Knowledge Base

Restoring Your Computer´s Software to the Factory Settings for Windows Vista


Table of Contents:

  1. Backup important files & data.
  2. Remove non-essential peripherals.
  3. Restore the computer's software to original condition.
  4. Restore your personal files and data from backups.

This article provides information on restoring your computer´s software to the factory settings.


Dell has designed two new backup and restore programs.
Dell Inspiron, Studio, and XPS computers use DataSafe Local Backup 2.0 as the PC Restore/Factory Image Restore option as of April 22, 2009.
Dell OptiPlex, Latitude, Vostro, and Precision computers use Dell Backup and Recovery Manager as the PC Restore/Factory Image Restore option as of May 26, 2009.

Backup important files and data

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. In the Control Panel window, click System and Maintenance, and then click Back Up and Restore Center.
  3. Under Back up files or your entire computer, click Back up files.
    If the User Account Control window appears, and you are prompted for an administrator password or a confirmation, type your password, or click Continue.
  4. On the Where do you want to save your backup? page, choose the location in which to save the backup. To do this, click either On a hard disk, CD, or DVD or On a network, and then specify the location.
    If you select a hard disk, be sure to save the backup to an external drive such as a USB key or USB hard drive.
  5. Click Next.
  6. On the Which file types do you want to backup? page, click to select the check boxes next to the types of files that you want to back up, and then click Next.
  7. On the How often do you want to create a backup? page, leave the defaults as they are and click Save settings and start backup, to back up the files to the specified location.

    Backup will save the files in the background and may take several minutes to complete. If you specified a removable drive, Backup may prompt you to enter an additional blank disc if more than one is necessary to hold all your files. Be sure to label your discs thoroughly (such as "My Files Disc 1" etc.) so you can quickly restore them later.

    Once the Backup Complete message appears, you are ready to proceed with the next step.

    For additional resources to help resolve issues not covered under Dell's limited hardware warranty, refer to Dell Knowledge Base article, Search for Additional Solutions .

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Remove non-essential peripherals

Except for the monitor, keyboard, and mouse, remove all external peripherals including:

An external peripheral is a device that connects to a port on the front, side or back of the computer, like a printer or memory key.
  • Scanner
  • Printer
  • Modem or Network cables
  • Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
  • USB flash drive or other external Hard Drive
  • Any other external devices (e.g., USB-attached devices)
  • Remove the computer from the docking station, if you are using one.

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Restore the computer's software to original condition.

An external peripheral is a device that connects to a port on the front, side or back of the computer, like a printer or memory key.
  1. Turn on the computer.
  2. As the computer starts, press on the keyboard until the Advanced Boot Options menu appears on the screen.
    You must press before the Windows logo appears on the screen. If you press after the Windows logo appears on the screen, the Advanced Boot Options menu will not appear on the screen. If you do not see the Advanced Boot Options menu, restart the computer, and then repeat this step until you see the menu on the screen.
  3. Press the on the keyboard to select Repair Your Computer on the Advanced Boot Options menuand then press .
  4. Specify the language settings that you want, and then click Next.
  5. Log in as a user who has administrative credentials, and then click OK.
  6. Click Dell Factory Image Restore.
  7. In the Dell Factory Image Restore window, click Next.
  8. Click to select the Yes, reformat hard drive and restore system software to factory condition check box.
  9. Click Next.
    The computer is restored to the default factory configuration.
  10. When the restore operation is completed, click Finish to restart the computer.
    The software is now installed as it was when the computer was first received.

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Restore your personal files and data from backups

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. In the Control Panel window, click System and Maintenance, and then click Back Up and Restore Center .
  3. Under Restore files or your entire computer, click Advanced Restore.
  4. On the What do you want to restore? page, click Files from a backup made on a different computer and click Next.
  5. Locate the backup you created earlier by browsing to it now. If you saved the backup to CD(s) or DVD, insert that disc now. Once the backup is located and selected, click Next.
  6. On the Select the files and folders to restore page, click Restore everything in this backup then click Next.
    Backup will restore the files to your computer. If you are restoring from a removable drive and used more than one blank disc, Backup will prompt you to enter the next disc in the set as necessary. Depending on the number of files and their sizes, this process may take several minutes.

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Article ID: SLN117599

Last Date Modified: 09/18/2014 07:13 AM


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