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

Summary: Learn how to download the operating system recovery image for your Dell computer using a Windows-based computer. The Dell OS recovery tool provides an easy interface to quicklySee more

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Article Content


Symptoms

Do you want to reinstall the operating system due to a computer crash, hard drive replacement, or other serious software problem with your Dell computer?

Dell recommends that supported computers use Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery for a premium restoration experience. For a list of computers that support SupportAssist OS Recovery, refer to the Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery Support Matrix for a full list. For more information about using SupportAssist OS Recovery, refer to article, "Restore your system using Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery "

If your computer does not support Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery, Dell provides operating system recovery image for Windows, Ubuntu, or Linux that was factory installed on your computer. You can download and use the Dell operating system recovery image to perform a clean installation, or reinstall Windows, Ubuntu, or Linux on your Dell computer. The Dell operating system recovery tool provides an interface to quickly download and create a bootable USB drive to reinstall the operating system.

NOTE: The Dell operating system recovery image is available for the original operating system that was shipped with the Dell computer.

What you need:

  • Service Tag of the Dell computer on which you want to install the operating system.
  • Download and install the 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 hard drive space to download the Dell operating system recovery image.

Cause

Dell customization of the operating system recovery image includes Windows, Ubuntu, or Linux operating system and all the factory-installed device drivers for that specific platform.

Note: The Dell operating system recovery image must be used on Dell computers only. It is not designed or tested for use on non-Dell computers.

To learn about downloading the operating system recovery image using a non-Windows computer, see the Dell knowledge base article How to Download and Use the Dell Operating System Recovery Image in Ubuntu or Linux.

Resolution

Using the Dell OS Recovery Tool

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

Step 1

Download and install the Dell OS Recovery Tool.

  1. Go to https://www.dell.com/support/osrecovery.
  2. Click Download OS Recovery Tool and save the file to the computer.
  3. Browse to the folder where the downloaded file is saved.
  4. Double-click the downloaded file and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.
Dell OS Recovery Tool download page
Image available in English only

Step 2

Identify the computer using the Service Tag or Express Service Code.

NOTE: The Dell OS Recovery Tool allows you to download either Microsoft Windows or Ubuntu recovery image that was preinstalled on your Dell computer.
  1. Are you downloading the recovery image using the same Dell computer? Select This computer.
  2. Are you using another working computer? Enter the Service Tag or Express Service Code of the Dell computer and click the search (magnifying glass) icon.
  3. After identifying the computer, click Next.
NOTE: If the Service Tag of your Dell computer is not recognized, contact Dell Technical Support.
Identify the computer in Dell OS Recovery Tool
Image available in English only

Step 3

Select the USB drive

WARNING: Dell recommends that you back up any important data from the USB drive. The Dell OS Recovery Tool formats the USB drive and all the data on the USB drive will be erased permanently.
  1. Disconnect any USB drive/s that are connected to the computer.
  2. Connect a USB drive with at least 16 GB of free storage space. This USB drive will be formatted and used to create the USB recovery media.
  3. Under the USB drive, select the USB drive that you would like to use to create the USB recovery media.
  4. Check the box next to I understand that the selected drive will be reformatted and existing data will be deleted.
  5. Click Download.
Select a USB drive in the Dell OS Recovery Tool
Image available in English only

Step 4

Download and save the recovery image

NOTE: The Dell OS Recovery Tool identifies the original operating system that was preinstalled on the Dell computer. The Dell OS Recovery Tool does not provide alternate operating systems for download.
  1. The operating system recovery image is downloaded and verified.
  2. The recovery image is mounted to the USB drive.
  3. After the USB recovery media is successfully created, a summary screen is displayed.
  4. Click Close.
Download progress in the Dell OS Recovery Tool
Image available in English only

Step 5

Recovery media creation is complete

  1. After the USB recovery media is successfully created, a summary screen is displayed.
  2. Click Close.
Summary screen after creating the USB recovery media
Image available in English only

Using the USB recovery media to install the operating system

  1. Connect the USB recovery media to the Dell computer where you want to install Microsoft Windows 10 or Windows 11.
  2. Restart the computer.
  3. At the Dell logo screen, tap the F12 key until you see the Preparing one time boot menu in the top-right corner of the screen.
  4. On the boot menu, under UEFI boot, select the USB recovery drive and press the Enter key.
  5. Learn how to Restore your Computer Using SupportAssist OS Recovery.
  1. Connect the USB recovery media to the Dell computer where you want to install Microsoft Windows 8.1 or 7.
  2. Restart the computer.
  3. At the Dell logo screen, tap the F12 key until you see the Preparing one time boot menu in the top-right corner of the screen.
  4. On the boot menu, under UEFI boot, select the USB recovery drive and press the Enter key.
  5. When Windows Setup appears, select the language and keyboard preferences.
  6. On the Windows Installation dialog box, click Install Now.
  7. Review the license agreement, and select I accept the license terms to proceed with the installation.
  8. In the window Which type of installation do you want? Click Custom (advanced).
  9. In 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 the Unallocated Space and click Next.
  10. Windows Setup automatically creates a partition, formats it, and then begins installing Windows.
  11. The installation process will take some time and your computer may restart several times.
  1. Connect the USB recovery media to the Dell computer where you want to install Microsoft Windows 8.1 or Windows 7.
  2. Restart the computer.
  3. At the Dell logo screen, tap the F12 key until you see the Preparing one time boot menu in the top-right corner of the screen.
  4. On the boot menu, under UEFI boot, select the USB recovery drive and press the Enter key.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process. The installation process will take some time and your computer may restart several times.

Additional Information

Frequently asked questions

The Advanced Mode in Dell OS Recovery Tool allows you to create a USB recovery media 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. You can create a USB recovery media on a Windows-based computer using the Dell OS Recovery Tool.

How to create a USB recovery media using an ISO image

  1. Download and install the Dell OS Recovery Tool on a Windows computer.
  2. Click Start, then open the Dell OS Recovery Tool application.
    NOTE: Click Yes in the User Account Control prompt. The Windows user account must have administrator privileges to install the Dell OS Recovery Tool application.
  3. Click Search (magnifying glass icon).
  4. In the open window, browse to the folder location where you have saved the operating system ISO image file.
  5. Select the .iso file and click Open.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Connect a USB flash drive with at least 16 GB of storage space available to the computer. This USB flash drive will be formatted and used to create the USB recovery media.
  8. Under USB drive, select the USB flash drive that you would like to use 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. The Dell OS Recovery Tool formats the USB flash drive and all the data on the USB flash drive will be erased permanently.
  9. Select the Partition Style.
    • GPT - Windows 10 and Windows 11.
    • MBR - For any other operating system.
  10. To begin creating the USB recovery media, click Burn OS.
  11. Once the process is complete, you will return to the main Advanced Mode screen.
Creating a USB recovery media using an ISO image in the Dell OS Recovery Tool
Figure 2: Creating a USB recovery media using an ISO image in the Dell OS Recovery Tool (image in English)

Windows 10 or Windows 11 or Windows 11 recovery image enables you to format the hard drive and install a clean copy of Windows 10 on your computer. The file size of this recovery image is considerably higher than the Windows 10 or Windows 11 Automated by SupportAssist.

The recovery image that is named Windows 10 or Windows 11 Automated by SupportAssist enables you to create a USB recovery media for Dell computers that support SupportAssist OS Recovery.
Difference between Windows 10 Automated by SupportAssist and Windows 10 images
Figure 3: Difference between Windows 10 or Windows 11 Automated by SupportAssist and Windows 10 or Windows 11 images (image in English)

SupportAssist OS Recovery is supported on select Dell computers that run a Dell factory-installed Microsoft Windows 10 or Windows 11 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 the new operating system on your computer along with the default drivers and applications.

To learn more about SupportAssist OS Recovery, see the Dell knowledge base 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 supported on select Dell computers that run a Dell factory-installed Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. For the list of computers where SupportAssist OS Recovery is available, see the Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery Support Matrix under Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery Support Documentation.

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

The Dell operating system recovery image can be downloaded using a non-Dell computer.

