open files and exit any open programs. Do not alter, open, or delete any files or programs until the system restoration is complete.

Windows Vista®

  1. Click Start .

  2. In the Start Search box, type System Restore and press <Enter>.

NOTE: The User Account Control window may appear. If you are an administrator on the computer, click Continue; otherwise, contact your administrator to continue the desired action.
  1. Click Next and follow the remaining prompts on the screen.

In the event that System Restore did not resolve the issue, you may undo the last system restore.

Windows® XP

  1. Click Start ® All Programs® Accessories® System Tools® System Restore.

  2. Click either Restore my computer to an earlier time or Create a restore point.

  3. Click Next and follow the remaining on-screen prompts.

Undoing the Last System Restore

NOTICE: Before you undo the last system restore, save and close all open files and exit any open programs. Do not alter, open, or delete any files or programs until the system restoration is complete.

Windows Vista

  1. Click Start .

  2. In the Start Search box, type System Restore and press <Enter>.

  3. Click Undo my last restoration and click Next.

Windows XP

  1. Click Start ® All Programs® Accessories® System Tools® System Restore.

  2. Click Undo my last restoration and click Next.

Enabling System Restore

NOTE: Windows Vista does not disable System Restore; regardless of low disk space. Therefore, the steps below apply only to Windows XP.

If you reinstall Windows XP with less than 200 MB of free hard-disk space available, System Restore is automatically disabled.

To see if System Restore is enabled:

Windows Vista

  1. Click Start ® Control Panel® System and Maintenance® System.

  2. In the left pane, click System Protection.

  3. Click the System Protection tab. Ensure that the System Protection for the hard disk is unchecked under Automatic restore points.

Windows XP

  1. Click Start ® Control Panel® Performance and Maintenance® System.

  2. Click the System Restore tab and ensure that Turn off System Restore is unchecked.


Using Dell™ PC Restore and Dell Factory Image Restore

NOTICE: Using Dell PC Restore or Dell Factory Image Restore permanently deletes all data on the hard drive and removes any programs or drivers installed after you received your computer. If possible, back up the data before using these options. Use PC Restore or Dell Factory Image Restore only if System Restore did not resolve your operating system problem.
NOTE: Dell PC Restore by Symantec and Dell Factory Image Restore may not be available in certain countries or on certain computers.

Use Dell Factory Image Restore (Windows Vista) or Dell PC Restore (Windows XP) only as the last method to restore your operating system.

These options restore your hard drive to the operating state it was in when you purchased the computer. Any programs or files added since you received your computer—including data files—are permanently deleted from the hard drive. Data files include documents, spreadsheets, e-mail messages, digital photos, music files, and so on. If possible, back up all data before using PC Restore or Factory Image Restore.

Windows Vista: Dell Factory Image Restore

  1. Turn on the computer. When the Dell logo appears, press <F8> several times to access the Vista Advanced Boot Options window.

  2. Select Repair Your Computer.

The System Recovery Options window appears.

  1. Select a keyboard layout and click Next.

  2. To access the recovery options, log on as a local user. To access the command prompt, type administrator in the User name field, then click OK.

  3. Click Dell Factory Image Restore.

NOTE: Depending upon your configuration, you may need to select Dell Factory Tools, then Dell Factory Image Restore.

The Dell Factory Image Restore welcome screen appears.

  1. Click Next.

The Confirm Data Deletion screen appears.

NOTICE: If you do not want to proceed with Factory Image Restore, click Cancel.
  1. Click the check box to confirm that you want to continue reformatting the hard drive and restoring the system software to the factory condition, and then click Next.

The restore process begins and may take five or more minutes to complete. A message appears when the operating system and factory-installed applications have been restored to factory condition.

  1. Click Finish to reboot the system.


Using the Operating System Media

Before you Begin

If you are considering reinstalling the Windows operating system to correct a problem with a newly installed driver, first try using Windows Device Driver Rollback. See Determining Whether a Device Driver is the Source of a Device Problem. Then try Device Driver Rollback (see Replacing a Driver With a Previous Version of the Driver).

If Device Driver Rollback does not resolve the problem, then use System Restore to return your operating system to the operating state it was in before you installed the new device driver (see Using Microsoft® Windows® System Restore).

NOTICE: Before performing the installation, back up all data files on your primary hard drive. For conventional hard drive configurations, the primary hard drive is the first drive detected by the computer.

To reinstall Windows, you need the following items:

  • Dell™ Operating System media

  • Dell Drivers and Utilities media

NOTE: The Dell Drivers and Utilities media contains drivers that were installed during the assembly of the computer. Use the Dell Drivers and Utilities media to load any required drivers. Depending on the region from which you ordered your computer, or whether you requested the media, the Dell Drivers and Utilities media and Operating System media may not ship with your computer.

Reinstalling Windows XP or Windows Vista

The reinstallation process can take 1 to 2 hours to complete. After you reinstall the operating system, you must also reinstall the device drivers, virus protection program, and other software.

NOTICE: The Operating System media provides options for reinstalling Windows XP. The options can overwrite files and possibly affect programs that are installed on your hard drive. Therefore, do not reinstall Windows XP unless a Dell technical support representative instructs you to do so.
  1. Save and close any open files and exit any open programs.

  2. Insert the Operating System disc.

  3. Click Exit if the Install Windows message appears.

  4. Restart the computer.

When the DELL logo appears, press <F12> immediately.

NOTE: If you wait too long and the operating system logo appears, continue to wait until you see the Microsoft® Windows® desktop; then, shut down your computer and try again.
NOTE: The next steps change the boot sequence for one time only. On the next start-up, the computer boots according to the devices specified in the system setup program.
  1. When the boot device list appears, highlight CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive and press <Enter>.

  2. Press any key to Boot from CD-ROM.

  3. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the installation.


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