Knowledge Base

How To Restore or Reinstall Microsoft Windows on a Dell Computer

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 need to get media to repair or restore your operating system to its original factory image, visit the Media Backup page to get information on creating recovery discs from your Dell computer or downloading an image online.

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.

Video (English Only) - How to use System Restore within Windows 7

Video (English Only) - How to use System Restore outside Windows 7

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.

If you have upgraded your operating system (such as upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 SP1 / Windows 8.1) you will need to re-install the operating system upgrade after the factory-provided operating system has been installed on your system. To get started with re-upgrading your computer to Windows 10, visit the Microsoft Download Windows 10 page for instructions.

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

Time to Complete: 30 - 60 Minutes.

Video (English Only) - How to reinstall Windows without losing data?

Video (English Only) - Restoring to factory settings with Dell Backup and Recovery 1.5

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.

Video (English Only) - Restoring Windows 8 after a crash with Dell Backup and Recovery 1.5

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

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:

Article ID: SLN130027

Last Date Modified: 12/14/2016 01:14 PM

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