  • On a Windows-based computer - Dell recommends using the Dell OS Recovery Tool to download the operating system recovery image and create the USB recovery media. See the using the Dell OS Recovery Tool section of this article.
  • On an Ubuntu or Linux-based computer - See the Dell knowledge base article How to Download and Use the Dell OS Recovery Image in Ubuntu or Linux.
  • On a Mac or Android device
    1. Browse to the Dell Recovery Image website.
    2. Enter the Service Tag of the Dell computer and the verification code, and click Check Availability.
    3. Select the Windows, Ubuntu, or Linux operating system, and click Download Selected Files.
    4. Review the Terms and Conditions, and click Continue to download the file.
    5. Save the operating system recovery image file (ISO file format).
    6. Use a Windows or Linux-based computer to create the USB recovery media.
Note: The integrated disk utility on Mac computers does not support formatting a drive using the NTFS file system. The install.wim file of the Windows operating system is larger than 4 GB and may cause errors while trying to create the USB recovery key. Dell recommends using a Windows or Linux-based computer to create the USB recovery drive.
Note: The terminal utility may not be accessible on all Android devices. Android devices may also require a special USB OTG adapter to connect USB drives to the device. Dell recommends using a Windows or Linux-based computer to create the USB recovery drive.

Dell OS Recovery Tool utility works on Windows-based computers only.

The Dell operating system recovery image can be downloaded using any Windows, Ubuntu, Linux, Mac, or Android device.

  • On a Windows-based computer - Dell recommends using the Dell OS Recovery Tool to download the operating system recovery image and create the USB recovery media. See the using the Dell OS Recovery Tool section of this article.
  • On an Ubuntu or Linux-based computer - See the Dell knowledge base article How to Download and Use the Dell OS Recovery Image in Ubuntu or Linux.
  • On a Mac or Android device
    1. Browse to the Dell Recovery Image website.
    2. Enter the Service Tag of the Dell computer and the verification code, and click Check Availability.
    3. Select the Windows, Ubuntu, or Linux operating system, and click Download Selected Files.
    4. Review the Terms and Conditions, and click Continue to download the file.
    5. Save the operating system recovery image file (ISO file format).
    6. Use a Windows or Linux-based computer to create the USB recovery media.
Note: The integrated disk utility on Mac computers does not support formatting a drive using the NTFS file system. The install.wim file of the Windows operating system is larger than 4 GB and may cause errors while trying to create the USB recovery key. Dell recommends using a Windows or Linux-based computer to create the USB recovery drive.
Note: The terminal utility may not be accessible on all Android devices. Android devices may also require a special USB OTG adapter to connect USB drives to the device. Dell recommends using a Windows or Linux-based computer to create the USB recovery drive.

Dell Windows recovery image is available for 64-bit Microsoft Windows operating systems. The 32-bit version of Windows is not available for download.

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 operating system recovery image files in an ISO file format are between 5-16 GB in size (the file size varies between different operating systems). Once the file is downloaded, the Dell OS Recovery Tool verifies the integrity of the file before creating the USB recovery media. The time to download and verify the integrity of the file can vary depending on network speed and file size.

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

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. At the Dell logo screen, tap the F12 key until you see the Preparing one time boot menu in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Use the arrow keys to select BIOS or System Setup and press the Enter key.
  4. Disable Secure Boot.
  5. Enable Legacy Boot in the BIOS.
  6. Save the BIOS settings, and reboot the computer.
Note: For specific instructions on how to enable or disable Secure Boot or Legacy Boot in the BIOS, see the User Guide of your Dell computer.

If you download a large file through a Dell online application (such as the Dell OS Recovery Tool), you may receive a "Not enough space on drive" error. This is due to a space limitation on the hard drive where the files are being saved to. Some operating system recovery images 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 Dell knowledge base article How to Free up Disk Space in Microsoft Windows.

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

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.com/support/drivers. After 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 How to Download and Install Dell Drivers.

  • Windows 11, Windows 10 or Windows 11, Windows 8.1, or Windows 8 - Dell computers that are shipped with Microsoft Windows 11, Windows 10 or Windows 11, Windows 8.1, or Windows 8, the product key for Microsoft Windows is embedded on the system board (motherboard) of the computer. The activation process automatically retrieves the product key from the system board. For Dell computers 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 on a label on the top of a Dell desktop and 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 preinstalled on your Dell computer.

To learn more about downloading and installing Dell factory-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 then run the application or the installer again.

If the Dell OS Recovery Tool shows this error or does not recognize the Service Tag of your Dell computer, contact Dell Technical Support for further assistance.


Out of Warranty support Out of warranty? No problem. Browse to the Dell.com/support website and enter your Dell Service Tag and view our offers.

Note: Offers are only available for US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, China, and Japan personal computer customers. Server and Storage not applicable.

Article Properties


Affected Product

Alienware, Inspiron, OptiPlex, Vostro, XPS, G Series, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Fixed Workstations, Mobile Workstations

Last Published Date

13 May 2022

Version

17

Article Type

Solution