Knowledge Base

How to create and use the Dell Windows recovery image



This article provides information on how to download the Dell ISO recovery image file, how to download and install the Dell OS Recovery Tool and create a USB recovery media to reinstall Microsoft Windows on your Dell PC. If you need to install or reinstall Microsoft Windows on your Dell PC, you can download a customized Dell recovery image and create your own USB recovery media.

Table of contents

  1. What you will need
  2. Creating the USB recovery media
  3. Using the USB recovery media to install Microsoft Windows
  4. Frequently asked questions

What you will need:

Warning: Backup any existing data on the USB flash drive. Dell OS Recovery Tool will erase all data on the USB flash drive.
  • Service Tag of the Dell PC on which you want to install Microsoft Windows
  • Download and save the Dell ISO recovery image file
  • Download and install the Dell OS Recovery Tool
  • Blank USB flash drive with at least 8GB of space
  • .NET Framework 4.5.2 or higher
  • A working PC with administrator user rights and at least 8GB of available storage space to download the Dell ISO recovery image
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Creating the USB recovery media

Dell OS Recovery Tool utility helps you create a bootable USB recovery media with the Dell ISO recovery image that is customized for your Dell PC. To create the USB recovery media:

  1. Double-click to open the Dell OS Recovery Tool icon on the desktop screen.
    Click Yes in the User Account Control prompt.
  2. Connect the USB flash drive to the PC.
  3. Click Browse and browse to the location where the Dell ISO recovery image file was saved.
  4. Select the Dell ISO recovery image file and click Open.
  5. Click Start to begin creating the bootable USB recovery media.
    Warning: You will be prompted that ALL data on the USB drive will be LOST. Be sure to backup any existing data on the USB drive and click Yes to continue.
  6. Click OK to complete the process.
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Using the USB recovery media to install Microsoft Windows

Installing Microsoft Windows 10

  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. Select the language and keyboard layout.
  5. On the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot, and then click Recover from a drive.
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to finish installing Microsoft Windows. The installation process will take some time and your PC may restart several times.

Installing Microsoft Windows 8.1 or Windows 7

  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.
  10. The installation process will take some time and your PC may restart several times.
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Frequently asked questions

You can create a recovery DVD disc after downloading the Dell ISO recovery image file. To create a recovery DVD disc:

  1. Insert the DVD into the disc drive of the PC where you’ll be copying the recovery image to DVD. Make sure that the disc drive has burning capabilities.
  2. Navigate to the folder where you saved the recovery image and double-click the iso file.
  3. Either the Windows ISO media creation tool or installed third-party disc burning software will open.
  4. Follow the on-screen instruction to burn the ISO to the DVD. When the process completes, you will have created bootable installation media.

To download the Dell ISO recovery image file using a non-Dell PC:

  1. Browse to Dell Windows Recovery Image website.
  2. Enter the Service Tag of the Dell PC.
  3. Enter the Verification code and click Submit.
  4. Check the box corresponding to the Microsoft Windows operating system.
  5. Click Download Selected Files button and select a location where you want to save the file.
Note: You may be required to install Dell System Detect application to complete the download successfully.
Note: The recovery image file may take several hours to download depending on your internet connection speed.

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

Dell ISO recovery image is quite large. Please be patient and allow the download to complete before attempting to open the file. If the files are not downlaoded completely, you may be unable to create a USB or DVD recovery media. If the Dell OS Recovery Tool reports that the file is corrupt or is missing data, simply re-download the file.

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 F2 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 specfic 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 recieve an "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.

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Article ID: SLN299044

Last Date Modified: 04/19/2017 11:32 AM


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