TonyDuff
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What exactly does factory image restore do?

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I've got a new Inspiron 15z -- without a Windows disk.  That would be fine if there was an ISO image or the like of the installer disk available.  But there is not.  Instead, we have to replace our Windows installation (which we need to do) by doing a factory image restore.

Question 1: is there a way to get a Windows install CD?  That is by far my preference.

Questioin 2: supposing not then what does restoring the factory image actually do?  Does it restore a whole drive (seems unlikely but the question must be asked, that is certain).  Or does it restore only a partition?  Is there control over which partition it replaces?  Or does it automatically do ... what?

Would a Dell tech maven please illuminate me.

Thank you.

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4 Replies

Re: What exactly does factory image restore do?

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Hi,

Dell PC Restore (factory restore) will reinstall the Windows, Drivers and all the Applications that came preinstalled on the computer. To perform PC Restore you can refer to Dell Article 125843 by clicking the link mentioned below:

http://dell.to/gB7c4b

In case it does not fix the issue, please send me the Service Tag and the name listed on the account in Private Message so I may access your system records and check for further course of action.

Thanks & Regards
Manshu S
#iworkfordell

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TonyDuff
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Re: What exactly does factory image restore do?

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Well thanks Manshu but, honestly, that was a non-answer.  You did not answer my first question -- and this really is important to me, and, although I read the item you suggested, it remains very unclear what this restore will do.

First: I have paid for a licence for WIndows 8--an OEM version provided for Dell.  I do not have an installation disk for it.  I want one!  Can I make it any clearer than that?  I would add that, having paid my licence fee and finding the restore image option to be useless for my purposes, I want to know how Dell is going to provide me with the installer disk for Windows.  An ISO image that I can burn to a CD would be just fine.

It sounds as though restore is a customized version of the Windows installer that hides many installation steps and deliberately selects the "format partition" option of the Windows installer.  In fact, I feel sure that that is what it is!  (It is not hard to make such a customized installer -- I have done it myself).  In that scenario, the installer formats a specified partition, not the whole disk.  It would have to be this way otherwise the factory image would destroy itself before it could complete its work!

I have multiple partitions on my drive.  I need to know what exactly is going to happen with restore.  But that is not really the solution.  What I need is the standard Windows OEM installer, not the customized factory image restore version with which I have been provided.  I need a remedy.  It's not a joke!  How will Dell help me to obtain that which I have paid for?

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Philip_Yip
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Re: What exactly does factory image restore do?

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The factory restore. There is a hidden internal factory partition on your hard drive. When restoring to the factory setting this image is applied and the drive is lightly formatted. Much can go wrong with this, especially if you change the partitions on your hard drive it will no longer work. Malware can also corrupt it.

You may make recovery media, e.g. a recovery USB or DVDs with the Dell DataSafe program which will have this exact image but this isn't the same as a reinstallation disc. Users often use cheap DVDS which are unreliable and they have to use a few so I instead recommend using a 16 GB USB stick and probably making 2. The USB stick is more reliable providing you don't use it for anything else.

For the above methods see the videos by Dell-Travis, this was for Windows 7 but the procedure should be more or less identical with Windows 8.

How to Create a Recovery USB for your Dell / Alienware Computer [Video - Dell Travis]

How to Restore Using Internal Restore Partition [Video - Dell Travis]

How to Restore using USB Recovery [Video - Dell Travis]

I personally don't like Dell DataSafe because it applies the factory settings and not A Clean Install of Windows, i.e. there is no way to install Windows without McAfee, Roxio, Bing Toolbar and other preinstalled junk. I personally prefer the Reinstallation DVD or a .iso to make a reinstallation USB but Dell are making this impossible or at the best extremely awkward at the moment. I have started a poll here to make ordering one easier for all customers. Please add your vote to it and also for the IdeaStorm Idea if you have an IdeaStorm account. See my wiki A Clean install of Windows for some tips on reinstallation providing that you get a reinstallation DVD. My Windows 8 involves buying the upgrade from Microsoft at the moment, I will amend it when I find an easier way to get OEM Windows 8 Reinstallation media from Dell or from Microsoft. 

 

 

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
TonyDuff
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Re: What exactly does factory image restore do?

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Good answer!  It confirms my suspicions.  I have voted, as you asked and wish you luck with this.

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