Knowledge Base

How to use a Restore Point, Factory Reset, or Manually Install Windows 7 on your Dell Computer



When your Operating System stops working correctly, there are ways to get it working again. Select whether Windows 7 starts correctly or not on your computer, for information on how to resolve your issue.

Dell recommends backing up your files and data to an external hard drive, DVDs, CDs or other removable storage media on a regular bases. For more information on how to backup and restore your data, refer to Microsoft Knowledge Base article Back up and restore your PC.


A System Restore Point takes your computer back to a time when it was working correctly, without losing your documents or other personal files.
Note: Any software installed after the restore point will be lost and you will need to reinstall it.

Watch this video or follow the steps below.

My Dell in 99 seconds: System restore from inside Windows 7 (1:47)(English Only)

  1. Boot the computer as you normally do.

  2. Open the Control Panel by clicking Start, and then clicking Control Panel.

  3. Click System and Security, and then click System.

  4. Under the Control Panel Home menu, touch or click System protection.
    Note: The User Account Control window may appear, if so, click Yes.

  5. Click System Restore.

  6. Recommended Restore is the default choice. This restore point is the most recent, and is the best place to start.

  7. To choose a different restore point, click Choose a different restore point, click Next and then click a restore point.

  8. Click Next, and then click Finish to confirm your restore point.

  9. To start the restore process, click Yes.

  10. Once the system restore is complete, your computer will restart.
Notes:
  • When the most recent restore point doesn’t resolve the issue or fails, select the next older restore point.
  • When no restore point resolves the issues, all of them fail or none are listed, refer to the Using the built-in Dell Factory Image Restore partition tab in the Windows 7 Does Not Start Correctly or at All section, as other actions are needed.

When Windows 7 does not start correctly or not at all, there are three options to restore the Operating System on your computer to fix computer issues such as infections, corruption, crashes or to clear your personal information from the computer. They are, from left most tab to right most tab, easiest to hardest.

Note: When you have replaced your Hard Drive, please refer to the Manually reinstall the Windows 7 Operating System tab for instructions.

A System Restore Point takes your computer back to a time when it was working correctly, without losing your documents or other personal files.

Note: Any software installed after the restore point will be lost and you will need to reinstall it.

Use this method when you cannot access your computer's desktop.

Watch this video or follow the steps below.

My Dell in 99 seconds: System restore from outside Windows 7 (1:46)(English Only)

  1. Restart your computer.

  2. As your computer restarts, tap the F8 key once a second the before the Dell logo appears to open the Advanced Boot Options menu.
    Note: When the Advanced Boot Options menu does not appear, restart your computer after the Windows logon prompt appears, and try again. When the Advanced Boot Options cannot be accessed after several tries, proceed to the Manually reinstall the Windows 7 Operating System tab as your Operating System may be too corrupted to use this process.

  3. Use the Arrow keys to select Repair Your Computer, and then press Enter.

  4. Select your language settings, and click Next.

  5. Log on as an administrator, and click OK.

  6. Click System Restore, and then click Next.

  7. The most recent restore point is the default choice and is the best place to start.

  8. To choose a different restore point, click the Show more restore points check box, and then click a restore point.

  9. Click Next, and then click Finish to confirm your restore point.

  10. To start the restore process, click Yes.

  11. Once the system restore is complete, click Restart to restart your computer.
Notes:
  • When the most recent restore point doesn’t resolve the issue or fails, select the next older restore point.
  • When no restore point resolves the issues, all of them fails or none are listed, refer to the Using the built-in Dell Factory Image Restore partition tab as other actions are needed.

Follow these instructions to reinstall the Operating System using the Dell Factory Image Restore partition, to a state that came on your computer, from the factory.

Notes:
  • This process only sets the C: drive back to factory settings and leaves the other partitions alone.

  • When the Dell Factory Image Restore partition has been deleted, then the option to use the Dell Factory Image Restore will not appear and you will have to reinstall the Operating System manually, from a backup or a Windows recovery image. For more information refer to the, How to manually reinstall Windows 7 on a Dell computer section (when you have the installation disks) or Dell Knowledge Base article How to create and use the Dell Windows recovery image, (when the installation disks are not available).

Warning: Restoring your computer to the factory settings will remove all files and programs except those it came with. You will lose all personal files, including photos, emails and programs when you do not back up your files and data.

For more information on how to backup your data, refer to Microsoft Knowledge Base article Back up and restore your PC.

  1. Back up important files and data as mentioned above.

  2. Turn off your computer.

  3. Disconnect everything but the monitor, keyboard and mouse. This includes your:
    • scanner
    • printer
    • modem or network cables
    • mobile phone and tablet
    • USB flash drive or other external hard drive
      Note: Remove the computer from the docking station when you are using one.

