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Dell Direct USB Key - FAQs

Summary: Learn about Dell Direct USB key and how to use it to recover the operating system on your Dell PC.

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. Video on Dell Direct USB Key
  2. What is a Dell Direct USB Key?
  3. What will the Dell Direct USB Key install?
  4. How to use the Dell Direct USB Key?
  5. Additional Information

Video on Dell Direct USB Key

(English Only)

  • For Windows 8 or Windows 10
    SLN179156_en_US__1icon NOTE: The Video only addresses Windows 8 but the Windows 10 process is exactly the same as the Windows 8 process.

  • For Windows 7
SLN179156_en_US__1icon While restoring Windows 7 Operating System on your Dell computer using the Dell Direct USB Key, you may find USB Storage Device or Toshiba Device. Choose "Toshiba Device" (if available) in the One Time Boot Menu (F12 Menu) to proceed with the restoration process.

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What is a Dell Direct USB Key?

The Dell Direct USB Key is designed to provide a quick resolution in case of an operating system issue, without the loss of data.

  • Fast, easy and user-friendly efficient solution to fix your OS issues
  • Help diagnose the issue and find the best solution (even if your computer is not able to load OS)
  • Assist you in automatic back up and restoration of your personal data and settings
  • Automated Re-installation of Operating System
  • Customizable data backup
  • Optical drive free or Disk free operations
  • Exclusive product from Dell
SLN179156_en_US__1icon The Dell Direct USB Key cannot be used as an external storage device.

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What will the Dell Direct USB Key install?

The key will install the following:

  1. Operating System - Windows 7 or Windows 8 (based on the version originally shipped with the PC).
  2. Basic device drivers (additional device drivers may be required. Refer to Dell knowledge-base article Drivers and downloads FAQs.
  3. Applications
    1. Windows 7
      • Dell Data Safe Local (DSL)
      • Dell Digital Delivery (DDD)
      • My Dell
      • Link to Microsoft Office Trial
    2. Microsoft Windows 8.1, Windows 8 or Windows 10
      • Dell Backup and Recovery (DBAR)
      • Dell Digital Delivery
      • My Dell
      • Link to Microsoft Office Trial
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How to use the Dell Direct USB Key?

  1. Power off the PC.
  2. Disconnect all external devices except the keyboard and mouse (and monitor in case of a desktop PC). For laptop PCs, ensure the power adapter is connected.
  3. Connect the Dell Direct USB Key to one of the USB ports.
  4. Power on the PC and tap F12 key on the keyboard.
  5. Highlight the following (based on the operating system) and press Enter.
    • Windows 7:
      USB Storage Device
      Toshiba Device
    • Windows 8.1, Windows 8 or Windows 10:
      EFI USB path 1
      Toshiba MSFT NORB PMAP (if you have multiple choices, select the first one)
      USB Storage Device
  6. Select the language.
    SLN179156_en_US__1icon Note: This is the display language of the Dell Direct USB Key process, and may be the same for the operating system, select accordingly.
  7. In the End User License Agreement, scroll to the bottom, check "I Accept" and click Continue.
  8. The next screen will provide the "Process Overview", click Continue.
  9. Once the process is completed, it will provide an analysis of the test performed.
  10. Click Continue or Exit based on the analysis provided.
    SLN179156_en_US__1icon Note: If the issue is fixed, clicking on Exit will restart the system back to the desktop.
  11. Click Continue. Connect an external storage device for data backup when prompted.
  12. Click Select More to browse and add additional files to be backed up.
  13. Click Continue once you have selected all the required files for backup.
    SLN179156_en_US__1icon Note: If the external storage device is not detected it will prompt to connect the external storage device.
  14. Once the data backup is complete, click Continue.
  15. Click Continue to start the operating system restoration (do not disconnect the external storage device until prompted).
  16. Once the process is complete, click Restart.
    SLN179156_en_US__1icon Note: The Restart button will be greyed out. Unplug the Dell Direct USB Key and any external storage device and then click Restart.
  17. The PC will restart a few times and will prompt to connect the external storage device.

After all the restarts, the PC will boot into the operating system. Confirm that all the data has been restored. At this point, if all the data is restore, the entire process is complete. You may now proceed to setup personal settings, application installation, etc,.

Follow the instructions below only if the backed up data could not be restored.

SLN179156_en_US__1icon For data security purposes, the backed up data on the external storage device is encrypted and can only be restored to the original system.
  1. Download the Migration Utility  to restore your data.
  2. Create a new folder on the desktop and name it "Migration Utility"
  3. Unzip the file in the folder created
  4. Ensure that the following files are in the folder:
  5. Connect the external storage device with the backed up data
  6. Double Click on MigRestore.exe (For any pop-up confirmation, click ‘Yes’ to run MigRestore.exe)
  7. Click on Browse and select the external storage device
  8. Click on Restore to begin data restore process

Once the process is complete, the backed up data will be restored

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Additional Information

Dell Direct USB Key is not available for all PCs. Contact Dell Technical Support for more information.
No, Dell Direct USB Key is not compatible with a non-Dell PC.
Dell Direct USB Key is compatible with Windows 8.1, Windows 8 or Windows 7
It covers the following:
  • Language
  • Keyboard Settings
  • Currency
  • Date/Time Format
  • Time Zone
  • Windows Color and Appearance
  • Desktop Background
  • Screen saver
  • Sounds
  • Mouse pointers
  • Windows Themes
  • Windows Display Settings
  • Profile Picture
  • Network Settings
  • Internet Favorites
  • Browser Settings (Internet Explorer only)
  • Power Profiles
  • Task bar
  • Start Menu Settings
  • Accessibility
The data can be backed up to any USB storage device, but an external USB hard drive is recommended.
Dell Direct USB Key has been tested on PCs with SSDs and RAID configuration and is fully compatible.
No, the backed up data is encrypted and designed to automatically restore the files from the backup location to your PC.
Yes, once the data has been restored and verified by you, the restoration file from the external storage device can be deleted.
Yes, Dell Direct USB Key can identify only Microsoft Outlook PST files for email backup. If Microsoft Outlook has been configured to use a PST file, this can be backed up.
As for users with Windows Mail, the user has to ensure that the path C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\ is backed up.
If you are using any other email application, refer to software manufacturer for more information on how to back up emails in that email application.
No, Dell Direct USB Key contains files that is unique to one Dell PC. Using the Dell Direct USB Key on another PC may cause boot issues, driver issues and overall system stability issues.
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Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021



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