1 Copper

Trying to reinstall - Inspiron 1501

I am working on my girlfriend's laptop. Laptop is an Inspiron 1501 running on Vista 32bit sp2. It has been running VERY slow and hangs a lot. This is not the case in safe mode, which is expected, but the change is very dramatic. I think that a clean reinstall could help the computer be functional as it currently takes 10-15 minutes to open a word document after hanging for 15 minutes on startup.

She hasn't been able to find any installation disk, and isn't sure there ever was one. I have accessed the system recovery options, and want to make sure that if I click Dell Factory Image Restore that it will continue with installing Vista despite not having a CD/DVD.

I used a utility to get all of the relevant product codes out of the registry (Particularly the windows key).

Can anyone tell me if this type of recovery is possible, or am I stuck looking for a Vista disk that I may never find?

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3 Replies
6 Gallium

RE: Trying to reinstall - Inspiron 1501

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RE: Trying to reinstall - Inspiron 1501

Hello Plwestern,

Please refer to the article suggested by Ieee488 in order to perform the PC Restore. However, I would also request you to run the Pre-Boot System Assessment (PSA / ePSA) Diagnostics to check the functionality of the hardware components installed in the system. Run the test and check if gives any error code. Note down the error code and update me with the same, would let you know the next course of action. 

You may also refer to this video on how to run the PSA Diagnostics: http://dell.to/18woC5M

**Note: Please back up all the data before performing PC Restore as it would delete everything from the PC. 

Hope this helps!

Thanks & Regards
Allan D
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6 Indium

RE: Trying to reinstall - Inspiron 1501

See Windows Reinstallation Guide:


From what you have said so far it sounds like a software issue but it is worthwhile running full system diagnostics. See page 409-412 running the preboot system diagnostics. You can also create the bootable diagnostics USB which will allow the full diagnostics to run if the diagnostics partition is corrupt.

In addition I recommend you to clean out the vents in this model. See page 451-452. You may also want to consider using a USB cooling pad. I'm just saying this as my 1501 used to heat up alot.

Assuming the hardware is fine you are then looking to perform a manual installation. Follow A Clean Install of Windows Vista (page 143). This guide will instruct you on how to download 3 setup files from Digital River (listed on heidoc.net by Jan Krohn) and create a bootable Windows Vista USB use the 32 bit files for this system. It will then instruct you how to backup the Microsoft Dell-OEM Windows Vista product activation using the activation backup and recovery program. The key finder will also yield this product key but it cannot be input and activated as it is for system locked preinstallation only. The activation backup and recovery program will backup (Step 2) the system locked activation files and you can use it to restore them after clean installation (Step 11b). This is not the same as the key on the COA which has likely faded for this system. Ensure that Windows Vista Service Pack 2 is installed immediately after Windows Vista is installed for best results.

The key you find for Microsoft Office (I assume Office 2007) should be valid. You will need the installer (see page 358 of Windows Reinstallation Guide). Install office 2007 Service Pack 3 immediately after Office 2007 for bes results.

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

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