I purchased a Dell Dimension 4700 which shipped on July 6 2005. I'd like to go back to the "Factory Install" but Ctrl-F11 (PC Restore) doesn't appear to work. The computer has the original hard disk drive, and it does have 3 partitions. However, the Ctrl-F11 trick doesn't seem to work and it looks like this feature wasn't provided prior to July 16 2005. Is there a way to recover the Factory Install on this Dimension 4700?
You are incorrect. The feature has been offered since mid-2004 and is on your 4700. If you're doing it properly, and it doesn't work, then you either reinstalled/repaired XP or you repartitioned your hard drive.
Systems shipped after July 15, 2004 came with Symantec PC Restore. This utility restores the computer to an "as-shipped" condition. If you haven't reformatted, repartitioned, or otherwise modified the master boot record, it should work. Click here for instructions about Symantec PC Restore.
If the Symantec PC Restore utility won't work, but still resides on your computer, a Dell customer has figured out some ways to get it to work again. Note - If you removed this partition, it is not recoverable, cannot be downloaded from the internet, and cannot be shipped from Dell. Click here for ways to fix Symantec PC Restore. Users have also reported that the partition can be restored with Ghost 2003, and Ghost 9 using the '03 capabilities of it. If you boot to the Ghost 9 CD, select Advanced Recovery Taks, select Utilities, then Restore Legacy IMage it should work - but you want to verify the image before attempting the restore. It's in a folder called IMG.
Systems that shipped beginning in early 2005 may ship without Windows XP. There SHOULD be (but sometimes isn't) a utility on your computer to run and create the Windows XP CD, unless your computer shipped after 7/15/05 in which case you have to call Dell and beg. This is a RUN ONCE utility. Click here for instructions to create your Windows XP CD. Some users have reported needing to reboot a few times to get this utility to show up on the menu. You can also contact Dell and request a CD and wait for it to ship, see the link at the bottom of my signature.
With over 30,000 posts (through early 2007), Rickmktg hasn't bought a Dell computer since July 2005, but has bought two Lenovo laptops...
Try performing the Ctrl-F11 (PC Restore) from a Restart rather than a complete Shutdown. I performed the recommended procedure from a complete shutdown multiple times to no avail; then, out of frustration, selected the Restart option at shutdown. From there, following the Ctrl-F11 procedure, as generally instructed, worked like a champ. Good luck!