Dell Factory Image Restore

I have an Inspiron 6400. I would like to know if it's possible to perform a clean installation of vista while keeping the Dell Factory Image Restore intact. I want to know if this is possible so I can use the Factory Restore later should I decide to go back to the factory image. Would I need to leave the Recovery partition intact or would just backing up the Factory.wim to DVD be enough? Also, would it be possible to restore a factory image on a new hard dive? If so, what would i need from the original HD to do so?
I'm trying to get a better understanding of the Dell Factory Image Restore utility. Any input would be great.
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18 Replies

Re: Dell Factory Image Restore

1. No, it will damage the restore partition
2. No
3. I have not heard of anyone doing this successfully.
4.  Don't know.
What most people are doing is removing the Dell installed hard drive, buy a new one and install Your flavor of OS, keeping the Dell original drive for a rainy day. Hard drives are cheap these days.
Changing any of the Dell partitions can damage others, because changes are made to the MBR.
There are numerous posts here about people reinstalling Vista using the DVD instead of the PC restore feature, and wonder why they can no longer use PC restore, Media Direct, ect.. There are some ways to recover these functions in XP, but where very difficult for most users, and now seem to be even more difficult with Vista, because no articles have been written to date on this for Vista.
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Re: Dell Factory Image Restore

Also a topic I'm interested in and haven't been able to gain much knowledge without actually putting it to the test but....
My MBR is already toast from using Acronis True Image so to do a Dell Factory Restore I found that  I need to boot to the Dell DVD > make my way through the menu until I'm able to choose Command Prompt > I can then navigate, using Dos commands, to the PCRestore.exe in TOOLS in the Recovery Partition > it then invokes the ImageX.exe (also found in TOOLS  in the Restore Partition) that then loads the Factory.wim (also in the Restore Partition - DELL/IMAGE). 
Note: the dos commands they give didn't represent my setup as I have two HD's and the drive letters were entirely different.  You need to note the drive letter of the Recovery Partition before you get this far.
None of this method appears to use any information stored in the MBR. Edit: apart from the size of the OS partition, so if that hasn't changed, then a complete restore should be able to be done using the information stored in the Recovery Partition.
So my conclusion is that if you were to make an image of the Restore Partition for a later date, you should (in theory) be able to put it all back if it were all deleted.  I don't intend to delete mine just yet as I have plenty of free space.
But I can't see why you couldn't restore Vista back onto the C: drive at a later time, using that method, if you decided to go back to XP for a while. 
I don't know how the IMageX software deals with partition sizes if they have changed as other imaging software does.  If you were wanting to revert back to Vista later on, then it probably would be an idea to leave the OS drive the size it is now.  Would be an interesting exercise Smiley Wink at least then we'd know Smiley Very Happy

Message Edited by Lotsoflavender on 07-19-2007 06:11 PM
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Re: Dell Factory Image Restore

I have exactly same problem, please help.
Problem:: I have Inspiron | 6400 came with Windows Vista Premium version. As i use my computer for work purpose i try to install(by booting from cd option) WindowsXP Professional, it did not install properly and it wiped off my Vista OS which i never expected instead what i was looking after is dual boot option.
I wanted to restore to factory image by going thru the steps F8 and all but what i found is "Reset To factory image " option is no longer in the choice menu instead it is unknown.
So i insalled fresh copy of windows Vista using the CD's from dell and wanted to check if i corruped the partion and luckly D(Recovery) drive is there and has all the files.
Now i dont know how to recover to factory image. Please help please help
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Re: Dell Factory Image Restore

"My MBR is already toast from using Acronis True Image"
You must image all partitions or yes the MBR will be changed. If you just backed up C partition only, and then restored it, this is your problem. It is not an Acronis problem but rather a user problem, not knowing how to use it on a Dell PC with multiple partitions.
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Re: Dell Factory Image Restore

As far as I know there are only two ways of getting your computer back to factory restore IF you have the Dell Vista DVD and the Dell Drivers DVD.  If you don't have the disks, then I suggest you contact Dell ASAP and get them.  The first option still may not work but worth trying.  You will need to know the drive letter of your Recovery Drive.  I have two hard drives so mine is J: at the moment.

