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

Summary: This article takes you through creating a Dell system image on your PC if it's using an Ubuntu operating system.

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. Preparing to create a Dell/Ubuntu Image
  2. Starting Out
  3. Base Image
  4. Overlay Framework
  5. Overlay Packages
  6. Destination Media
  7. Summary


Preparing to create a Dell/Ubuntu Image


This article takes you through how to create a Dell Ubuntu image using open-source content. It is a how-to guide that has been on our community site for some time.

The Dell Linux Engineering team publishes the open-source content that is overlaid and used in the Dell factory for installation. You can generate an image that emulates the open-source portions of the Dell factory process. This is because the original live filesystem from the Ubuntu media will be used.

The benefit of using an image like this is that you will get the Dell customizations applied on top of your standard Ubuntu image.

  • The Dell recovery framework will be put in place. This allows you to do a recovery from a recovery partition.
  • Adobe Flash is preinstalled.
  • The AMD or NVIDIA proprietary drivers will be preinstalled if needed.
  • The Broadcom Wireless drivers will be preinstalled if needed.
SLN265886_en_US__1icon Note: Other packages can be injected post-install into the media. If you already have a Dell system with Ubuntu that is shipped on it, you should use that DVD to perform the recovery. The DVD playback software and media playback codecs are NOT included in an image that is created by this tool. This tool will produce a system similar to what you receive when ordering Ubuntu, but not identical.

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Starting Out


To start out, you will need the following.

  • A copy of the latest version of the dell-recovery tool.
    This can be found at Launchpad SLN265886_en_US__2iC_External_Link_BD_v1
  • An Ubuntu installation, version 9.10 or later.
  • A copy of the Ubuntu Live DVD you would like to use as a base image.
SLN265886_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.
SLN265886_en_US__1icon Note: DVD media is recommended because it will include the AMD and NVIDIA graphics drivers on the media and full language support. CD media will work, but you will have to manually modify these things post-install.
  1. After installing the tool, you will find it located in System->Administration menu.

  2. If you run the tool on a computer that did not ship with Ubuntu on it, it will offer to run in BTO Image Builder Mode.


  1. If this is a factory shipped computer then start the tool like this # dell-recovery-media --builder

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Base Image Page


  1. The first question will be about what to use for the base media.


Any of the following are valid base targets:

  • Ubuntu Live CD or Live DVD image
  • Extracted CD or DVD image
  • Already generated image
  • Ubuntu Recovery partition from Dell factory or generated image
  • Other sources may also work, but will require some extra workarounds.

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Overlay Framework Page


  1. You will need a copy of the Dell factory content.

SLN265886_en_US__1icon Note: If the base image contains this, you can use it from there. If not then it can be fetched using GIT. The GIT tree is large, so it can take a while for it to fetch.


  1. If there is any support by Dell for this Operating System (OS) version, you will see it in the list of tags. If it is not supported yet, then use the origin/parent tag.

SLN265886_en_US__1icon Note: This is the least likely to work as it would represent the latest development.

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Overlay Packages Page


  1. Next, you can add in the additional overlay packages. As this is an advanced feature, we recommend you get your media working first, without adding in these types of packages.


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Destination Media Page


  1. The last question asks how do you want the media to be generated? Either way, an ISO image is created, but you can optionally burn it to a USB stick or writable DVD.


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Summary Page


  1. The summary page displays the content that you selected, and lets you set the version number.


  • If you are generating the image from a GIT tag, it will automatically be set to the version in the GIT tag.
  • If you are generating the image from the GIT tag origin/parent, it will automatically be set to X00
  • Are you generating the image from an existing recovery partition or generated image? It will be set to the old version with a decimal and number that is appended to it to represent a variation of an existing image.

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Additional Information:


SLN265886_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

Desktops & All-in-Ones, Laptops, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Fixed Workstations

Last Published Date

20 Apr 2021



Article Type