I want to format this laptop and completely reset it, including deleting my files.
I think it can be done via: Settings -> Update & Security -> Recovery. However, once Windows 10 is freshly reinstalled will I still have the Alienware Command Center and other relevant software?
What about getting my licence key, unless it is on the product box somewhere hidden?
I know it is possible to burn Windows 10 onto a USB, my worry of not having Alienware Command Center and other software as explained earlier remains.
Is there seriously no way to just download and burn an ISO to a USB memory stick which would install the exact same Windows I have now, with all of the Alienware drivers and special software like command centre? Otherwise it will take me years. Forget about my personal files and games as I have these backed up already.
Can do the reset in windows back to how you bought it, or download the OS ISO and install from there. Answer would be yes. You would have everything as if you just bought the laptop.
Welcome to the Dell Community @loisma
Use the Dell OS Recovery Tool to create a USB recovery drive that you can use to reinstall the version of Windows or Linux that came with your PC:
First create a folder on your desktop called "Dell OS"
"Extract" the file to that folder.
Then go to that folder and double click on "DellOSRecoveryTool"
It should then produce a desktop shortcut called "DellOSRecoveryTool"
Double click on that desktop shortcut to start the process to create the USB Recovery drive.
Keep in mind you can go to Dell Support, and enter the code for the machine, and get all the "Latest" drivers for your exact laptop, after you reinstall Windows. It is a really nifty feature of Dell support.
You can also download the latest version of Windows from the M$ site, or on the same page, it has button to detect and download/install all the Windows updates. This is a fresh copy of the OS, not just a copy of what you might have.
Before you start with the update, I strongly suggest that you create more than one "back up" of what you have. I also suggest you do not use the Dell Tool for that, as it has features that can lead to failure just when you need it. In my case the Dell Tool for backups, it created a back up with a lot of folders, and not the stuff in them. It was an option I should have known to use, but was not clear when I started. Interval backups, if you are already using that, can find unique and creative ways to fail. Just my experience. Use a Drive Clone tools, there are several free ones, and if one of the drives is a Seagate drive, you can use the free Seagate tool for cloning. Actually that one is actually under the hood, "Acronis," which has a pay for version.
Very carefully, look for all the Registration and Passwords you have and create a copy. There is a free software called Belarc. Belarc, when run while your older version of the OS is still running. Although you might look closely at the M$ Office Activation, which might be different than the M$ Office Registration. When I last bought "M$ Office, Home and Student" version, I bought it directly from M$, as then I have the info, and M$ has a group which can remote my Alienware, and install it. A bit late now. But if you are buying a new computer, consider the advantages of buying Office directly from M$.
On my Alienware, Windows Ten activation code is in the BIOS/EFI firmware, and I do not need to enter it. A local computer store says as of now, they will only work on a computer if it comes with a DVD install of Windows that the user wants on the computer, and the '"Activation Code".
I am pretty sure that Belarc does not give the code to activate Windows ten, just a serial number. Then you are not likely to need it.
Format is actually on the Windows install disc- or USB. You must delete the previous format on the drive, to get it to reinstall again. I had problems with the version of the Windows 10 USB that I created with the Media tool provided by M$.
You might need to set, in the BIOS/EFI to drives in your computer to AHCI, instead of the other.
Usually, as I guess you know, one installs the OS to the SSD.
The other poster is good. Just I did not want to go through doing all the M$ updates, so I got the latest copy from M$ Windows Ten, (download in the search.) And then get the latest Dell Drivers from the Dell site, it is automatic, and free.
Let us hear your advice of your suggestions.
I have already made a backup of my files and wrote down a list of software names with their serial keys.
What I am asking for is simple: I want to completely wipe everything and then reinstall Windows exactly the same way it was when I bought this Alienware from Dell.
I disagree with using that software, not just because people have had bad experiences with it but surely there will be reminiscent items left behind that will be backed up, meaning it will not be a clean reinstall?
Excuse my tone above :p.
If I download the ISO from Microsoft I doubt it will have all of the Alienware control centre stuff, and I am not going through the whole Dell website trying to individually find programs to then install a wrong version, forget one, or miss one I did not know I needed. Unless Dell provide one where I input my version number and it gives me everything included on the ISO, or something similar?
Then I need to make sure I can find the licence key before I format.
Yes but they are just for the drives, what about software, and it being the same Windows 10 (like home, professional etc...) that came with this laptop?
Can you link me to where I do this on the MS website?
I made a backup of the few personal files I have on this laptop already, I do not need drive cloning tools.
I have a CD and licence key for Office separate in a box.
See what you think of this.
Product support for Alienware 15 R4:
Thank you that was very helpful as it contains all software and drivers. Do I install everything shown?
P.S Where should I download the ISO from do you have a link? What about the Microsoft licence key?
You can download all the different apps but for me I like keeping things to a minimum. "Just whats needed"
You can make a W10 USB flash drive installer with the Microsoft Media Creation Tool.
Use a blank 8GB or 16GB flash drive.
If your Laptop/Desktop is not working then use another Windows Laptop/Desktop
Here are the steps to create the W10 USB flash drive installer:
Plug in the blank USB flash drive:
CAUTION: Any content on the flash drive will be deleted.
Select Download tool now, and select Run.
If you agree to the license terms, select Accept.
On the What do you want to do? page, select Create installation media for another PC, and then select Next.
Select the language, edition, and architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) for Windows 10.
Select which media you want to use:
USB flash drive.
After creating the USB plug it into the Laptop/Desktop that you want to install it on.
Boot from the USB and follow the directions/instructions.
If asked to enter a product key during the installation process, select "I don't have a product key" option.
After W10 installs, you can install the drivers and available software from your Laptop/Desktop support page.
If W10 was already installed then the COA is digitly signed and as soon as you go on-line it will automatically activate.
How to Install Dell Drivers in the Correct Order: