How to Download and Use the Dell OS Recovery Image in Microsoft Windows


How to Download and Use the Dell OS Recovery Image in Microsoft Windows


Do you need to reinstall Microsoft Windows or Linux on your Dell computer due to a system crash, hard drive replacement, and so on?
The Dell OS Recovery Tool helps you download a customized Dell recovery image of Microsoft Windows or Linux that was preinstalled on your Dell computer. Dell OS Recovery Tool now supports downloading SupportAssist OS Recovery for supported Dell computers. Follow the steps below to download the utility, create a USB recovery media and reinstall Microsoft Windows or Linux on your Dell computer.


What you need

  • Service Tag of the Dell computer on which you want to install Microsoft Windows or Linux
  • Download and install Dell OS Recovery Tool (runs in Microsoft Windows only)
  • Blank USB flash drive with at least 16 GB of free space
  • Microsoft .Net Framework 4.5.2 or higher
  • Administrator user rights and at least 16 GB of available storage space to download the Dell ISO recovery image
Note: To learn how to download the operating system recovery image that is available in an ISO file format using a Linux, Mac, or Android device, see the Dell knowledge base article How to download and use the Dell OS Recovery Image in Linux.


Using the Dell OS Recovery Tool

Dell OS Recovery Tool helps you create a USB recovery media using Dell ISO recovery image that is customized for your Dell computer. Dell OS Recovery Tool allows you to download either Microsoft Windows or Linux operating system recovery image, whichever was preinstalled on your Dell computer. To create a USB recovery media using a Windows computer:

Pre-requisite - Download and install the Dell OS Recovery Tool on your Windows computer.

  1. Click Start, then open the Dell OS Recovery Tool application.
    Note: Click Yes in the User Account Control prompt.

  2. Select a computer and click Next
    • If you are using the same Dell computer - Click This Computer
    • If you are using another working computer - Under Another computer, enter the Service Tag of the Dell computer and click Search ( magnifying glass icon)

  3. Connect a USB flash drive with at least 16 GB of storage space available to the computer.

  4. Under USB drive, select the USB flash drive that you would like to utilize to create the USB recovery media. Check the button "I understand that the selected drive will be reformatted and existing data will be deleted."
    Warning: Dell recommends that you back up any important data from the USB flash drive. Dell OS Recovery Tool formats the USB flash drive and all data on the USB flash drive is lost permanently.

  5. To begin downloading the operating system for your Dell computer, click Download.
    Note: Dell OS Recovery tool identifies the original operating system that was pre-installed with the Dell computer. Dell OS Recovery tool does not provide alternate operating systems for download.

  6. Once the process is complete, you are presented with a summary screen.
Create a recovery USB drive for your Dell computer
Figure 1: Create a recovery USB key for your Dell computer using Dell OS Recovery Tool (image in English).

Using the USB recovery media to install Microsoft Windows

  1. Connect the USB recovery media that you created to the Dell computer where you want to install Microsoft Windows.
  2. Restart the computer and when the Dell logo appears, tap F12 key until you see Preparing one time boot menu in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. On the boot menu, select the USB drive and press Enter.
  4. On the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot, and then click Recover from a drive.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to finish installing Microsoft Windows.
    The installation process takes some time and your computer may restart several times.
Note: For Dell computers with Windows 10 preinstalled, find more information about recovering the operating system using SupportAssist OS Recovery.
  1. Connect the USB drive to the Dell computer where you want to install Microsoft Windows.
  2. Restart the computer. When the Dell logo appears, tap F12 key until you see Preparing one time boot menu in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. On the boot menu, under UEFI boot, select your USB drive and press Enter.
  4. When Windows Setup appears, select your preferences.
  5. On the Windows Installation dialog box, click Install Now.
  6. Review the license agreement, and select I accept the license terms.
  7. In the window, Which type of installation do you want? screen, click Custom (advanced).
  8. On the Where do you want to install Windows window, select the largest internal disk as the Primary Partition, and then click Next.
    If the Primary Partition shows 0 GB free, select Unallocated Space and click Next.
  9. Windows Setup automatically creates a partition, formats it, and then begins installing Windows.
    The installation process takes some time and your computer may restart several times.
To learn more about how to reinstall Linux using the USB recovery key, see the Dell knowledge base article Installing Linux operating system using the USB recovery key.

To learn more about how to download the operating system recovery image and create a USB recovery key using a Linux, Mac or an Android device, see the Dell knowledge base article How to download and use the Dell OS Recovery Image in Linux.

Frequently asked questions

The Advanced Mode in Dell OS Recovery Tool allows you to create a USB recovery key using an operating system image file (ISO file format). This is useful if you downloaded the operating system recovery image using a Linux, Mac, or Android device and then creating the USB recovery key on a Windows computer using the Dell OS Recovery Tool.

How to create a USB recovery media using an ISO image

  1. Click Search (magnifying glass icon).
  2. In the pop-up window, browse to the folder location of the operating system ISO image file.
  3. Select the .iso file and click Open.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Connect a USB flash drive with at least 16 GB of storage space available to the computer.
  6. Under USB drive, select the USB flash drive that you would like to utilize to create the USB recovery media and check the button " I understand that the selected drive will be reformatted and existing data will be deleted".
    Warning: Dell recommends that you back up any important data from the USB flash drive. Dell OS Recovery Tool formats the USB flash drive and all data on the USB flash drive is lost permanently.
  7. Select the Partition Style.
    • GPT - Windows 10.
    • MBR - For any other operating system.
  8. To begin creating the USB recovery media, click Burn OS.
  9. Once the process is complete, you return to the main Advanced Mode screen.
Using the Advanced Mode on Dell OS Recovery Tool
Figure 2: Creating a recovery USB key using an ISO image on Dell OS Recovery Tool (image in English)

Windows 10 recovery image enables you to format the hard drive and install a clean copy of Windows 10 on your computer. File size of this recovery image is considerably higher than the Windows 10 Automated by SupportAssist.


