I've got all the disks that came with the computer. But it's annoying because I have to copy them onto flash drives, which means I've got to find somewhere else to store the backup information - which I had copied to my flash drives prior to trying to reset my machine.
I didn't have any trouble loading my office software from flash drive. Just copied the CD/DVD onto the flash drive, plugged it in and clicked "Setup". Flew through without a hitch.
That's not the issue here - installing drivers or applications from flash drives is easy.
The problem here is that you must boot the system from a Windows DVD or a flash drive that's been made bootable, which contains the /boot directory. That's not so easy to do. You're going to need a system that has a DVD drive to do it.
It can be done (you'll need a drive that's blank to start with)
I can't do that. I don't have a computer that is running Windows 7 that's got a DVD/CD drive. My inspiron mini only has USB ports. I've got a desktop computer, but it's running XP. Looks like I'll have to buy that USB DVD drive after all - if I decide to try to reset this machine, which is looking less and less likely by the hour.
I have a Dell INSPIRON mini 10 with XP. The CTRL-F11 on the Dell screen only brings up the screen giving you options of different SAFE modes or last working configuration. There is no restore. How can it be done?
WINDOWS 7 STARTER SOLVED
Just had a customer who was collecting viruses on their Inspiron Mini running windows 7 starter. After removing all the infected files the OS failed to start, even in safe mode. When it fails and restarts, or during normal startup by pressing <F8>, choose the option "Repair your computer". Mine started an auto-repair but came back saying it was unable to fix the problem. On the next screen, there is an option for advanced recovery options, click it. Choose a keyboard layout and click "Next", then select a local user (administrator recommended), enter their password or leave blank if no password and click OK. The last option on the menu that shows is for "Dell DataSafe Restore...", click it. Select "Select other System Backup and more options" and click next. Select "Restore my computer" and click next. You should now see a backup called "Factory Image", select it and click next. There are a few more screens asking if you want to backup first, I skipped this because I already made a backup. Let it format and copy files back and click restart when it's done. If you don't see image, you may be missing restore partition, it is hidden and I wouldn't go making copies of yours to give out because it probably has your windows product key embedded.