How to recover a Dell-Ubuntu Image on your Dell PC

Summary: This article will take you through the Ubuntu OS re-installation process on a Dell PC.

Article Content


This article provides information about to recover your Dell Ubuntu image using either a recovery partition or removable media on your Dell PC.

Table of Contents:

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


Recovering the Dell/Ubuntu Image on your Dell PC


These instructions presuppose that you have purchased a Dell PC with an Ubuntu recovery partition already installed. Or that you have run through the create a recovery image process before you need to recover anything.

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

SLN265750_en_US__1icon Note: While this article and the pictures used were created around Ubuntu 9.04, the steps listed are still valid for the latest LTS versions.

If you have not got a recovery partition or media, then you will probably be best to go one of the links below. If you have a notebook or desktop system, select another article that better suits your requirements.

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Reinstalling from the Hard Drive


This OS reinstall option can be used to restore the system to its original factory settings from a partition on your Hard Drive.

  1. Restart your PC. Press the ESC key once after you see the Dell logo to invoke the GRUB menu. (You may need several attempts at this. It is easy to hit the key more than once and have the system skip GRUB and go to a command prompt.)

  2. Choose Restore OS to Factory State.


(Figure.1 Restore OS to Factory State)

  1. Choose Restore Linux OS partitions and click Continue.


(Figure.2 Restore Linux OS partitions)

  1. When it is finished the system will run the OEM Configuration Wizard. This allows you to choose system language and location, time zone, keyboard layout, and first user.


(Figure.3 Ubuntu Install)

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

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Reinstalling from the DVD or USB key


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

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

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

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

    • Restore only Linux OS Partition.


(Figure.4 Boot Menu)

  1. The installation will proceed, and you will see on-screen prompts to complete the first-time setup process.


(Figure.5 Welcome - Install Language)

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Directions for using a Dell Hosted Recovery Image


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

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

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


(Figure.6 Dell Windows Recovery Screen)

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


(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.

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

    NAME          MAJ:MIN    RM        SIZE    RO    TYPE    MOUNTPOINT
    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 hitting 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

SLN265750_en_US__1icon Note: Be aware all commands are in English, please 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 system.

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

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

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

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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, you are most likely want to keep two things:

  • /home folder with your files and settings.
  • Entries in the boot menu. (If 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.)

SLN265750_en_US__1icon Note: This operation should not damage your documents. However, 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 system partition, set its mount point as /. Be sure to keep the same format type, the same size, and untick the Format checkbox or all data on/will be deleted! Also set other partitions (/boot, /home) if 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.

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Additional Information:


SLN265750_en_US__1icon Note:
Software support is by Canonical through the following methods:
Technical Support is provided by Dell:

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Article Properties

Affected Product

Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Fixed Workstations

Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021



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