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How to recover a Dell Ubuntu Image on your Dell Computer

Summary: This article takes you through the Ubuntu operating system reinstallation process on a Dell computer.

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

Article Content


Table of Contents:

  1. Recovering the Dell Ubuntu Image on your Dell Computer
  2. Reinstalling from the Hard Drive
  3. Reinstalling from DVD or USB drive
  4. Directions for using a Dell Hosted Recovery Image
  5. Reinstalling from Live Media

Recovering the Dell Ubuntu Image on your Dell computer

These instructions assume that you have purchased a Dell computer with an Ubuntu recovery partition already installed.

You can find the instructions for this process below. However, your machine must be in a working condition for this to work. It is best to do this before you load any information onto the computer.

Note: The pictures used are from earlier versions of Ubuntu. However, the steps listed are still valid for the latest Long-Term Support (LTS) versions.

If you do not have a recovery partition or media, then you should go to one of the links below. If you have a laptop or desktop, select another article that better suits your requirements.
Note: Before you attempt a reinstall or restore of your operating system, Dell Technologies recommends that you back up your data.

Reinstalling from the Hard Drive


This Operating System reinstall option is used to restore the computer to its original factory settings from a partition on your Hard Drive.

  1. Restart your computer. Press the ESC key once after you see the Dell logo to invoke the Grand Unified Bootloader (GRUB) menu on computers with a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) BIOS. (You may need several attempts at this. It is common to press the key more than once and have the computer skip GRUB and go to a command prompt.)

  2. Choose Restore OS to Factory State.

Restore OS

(Figure.1 Restore OS to Factory State)

  1. Choose Restore Linux OS partitions and click Continue.

Restore Linux

(Figure.2 Restore Linux OS partitions)

  1. The computer runs the OEM Configuration Wizard when it is finished. This allows you to choose language and location, time zone, keyboard layout, and first user.

Ubuntu Install

(Figure.3 Ubuntu Install)

Note: Recovery options have been included under Advanced options for Ubuntu, on more recent Ubuntu revisions using GRUB2. You can try to either repair or to recover the installation from this option.


Reinstalling from the DVD or USB drive


Directions for recovering from a DVD or USB drive that is created from an ISO that the Recovery Media Creator created.

  1. Restart the computer and tap rapidly on the F12 key, when you see the Dell logo appear. Select the CD/DVD drive or USB drive from the boot once menu that appears. Whichever is appropriate to the media that you have.

  2. The boot menu is similar to an Ubuntu disk. Choose the appropriate recovery option:

    • Restore Entire Hard Drive - causes all your data to be erased. This is the closest to a factory installation.

    • Restore only Linux OS Partition.

Boot Menu

(Figure.4 Boot Menu)

  1. The installation proceeds, and you see an on-screen prompt to complete the first-time setup process.

Welcome - choose your language

(Figure.5 Welcome - Install Language)


Directions for using a Dell Hosted Recovery Image


How to create bootable installation media from the Dell support site using a Linux computer:

  1. Open a web browser such as Chrome or Firefox and navigate to:

  2. Enter the service tag of the computer that you are creating media for and then click Check Availability.

Recovery Screen

(Figure.6 Dell Windows Recovery Screen)

  1. Select Download, from the Download the recovery image box.

Download Screen

(Figure.7 Dell Windows Recovery Image Download Screen)

  1. Insert a blank USB flash drive that is at least 8 GB or larger.

  2. Open a Terminal by searching the term terminal in the home button, or by pressing the hotkey combination CTRL + ALT + T Simultaneously and releasing together.

  3. Type lsblk in the terminal window to get a list of mounted drives. Locate the drive that matches the size and/or name of the USB flash drive.

    loop0 7:0 0 13M 1 loop /snap/gnome-characters/96
    loop1 7:1 0 139.5M 1 loop /snap/gnome-3-26-1604/64
    loop2 7:2 0 86.6M 1 loop /snap/core/4650
    loop3 7:3 0 3.7M 1 loop /snap/gnome-system-monitor/41
    loop4 7:4 0 14.5M 1 loop /snap/gnome-logs/34
    loop5 7:5 0 2.3M 1 loop /snap/gnome-calculator/170
    loop6 7:6 0 31.9M 1 loop /snap/gtk-common-themes/3
    sda 8:0 1 28.8G 0 disk
    |- sda1 8:1 1 28.8G 0 part /media/dell/
    nvme0n1 259:0 0 238.5G 0 disk
    |-nvme0n1p1 259:1 0 750M 0 part /boot/efi/
  4. Type the following command followed by pressing the Enter key, in this case the path from the terminal window above is used as an example:

    sudo dd if=~/Downloads/Dell_XPS_9380_20190321_210_A02.iso of=/dev/sda bs=1024K status=progress conv=sync
    [sudo] password for dell:
    1928331264 bytes (1.9 GB, 1.8 GiB) copied, 147 s, 13.1 MB/s
Note: All commands are in English, and check for any changes that may be required for your language.
  1. Once the process is complete, eject the USB flash drive, and it can now be used to install Ubuntu on your computer.

How to create bootable installation media from the Dell support site using a Windows computer:

  1. Dell now hosts a recovery image online for its products and Operating systems. If your computer shipped from Dell with Ubuntu installed, click the following link and enter the Service Tag from the affected computer:

  2. If you get the option to download a recovery image for your computer, follow the instructions in the following article:

Reinstalling from Live Media

When an upgrade or driver has failed, sometimes reinstalling the operating system is the quickest way to solve the problem.

When reinstalling, the two things you want to keep are:

  • The /home folder which contains all your files and settings
  • The boot menu entries, where you have multiple Operating Systems installed

Since Version 8.04 you can reinstall the Ubuntu operating system without losing the content of the /home folder. (The folder that contains program settings, Internet bookmarks, emails and all your documents, music, videos, and other user files.) This can be done even if /home is not on a separate partition. (Which is the case by default if you did not manually separate it when installing Ubuntu originally.)

Note: This operation should not damage your documents. However, the best practice when dealing with operating system files is to backup your documents and settings (including /home hidden files) on external media.

Carry out the following steps:

  1. Run the Ubuntu installer.

  2. Follow the prompts until the Installation type (or Allocate disk space) menu.

  3. Choose manual partitioning (Something-else option), then select Ubuntu partition, set its mount point as /. Be sure to keep the same format type, the same size, and untick the Format checkbox or it deletes all the data! Set any other partitions (/boot, /home) as needed.

  4. Then finish the installation process. (This may take several hours, like a normal install)

  5. After reinstalling, user accounts must be re-created with the same login and password.

Additional Information

Article Properties

Affected Product

Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Fixed Workstations

Last Published Date

20 May 2024



Article Type

How To