A friend has a Dimension 2400 computer that she wants to give her Granddaughter. We have transferred everything she needs to the new computer and am trying to do a distructive recovery to out of box condition. She does not have the Dell discs that came with the computer so I am trying to do the recovery with the instructions on the Dell site and things are not going well. It says to restart the computer and at the Dell splash screen hold the ctrl key and f11 down at the same time and then release both at the same time. I have tried that many times and it's not working. I have also tried every combination of ctrl f11, alt f11 shift f11 plus f8, f9, f10 and f12. Is there a trick to that or are the instructions wrong?
Most Dimension 2400's were sold before the PC restore feature was added to consumer Dells. In order to have the feature you must have purchased the computer after July 14, 2004. If you have the feature available you can tell by watching the computer boot. You should see a blue stripe appear at the top of the screen after the self test completes. The stripe stays visible for two seconds, after which Windows begins to load. If you don't have the blue stripe, you either don't have PC restore, or it is not functional on your computer.
In order to restore to factory condition you must have the Dell installation CD that should have shipped with the computer. If you don't have one you can ask Dell to send a replacement. If you live in the U.S. you can try this form: Dell Replacement Disks. If you live outside the U.S. you will need to contact Dell Tech Support for your region.
EDIT: If you do see a blue stripe, you must press and release both CTRL and F11 at the same time while the stripe is still visible. If you wait until you see a message about loading the descriptor for PBR2 below the stripe, you've waited too long.
Thanks for your reply. This computer was shipped 1-23-04 which is the reason I can't do the recovery. I will ask her to look again for those discs and if she doesn't have them, I will just start deleting programs until I get it down to the basics. Thanks again for your reply, you saved me a lot of time and head scratching.
You've very welcome. Just a hint for removing sensitive data; the defragment feature of Windows can be used to decrease the chances of recovering data you don't want others to see. Use Windows Explorer and delete all files and folders that you wish to keep private. Empty the trash so that the directory entries will be set to be reused. At that point, execute Defrag found in the properties list of the drive. In the process of defragmenting the drive, the data will be overwritten several times and the directory entries for the old data will be zeroed out. This will prevent most commonly available "un-erase" tools from recovering the data.
Thanks for those tips. I am deleting all her files and documents as well as a bunch of programs that haven't been used in years. Once I get everything removed I will run a chkdsk and defrag. I called her about those Dell discs that came with the computer and she said she remembers throwing them a way long ago because she didn't think they were good for anything. Now she knows not to do that with the new computer.