My Dell Dimension E521 is from 2007 (the warranty expired) and came with Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 2. After I attempt PC Restore (assuming PC Restore works on my machine), I know I need to perform 9 major steps listed below to get my system back to normal.
I’m trying to get a complete overview of the steps I must take. I’ve listed those steps in what I think is the right order. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
A) Visit Dell’s web site to get updated drivers and other software the web site says is “Urgent”.
B) Visit Microsoft’s web site to get Service Pack 3 and the many system software updates I’ll need. (I expect to reboot my PC several times to install all those updates.)
C) Before visiting other web sites, for safety sake I’ll reinstall Norton Security Suite.
D) There may be 20 programs listed in Control Panel’s Add or Remove Programs that were installed BY DELL (some are essential programs) that I hope PC Restore reinstalls. Those programs aren’t all on the 5 CD’s Dell gave me with my purchase. I double-checked all five CD’s. So I must be sure essential programs out of those 20 are restored. If I have to, I’ll hunt them down at vendor’s web sites or post another thread in this forum with a list of those programs.
E) Reinstall programs to access my external hard drive, where my data is backed up, the printer and peripherals.
F) Reinstall applications software.
G) Copy data files back from my external hard drive.
H) Run XP’s Files and Settings Transfer Wizard to restore settings I saved from my old Windows XP.
I) Restore home networking functionality.
If you are using the Dell "PC Restore" (recovery partition on the hard drive) it will restore your PC to the original factory condition. CTRL/F11 at boot up accesses the PC Restore partition.
If you use PC Restore, after getting the PC restored the first thing to do is get the Windows updates. After the updates, get your security software installed. If you don't want Norton (there are better products) you can download the free Microsoft Security Essentials from www.microsoft.com. This is rated very high with security professionals (higher than Norton or McAfee).
Next reinstall your peripherals (e.g. printer) and PHYSICALLY DISCONNECT IT from the PC BEFORE doing the PC Restore (only have the Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor and networking connected for the PC Restore).
You don't need a program to access your external hard drive, the built in Windows Explorer should be able to detect it.
Dell Drivers are NOT needed, if everything is working properly. Dell may list some as "critical" but they are really "optional". Many times the updates are for specific problems or to add support for addtional hardware. This is especially true of the BIOS, as a failed BIOS update that corrupts the BIOS and the ONLY option is to replace the motherboard, and ONLY another exact replacement Dell motherboard will fit and work.
Reinstall applications and then copy user data from your external hard drive to the restored hard drive.
You don't need to use the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard since the ONLY thing you will be restoring is your user data (e.g. pictures, music, data processing files, outlook express address book, etc). Everything else will be established when you do the restore.
Home Networking - I assume you are referring to access to the PC from other home PC's as that's the only "networking" that will need to be set up.
Actually, you are making it harder than it is. Basically, the PC Restore, updates and security program installation, peripheral installs and restore of backed up user data.
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