With the Dell Reinstallation DVD in the drive, boot the computer and hit F12 until the Boot Device Menu appears and select Onboard or USB CD-ROM Drive.  Press any key to boot from CD or DVD.
  1. When Windows Vista starts from the Windows Vista DVD, other screens may appear during the startup process. If other screens appear, accept the default options, and then continue to the language settings screen.

    Figure 3: Language Settings Screen

  2. On the language settings screen, click the appropriate language in the Language to install list, click the appropriate time and currency format in the Time and currency format list, click the appropriate keyboard layout to use in the Keyboard or input method list, and then click Next.
    The Install now screen appears.

    Figure 4: Install Now Screen

  3. On the lower-left corner of the Install now screen, click Repair your computer.
    The System Recovery Options window appears.

    Figure 5: System Recovery Options Window

    NOTENOTE: If the Windows Vista Setup program detects any problems on the computer, you may receive the following message:
    Windows found problems with your computer's startup options.
    Do you want to apply repairs and restart your computer?
    If you receive this message, click No.

    Figure 6: Windows Found Problems Window

  4. Under Operating System, click Windows Vista (TM) Version, even if it this entry is already selected, and then click Next.
    The Choose a recovery tool window appears.

    Figure 7: Choose a Recovery Tool Window

Back to Top
» Run PC Restore from a Microsoft® Windows Vista™ DVD


Note:     The following instructions require a Microsoft® Windows Vista™ DVD which includes the Windows Vista disk that was originally shipped with your computer or any Windows Vista DVD displaying the Windows Anytime Upgrade logo . In addition, the Recovery partition must not be damaged.  

  1. Click Command Prompt from the System Recovery Options window.
    The Administrator window appears (Figure 1).

    Figure 1 - Administrator Window

  2.  This is where you will need to have the drive letter of your Recovery Drive.  I will use D: as the example.  Type the following lines, pressing <Enter> after each line.


dir [this will just bring up a list of the files on the drive to make certain you are in the correct drive.  There should be a folder called Tools]

CD Tools


  1. In the Dell Factory Image Restore window, click Next.

  2. In the Confirm Data Deletion window, click to select Yes, reformat hard drive and restore system software to factory condition, and then click Next.
    The message Factory image successfully restored! appears when the process is complete (Figure 2).

    Figure 2 - Factory Image Restored Window

  3. Click Finish to restart the system.

If that method doesn't work, then the only other way is to reboot to the Dell Installation DVD and instead of hitting the Repair Your Computer, you click on Install Now and you install Vista from the beginning.  You then have to put the Drivers DVD in and individually reinstall the drivers for your computer. The drivers dvd does help you to do this by detecting what devices you have and telling you which ones you have to install.  But each one has to be done manually.

I have taken my computer back to XP and haven't missed Vista one little bit.  I used my own copy of XP but was able to use the Dell Driver dvd to install the XP drivers.

Best of luck with this......

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Re: Dell Factory Image Restore

This was going to help me restore my brand new Optiplex 755 into factory defaults. Booting into recovery mode (via F8 key) wasn't working because the option to restore to factory defaults was misteriously missing in the menu.
I followed the above method, loged into the Administrator Window, went to D drive, directory "Tools" was available. But to my surprise, the Tools folder is completely empty! No PCRestore executable whatsoever! This system is brand new. I just wanted to do a full recovery for testing purpose.
What should be in the Tools folder? Only the executable PCRestore? If so, can I get that tool somewhere from the net?

Message Edited by Hans.B on 01-29-2008 09:16 AM
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Re: Dell Factory Image Restore

The tool you need is  imagex.exe,
Download imagex.exe for x86 Vista
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Re: Dell Factory Image Restore

Interesting. Is that the same app as PCRestore from Dell? What about my factory WIM file? It should reside in the same directory, correct? But it's not there. ImageX is only for creating a new image as far as I can see. Thanks for the link anyway.
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Re: Dell Factory Image Restore

"What about my factory WIM file? It should reside in the same directory, correct?"
Yes, does not look good for you.
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