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Last reply by 10-05-2022 Unsolved
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SupportAssist OS Recovery Failure

Dell G3 15 3500

A few months ago my Dell G3 laptop began just "stopping." No BSOD. No error message. Just dead. So I contacted Dell tech support, who had me "update" my BIOS (to the same BIOS that was already installed). That seemed to work for a couple of weeks, the the G3 began stopping again. So again I contacted Dell tech support. They recommended a factory reset using their SupportAssist OS Recovery tool, which I did. The Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery tool asked if I wanted to backup my data before reformatting the hard drive, which I did, following their process. After a couple hours, my data was supposedly backed up, and the factory reset began, which also took about an hour. After the factory reset, the SupportAssist OS Recovery tool did not ask about restoring my data, as the Dell procedure claimed it would, so I contacted Dell tech support. The tech "took over" my G3 laptop and found my backed up data, but was unable to restore it. After a week of back-and-forth with Dell tech support, they "elevated" my case to a "level 3" whatever that is. To me, it was just double-talk to stall for time because another 2 weeks passed without my data being restored. At this point, Dell tech support was not even answering my emails or replying to my chats. So I contacted the Better Business Bureau and explained the situation. Long story short, after a few weeks of back-and-forth with Dell via the BBB, Dell's answer was that is was my fault the data could not be restored and that they were not in any way responsible. The BBB, which turns out to be powerless, closed my case as being unresolved. So here I am with a G3 laptop that I don't even know if Dell actually fixed the stopping problem, and all my data is gone. And for this I paid an extra $499 for premium tech support.

Replies (15)
3 Zinc
154

I'm sorry to hear that (I don't work for Dell). Could you describe the backup process that you referenced ("The Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery tool asked if I wanted to backup my data before reformatting the hard drive, which I did, following their process.")?

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
148

Please bear in mind I am going from memory for a process that (thanks to Dell) occurred over 5 weeks ago, so my memory may not be entirely picture-perfect. Nonetheless, when you initiate the Factory Reset option from the Dell SupportAssist Recovery tool, the menu asks if you want to back up your data (Recommended). I replied "yes," so the tool began looking for an external (USB) drive. It found my USB drive, then asked me to select which files/folders I wanted to back up, which I did by clicking on the folders (check boxes). After selecting all my files/folders, I initiated the backup (I don't remember whether I clicked "OK" or "Backup" or what), and progress bar appeared, showing the estimated time to back up and the progress of the backup. After about two hours (I cannot recall exactly how long), the message popped up that my backup was complete, and I clicked (I believe) "OK" to continue the factory reset process. The Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery tool then showed the progress of cleaning the disk, installing the OS, etc. until it was completed. Then the tool rebooted the computer and went through the Windows OS startup process, but the Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery tool never popped back up to ask if I wanted to recover my data, as Dell's email said it would. That is when I contacted Dell, and they could not figure out how to recover my backed up data. I can see the "SupportAssist" backup folders on my USB drive (and so could they). but no one has been able to figure out how to recover them. They appear to be in some kind of proprietary format, which is understandable, but one would think Dell could use their own format. 

3 Zinc
145

The last part is particularly what I am interested in. Do those folders contain things in them? Try seeing how much space they take up on the USB just to see if they are completely empty or at least hold some hope of containing something.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
139

The folder contains an archive.zip file and a BackupHistory.xml file. I cannot open the archive.zip file,. but Explorer reports it as 1KB. The BackupHistory.xml file is 13,502 KB.

134

Yeah, if the all the folders are taking up only KBs then maybe SupportAssist never properly backed up said files. You could try extracting the zip file using file explorer or a tool like 7zip (open source). You could also try opening up the xml file in notepad and seeing if you can glean any useful information from it.

2 Bronze
2 Bronze
127

Hence, my point. It took you a few minutes to determine that Dell's SupportAssist OS Recovery tool failed to properly back up my data. Why did Dell tech support jerk me around for weeks and then blame that failure on me? 

126


@baunkst wrote:

Hence, my point. It took you a few minutes to determine that Dell's SupportAssist OS Recovery tool failed to properly back up my data. Why did Dell tech support jerk me around for weeks and then blame that failure on me? 


You would have to ask them about that.

In the future, I suggest you backup your files and data in a more conventional manner. You can use File-Explorer to copy them, or use something like Macrium-Reflect to Image all the drives to a File-Set.

To restore your machine, I suggest you clean-install Windows in a more proven and conventional manner also.


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123

Well part of the point is that if Dell is providing all of this to the customer as a solution, the customer should not have to do any 'conventional' methods. Technically, Dell's provided solution should be the convention and anything outside of that a workaround.

123

Please let me know if attempting to open the zip file with a program like 7-zip or opening the xml file in notepad yielded anything of use/interest (or if you would like to upload those files somewhere for investigation).

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