The recovery image that is named Windows 10 Automated by SupportAssist enables you to create a recovery USB drive that supports SupportAssist OS Recovery.


Figure 3: Difference between Windows 10 Automated by SupportAssist and Windows 10 images (image in English)

SupportAssist OS Recovery is supported on select Dell computers that run a Dell factory-installed Microsoft Windows 10 operating system.

Key features of SupportAssist OS Recovery:

  • Scan Hardware—Run a diagnostic scan on your computer to detect hardware issues.
  • Repair System—Troubleshoot common issues that may occur before your computer boots to the operating system. This option enables you to avoid the need to restore your computer to its factory state.
  • Back Up Files—Create a copy of your personal files on an external storage device.
  • Restore System—Restore the operating system and default applications to the state they were in, when your computer was shipped from the Dell factory.
  • Cloud Image Restore—Download and install new operating system on your computer along with the default drivers and applications.

For more information, see the Dell knowledgebase article How to Use Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery

Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery provides a recovery environment with tools to diagnose and troubleshoot issues that may occur before your computer boots to the operating system. When your computer is unable to boot to the operating system after repeated attempts, it automatically starts SupportAssist OS Recovery. This recovery environment enables you to diagnose hardware issues, repair your computer, back up your files, or restore your computer to its factory state.

SupportAssist OS Recovery is available only on certain Dell computers that run a Dell factory-installed Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. For the list of systems where SupportAssist OS Recovery is available, see the Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery Support Matrix at Dell.com/ServiceabilityTools.

Note: If the partitions on the hard drive were altered in any way (clean install of Windows or other operating systems), SupportAssist OS Recovery partition may no longer be available.

The Dell OS Recovery Tool utility works on any Windows-based computer. Follow the instructions in the Using the Dell OS Recovery Tool section of this Dell knowledge base article.

Dell OS Recovery Tool utility works on Windows-based computers only. To manually download the operating system recovery image file (ISO file format) using a Linux, Mac, or Android device:

  1. Browse to Dell Recovery Image website.
  2. Enter the Service Tag of the Dell computer and verification code, and click Check Availability.
  3. Select the Windows or Linux operating system, and click Download Selected Files.
  4. Review and agree to the Terms and Conditions, click Continue for the download to begin.
  5. Save the operating system recovery image file (ISO file format).

To learn how to create a USB recovery key on a Linux computer, see the Dell knowledge base article How to download and use the Dell OS Recovery Image in Linux.

Dell Windows recovery image is available for 64-bit Microsoft Windows operating systems only.

Dell OS Recovery Tool can pause and resume the download if there is a network connectivity issue. The download resumes when the network connection is restored.

Typical Windows ISO files are between 5-16 GB in size (varies across different Windows operating systems). Once the file is downloaded, the Dell OS Recovery tool verifies the integrity of the file before creating the recovery key. The time to download and verify the integrity of the file, can vary based on network speed and file size.

To successfully boot to the USB or DVD recovery media to install Microsoft Windows 7 on the Dell computer:

  1. Restart your computer.
  2. Tap F12 key while the computer is restarting and boot into BIOS or System Setup.
  3. Disable Secure Boot.
  4. Enable Legacy Boot in the BIOS.
  5. Save the BIOS settings, and reboot the computer.
Note: For specific instructions on how to enable or disable Secure Boot or Legacy Boot on your Dell computer, see the User Guide of your Dell computer.

If you download a large file through a Dell online application (such as Dell Windows Recovery Image website), you may receive a "Not enough space on drive" error. This is due to a space limitation on the drive where the files are being saved to. Some recovery images that are downloaded through Dell Windows recovery image can be up to 16 GB in file size.

To correct this error, free up additional disk space on the hard drive. For information about freeing up disk space in Microsoft Windows, see the Microsoft knowledge base articles:

Also, if you have an external hard drive or secondary hard drive with more disk space, select that drive to save the files to.

You can try to resolve this issue by using a different brand of USB drive. Certain brands of USB drives may cause this issue.

The operating system recovery image may not contain the latest device drivers for your Dell computer. The latest device drivers are available at Dell Drivers & Downloads website. Once the operating system is installed, Dell recommends that you download and install the latest device drivers.

To learn more about downloading and installing device drivers, see the Dell knowledge base article Drivers & Downloads - FAQs.

  • Windows 10, 8.1, or 8 - Dell computers shipped with Microsoft Windows 10, 8,1 or 8, the product key for Microsoft Windows embedded on the system board of the computer. The activation process automatically retrieves the product key from the system board. For Dell systems shipped with Windows 10, the activation information will be linked to your Microsoft Account that you used to set up your computer.
  • Windows 7 - Dell computers shipped with Microsoft Windows 7, the product key for Microsoft Windows 7 is located on a label on the top of a Dell desktop and on the bottom panel of a Dell laptop.

To learn more about Windows activation, see the Dell knowledge base article Windows Product Key Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The operating system recovery image does not include the software that was pre-installed on your Dell computer.

To learn more about downloading and installing Dell installed software, see the Dell knowledge base article Where Can I Download Drivers and Dell-Installed Software for My Dell Computer

If the Dell OS Recovery tool fails to launch after installation or if running the installer does not start the installation process, temporarily disable the anti-virus or anti-malware software that may be installed on the computer and try running the application or installer again.


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Article ID: SLN299044

Last Date Modified: 09/14/2020 11:08 AM

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