  4. Turn your computer on.

  5. As your computer restarts, tap the F8 key once a second the before the Dell logo appears to open the Advanced Boot Options menu.
    Note: When the Advanced Boot Options menu does not appear, turn the computer off and try again (you may need to hold the power button down for 15 seconds for the computer to turn off). When the Advanced Boot Options cannot be accessed after several tries, proceed to the Manually reinstall the Windows 7 Operating System tab as your Operating System may be too corrupted to use this process

  6. Use the Arrow keys to select Repair Your Computer and then press Enter.

  7. On the System Recovery Options menu, select a keyboard layout and click Next.

  8. On the next screen you can log in as a local user or the Administrator.
    Note: Use the drop down menu to the right of User name: to select the local user or the Administrator account and enter the password for that account. If you have not set up a password on the local user account leave the password space empty and click OK.

  9. Depending on your configuration, you may need to select Dell Factory Tools and then Dell Factory Image Restore.

  10. Click Next to open the Confirm Data Deletion menu.

  11. Select the Yes, reformat hard drive and restore system software to factory condition check box and click Next.
    Note: The restore process begins and may take some time to complete. A message appears when the operating system and factory-installed applications have been restored to factory condition.

  12. After the restore operation is complete, click Finish to restart the computer.

  13. Restore any data or programs you want from your back up files.

Please review the Things to consider and What you will need tabs, before preceding to the How to manually reinstall Windows 7 tab.

Steps to Manually install Windows 7:

  1. Back up your important files and data
  2. Disconnect non-essential devices from your computer
  3. Reinstall Windows 7
  4. Install Dell drivers.
  5. Connect your computer to the internet or network
  6. Install critical and recommended Windows updates
  7. Reinstall your applications
  8. Reinstall your third-party hardware and software drivers
  9. Restore your personal files and data from backups

1. Back up your important files and data

Dell recommends backing up your files and data to an external hard drive, DVDs, CDs or other removable storage media on a regular bases. For more information on how to backup your data, refer to Microsoft Knowledge Base article Back up and restore your PC.


2. Disconnect non-essential devices from your computer.

Except for the monitor, keyboard and mouse, disconnect any nonessential external device, including:

  • Scanner
  • Printer
  • Modem or Network cables
  • Mobile phone
  • USB flash drive or other external hard drive
    Note: Remove the computer from the docking station when you are using one.

3. Reinstall Windows 7

  1. To run the installation disc, insert the Windows installation disc into the DVD drive.

  2. Restart your computer.

  3. When the Press any key to boot from the CD or DVD message appears, press any key to continue.
    If the disc does not begin to run, press your computer's Power button and watch for the Dell logo to appear. When the logo appears, press the F12 key to load the Boot menu. If this menu does not appear, try restarting your computer again and pressing F12 several times when the Dell logo appears. Once the Boot menu opens, select CD/DVD drive (listed also as CD-Rom or CD/DVD/CD-RW) and press Enter.

  4. When Windows 7 Setup appears, confirm that the Language, Time, Currency and Keyboard Method fields display the correct settings.

  5. On the Windows 7 Installation dialog box, click Install Now.

  6. Review the license agreement, and click 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. Your computer will restart.

  10. Personalize and customize your Windows 7 operating system by following the instructions on the following screens.

  11. When your Desktop screen appears, you are ready for the next step.

Refer to Dell Knowledge Base article How to create and use the Dell Windows recovery image.

4. Install Dell drivers.

  1. Insert the Dell Resource CD/DVD that came with your computer or browse to the Dell Support page and enter your Service Tag or select your Dell product for a concise list of drivers for your computer.
    Notes:

5. Connect your computer to the internet or network.

Plug in any network or modem cables you disconnected in step 2.

  • When your computer connects to the internet hardwired through a router or modem, follow the connection instructions that came with your router.
  • When your computer uses a wireless network adapter, perform the following steps:
    1. Open Connect to a Network by clicking the network icon (Picture of the wireless network icon or Picture of the wired network icon) in the notification area.

    2. Select the wireless network name with the strongest signal, and then touch or click Connect.
      Note: The signal strength is indicated by the number of green bars. Look for a listing that has the most green bars next to it (it may be necessary to scroll up or down to find it).

    3. Enter the network security key when prompted, and then click Next.
      Note: For additional set-up and troubleshooting information, refer to Dell Knowledge Base article Wireless Networking for the Home for Windows 7

6. Install critical and recommended Windows updates

Once you are connected to the internet:

  1. Click Start and point to All Programs. Then click Windows Update.

  2. Click Check for updates.

  3. For all recommended or critical updates, follow the instructions provided to install those updates.

7. Reinstall your applications

To reinstall your applications, insert the application installation disk(s) for each program in the CD/DVD drive and follow the prompts or re-install each program from the manufacturer's website if that option is available to you.


8. Reinstall your third-party hardware and software drivers

For each external or internal devise you added to your computer after purchasing from Dell, refer to the documentation that came with the device for reinstallation instructions. Some devices require you to install the associated software before connecting the device to your computer.


9. Restore your personal files and data from backups

For information on how to restore your data, refer to Microsoft Knowledge Base article Back up and restore your PC.

Note: Refer to the Restore section.

Video (English Only) - How to Install Windows 7 from a disk?

Video (English Only) - A required CD/DVD device driver is missing' when Installing Windows 7




Article ID: SLN291879

Last Date Modified: 11/03/2017 11:03 AM


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