Knowledge Base

How to create and use the Dell Windows recovery image





  • Do you need to reinstall Microsoft Windows on your Dell PC due to a system crash, hard drive replacement, etc.?
  • The Dell OS Recovery Tool will help you download a customized Dell recovery image of Microsoft Windows.
  • Follow the steps below to download the utility, create a USB recovery media and reinstall Microsoft Windows on your Dell PC.

What you will need

  • Service Tag of the Dell PC on which you want to install Microsoft Windows
  • Download and install Dell OS Recovery Tool
  • Blank USB flash drive with at least 8GB of free space
  • Microsoft .Net Framework 4.5.2 or higher
  • Administrator user rights and at least 8GB of available storage space to download the Dell ISO recovery image


Using the Dell OS Recovery Tool

Dell OS Recovery Tool helps you create a USB recovery media using Dell ISO recovery image that is customized for your Dell PC. To create a USB recovery media using a Windows PC:

Note: Windows 10 S will not allow the download or use of Dell OS Recovery Tool on a PC running Microsoft Windows 10 S. To create OS Recovery Media for a PC running Microsoft Windows 10 S, follow the instructions to create OS Recovery Media from a Windows PC and select "Other Device" at the "Select Device to Recover" screen.
  1. Double-click to open the Dell OS Recovery Tool icon on the desktop screen.
    Note: Click Yes in the User Account Control prompt.

  2. Connect a USB flash drive with at least 8GB of storage space available to the PC.

  3. Select either "This Device" (Figure 1)at the Select Device to Recover screen to identify the PC that you wish to create OS Recovery Media for.
    If you are creating OS Recovery Media for another PC, select "Other Device" (Figure 2)and enter the Service Tag of that Dell PC.
    Dell OS Recovery Tool - Select Device to Recover
    Figure 1: Select "This Device" when using the same PC. (English only)

    Dell OS Recovery Tool - Select Device to Recover
    Figure 2: Select "Other Device" when using a different PC. (English only)

  4. The Dell OS Recovery Tool will present the OS image(s) that are available for this specific Service Tag.
    Click Download (Figure 3) to begin the downloading. Once the download is complete, click Next.
    Dell OS Recovery Tool - Select Operating System
    Figure 3: Click "Download" to begin downloading the recovery image. (English only)

  5. Select the USB flash drive you would like to utilize to create the USB recovery media (Figure 4 & 5) and click Burn OS.
    Dell OS Recovery Tool - Select USB flash drive
    Figure 4: Select the USB flash drive. (English only)

    Dell OS Recovery Tool - USB format warning
    Figure 5: USB flash drive will be formatted. (English only)
    Warning: You will be prompted that ALL data on the USB drive will be LOST. Be sure to backup any existing data on your USB drive and click Yes to continue.

  6. The Dell OS Recovery Tool will begin building your OS Recovery Media.

  7. Once the process is complete, you will be presented with a summary screen and the opportunity to print the Recovery Guide instructions for using the USB recovery media to reinstall Microsoft Windows (Figure 6).
    Dell OS Recovery Tool - Select Device to Recover
    Figure 6: Summary screen. (English only)


Using the USB recovery media to install Microsoft Windows

  1. Connect the USB recovery media that you created to the Dell PC where you want to install Microsoft Windows.
  2. Restart the PC and when the Dell logo appears, tap F12 key until you see Preparing one time boot menu in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. On the boot menu, select the USB drive and press Enter.
  4. On the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot, and then click Recover from a drive.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to finish installing Microsoft Windows.
    The installation process will take some time and your PC may restart several times.
  1. Connect the USB drive to the Dell PC where you want to install Microsoft Windows.
  2. Restart the PC and when the Dell logo appears, tap F12 key until you see Preparing one time boot menu in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. On the boot menu, under UEFI boot, select your USB drive and press Enter.
  4. When Windows Setup appears, select your preferences.
  5. On the Windows Installation dialog box, click Install Now.
  6. Review the license agreement, and select I accept the license terms.
  7. On the Which type of installation do you want? window, click Custom (advanced).
  8. On the Where do you want to install Windows window, select the largest internal disc as the Primary Partition, then click Next.
    If the Primary Partition shows 0GB free, select Unallocated Space and click Next.
  9. Windows Setup automatically creates the new Windows partition, formats it, and then begins installing Windows.
    The installation process will take some time and your PC may restart several times.
For instructions on how to use the OS Recovery Media to reinstall the Linux OS, refer to the Dell knowledge-base article How to use the Dell Hosted Recovery Image of Linux.


Frequently asked questions

The Dell OS Recovery Tool utility will work on any Windows-based PC.

Dell OS Recovery Tool utility will work on Windows-based PCs only. To manually download the Windows ISO file on a non-Windows PC:

  1. Browse to Dell Windows Recovery Image website.
  2. Enter the Service Tag of the Dell PC & verification code and click Check Availability.
  3. Select the Windows operating system and click Download Selected Files.
  4. Review and agree to the Terms and Conditions, click Continue for the download to begin.
  5. In the "Browse for Folder" window, select an existing folder or create one that you can locate easily and then click OK.

Dell Windows Recovery Image is available for 64-bit Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Dell OS Recovery Tool has the ability to pause and resume the download if there is a network connectivity issue. Download will resume as soon as the network connection is restored.

Dell ISO recovery image is quite large. It may take a while to download the file depending on internet connection speed.

To successfully boot to the USB or DVD recovery media to install Microsoft Windows 7 on the Dell PC:

  1. Restart your PC.
  2. Tap F12 key while the PC is restarting and boot into BIOS or System Setup.
  3. Disable Secure Boot.
  4. Enable Legacy Boot in the BIOS.
  5. Save the BIOS settings and reboot the PC.
Note: For specific instructions on enabling/disabling Secure Boot or Legacy Boot on your Dell PC, visit the Dell Manuals website and refer to the User Guide of your PC.

If you are downloading a large file through a Dell online application (such as Dell Windows Recovery Image website), you may receive a "Not enough space on drive" error. This is normally due to a space limitation on the drive that files are being saved to. Some images downloaded through Dell Windows recovery image can be up to 8GB in file size.

To correct this error, you may need to free up additional disk space on the hard drive. For information on freeing up disk space by operating system, refer to Microsoft's knowledge base articles:

Additionally, if you have an external hard drive or secondary hard drive with more disk space, simply select that drive to save the files to.

You can try to resolve this issue by using a different brand USB drive.

The recovery image may not contain the latest device drivers for your Dell PC. Latest drivers are available at Dell Drivers & Downloads website. It is recommended that you download and install the latest device drivers once Windows operating system is installed on the PC.

For more information, refer to the Dell knowledge-base article Drivers & Downloads - FAQs.


Article ID: SLN299044

Last Date Modified: 09/20/2017 11:00 PM


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