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Help Me Choose: System Backup and Restore

Dell offers a variety of products to help with the recovery of your operating system in the event of a serious failure. When ordering your new system, you have a choice between traditional recovery media (CD or DVD) or nothing.

Each Dell system* comes with recovery tools that can help you recover Windows from a serious error, and create recovery media using an external storage device.
You can perform repairs to the files that Windows uses to start itself, perform a restore operation using System Restore, and restore your entire computer and system files using backups that you have made previously.

Help Me Choose: System Backup and Restore

*The below mentioned choices are available based on the type of Dell PC that is purchased.

Choose If you … Features
Operating System Recovery Media Need a pre-burned disk with operating system recovery image Installs the Windows installation files if error occurs
DVD Software Recovery Media Need a pre-burned disk with DVD software recovery data Installs the CyberLink PowerDVD and/or Roxio® software installation files if error occurs
Resource DVD Need a pre-burned disk with drivers for your system Allows re-installation of software to accompany the hardware on the system

How do I get back to these states? What do I use? Notes
Dell Factory Image including operating system and all drivers and applications installed when your system was built in the Dell factory Factory Image Restore to restore the system back to the original factory image. Does not include any applications or data you may have added since your system was received from Dell.
Original Windows operating system image (does not install your Dell system drivers)
  1. Operating System Recovery Media Creator
  2. Create Recovery Drive utility in Windows
Installs only the Windows operating system. Does not include Dell system drivers or applications preinstalled on the system when you received it from Dell or any applications or data you may have added.
Most recent backup state for operating system partition Microsoft File History, System Restore and System Image Backup Follow instructions within the Microsoft Windows utilities, as steps and process can differ between Operating Systems.
Most recent state of entire computer including all hard disk partitions Windows System Image Backup from a removable device where files are stored. Follow instructions within the Microsoft Windows utilities, as steps and process can differ between Operating Systems.
An earlier point in time when my system was working well
  1. Microsoft File History
  2. Microsoft System Restore
  1. File History can be configured to backup on a schedule, incrementally or continuously. This allows for seamless restoration if a file or entire directory goes bad or missing
  2. Microsoft restore points can be used to get back to a point in time. 

In addition to the in-box Microsoft backup and recovery utilities, Dell pre-installs easy-to-use utilities that help you create recovery media, restore the system to the original software configuration and manage file and system backups. These solutions do the following:

1. Create a bootable recovery drive that includes the Windows Recovery Environment (also called "WinRE") and can include your Dell Factory Image (user’s choice). Your Dell Factory Image includes your operating system (OS), and any drivers and applications installed when your system was built in the Dell factory

How does this benefit me? The Windows Recovery Environment allows you to fix problems that are preventing Windows from starting. It also allows you to restore Windows to an earlier point in time, access a command prompt, and among other things, launch the Dell Factory Image Recovery utility and restore your system to your original image - all without having to be in Windows.

Note: It is strongly recommended that you include your Dell Factory Image on your recovery disk.

2. Create a one-time legal backup copy of your Microsoft Windows OS on a DVD or external storage device. The copy will also include your Dell factory-installed drivers.

How does this benefit me? This allows you to create a one-time backup copy of your original Microsoft Windows operating system to recover or reinstall your operating system in case of failure.

What do you want to back up? What do I use? Notes
Personal files, for example, pictures, music and documents from any hard drive partition
  1. Windows File History utility
  2. Windows Backup and Restore utility
Built-in Windows utilities
Operating system partition only including all programs and data stored there
  1. Windows System Image Backup utility
  2. Windows Backup and Restore utility
Built-in Windows utilities
Entire computer including all hard disk partitions Windows System Image Backup utility (to external storage device) Windows Complete PC Backup is not available in all OS versions

Note: Dell Backup and Recovery is no longer offered on Dell systems.

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*IDC Whitepaper “Optimizing Performance with Frequent Server Replacements for Enterprises” commissioned by Dell Technologies and Intel, March 2021. Results are based on interviews with 18 IT practitioners and decision makers at midsize and large enterprises and a web survey of 707 IT practitioners and decision makers at midsize and larger enterprises using Dell Technologies server solutions across 7 industries. See full whitepaper:

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