Restore windows 7 without losing my files in other partitions

Hi there,

I have DELL INSPIRON N5110. I have a problem with dell datasafe which shipped with my laptop.

Originally my laptop shipped with windows 7. After using it for 1 year, i installed windows 8 on it. Before installing windows 8 i took backup of the system through dell local datasafe on DVD's.

Now i wish to divert back to windows 7 without losing my files stored in other partitions. I have few questions:

1. Is there any method available that without using the DVD's i restore my system back to windows 7? like hp systems provide this feature in their laptops.

2. When i boot my system through DVD 1 and goes further......all the steps are OK... but when it came to preserve my files in specific categories i am confused in this part.

I don't understand the emergency backup part. After the system searches and scans all my files for preservation step, it asks for the destination drive where it can save all my existing files that i wish to preserve. BUT the problem is I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH FREE SPACE AVAILABLE ON MY HARD DRIVE plus its very huge data and can't be saved on USB and it seems illogical because the data is already in other partitions so logically it shouldn't touch those part of the system. It should just stick to that drive in which the OS is installed and searches for all type of files on the root drive.

3. Is there any other method available that i don't lose my files in other partitions and just restore my original OS by replacing windows 8?

Please provide a link to any tutorial/guide that step by step explains the procedure.

Thanks in anticipation

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2 Replies

RE: Restore windows 7 without losing my files in other partitions


You should be able to backup all files and folders that you cannot afford to lose. Flash drives, DVD's or an external hard drive work the best.

You can usually repair a system without losing the files. Using the recovery partition, usually puts the system back to factory. On the last HP system I owned, using the recovery partition wiped away all the files and folders.

How To Restore or Reinstall Microsoft® Windows® on a Dell™ Computer explains the procedure to reinstall the operating system manually.

If you created the Windows 7 - IMPORTANT Windows 7 Backup Disks to create you can try Restoring Your Dell Computer to Original Factory Installation with Dell DataSafe Local Backup 2.0

Using the Recovery image, if it didn't get corrupted when you installed the other operating system, Restoring Your Computer´s Software to the Factory Settings

If you already started the procedure and have lost files, you can try using Recuva and do a deep scan. Sometimes when installing the operating system, if will prompt you to save files and folders and/or create a Windows.old folder



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RE: Restore windows 7 without losing my files in other partitions

First of all you should purchase an external hard drive. The Dell Backup and Recovery program is also looking for an external hard drive to backup files to as the hard drive residing in the computer will be restore to factory settings (i.e. all data will be erased from it).

Utilities such as Dell DataSafe and Local backup are far from flawless and your data will be completely lost if it messes up. Not only that if your main hard drive fails for instance your data will also be lost or very hard to recover. So regardless whether restoring to factory settings or not, its a good idea to have an external backup. USB pen drives can also fail or be lost pretty easily and due to the bigger storage capacity an external hard drive is recommended (I actually recommend having at least 2 external hard drives with independent backups). As mentioned I don't completely trust third party utilities so I would manually copy all the files that I wanted using Windows Explorer. Additional online services such as Microsoft SkyDrive are also really helpful with regards to backing up files online.

For the Dell DataSafe and Local Backup you may refer to these Dell tutorial videos, in particular the How to Restore Using USB Recovery. As mentioned do not carry out this step until you have backed up your data on an external hard drive.

Factory Settings



Personally however I do not like "Factory Settings" and rather manually install the Windows OS. I have wrote a Windows Reinstallation Guide which will instruct you how to manually clean install Windows 7 or 8.1 on your system see Windows Reinstallation Guide:


Manual clean installation has always offered superior performance in my experience. Manual installation will also let you only change the partition you are installing Windows in (and not the whole drive, leaving the other partitions intact). Also if you opt not to format the partition you install Windows in then all the old contents will be left in a Windows.old folder and you can manually copy over what you want from it later before deleting this. The guide explains the procedures in more detail. 

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

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