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How To Restore or Reinstall Microsoft Windows on a Dell Computer

Article ID : 52182Date Published : 2008-10-12Journal ID : 3665cb3f-8ffe-4853-92d8-408f93338be7

Table of Contents:

  1. Get restore media
  2. System Restore
  3. Operating system restore
  4. Manual reinstallation
  5. Set up your restored computer


Get restore media


If you have not created your restore media and are unable to access your operating system to create discs, customers in the United States or Canada may request a set of recovery media for their specific computer model.
If you do not reside in the United States or Canada, contact Dell Technical Support to request recovery media.


System Restore

System Restore is a built-in Windows tool designed to protect and repair the operating system. When something goes wrong with your computer, System Restore should be used prior to restoring to factory condition.

Select your operating system to continue with System Restore:


Time to Complete: 20 - 30 Minutes.

Related Videos:




Operating system restore

Dell computers are built with a small amount of hard disk space reserved for reinstalling your operating system. This method is the easiest way to restore your computer to factory condition. The restoration process deletes all user data from the computer, so be sure to back up all of your files prior to starting this process.

Select your operating system and computer model below for details on restoring your computer to facory settings.


Time to Complete: 30 - 60 Minutes.

Related Video:




Manual reinstallation

Manual reinstallation is the most time-consuming and difficult path to restore your computer to factory condition. You will reinstall the operating system directly from the CD or DVD, install the drivers, configure the OS, install critical and recommended updates, and install your applications.

Select your operating system get step-by-step instructions for manual reinstallation:


Time to Complete: 120+ Minutes.

Related Video:




Set up your restored computer

Once you have reinstalled Windows, you will need to perform the original Windows setup. Refer to our step-by-step articles on setting up your computer:




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