How to Access Dell PC Restore

By Joanne Mendes

Dell has a system restore program hidden in all of their PC hard drives. Located in its own partition, the program contains the PC's original factory settings and allows users to restore their operating system and other settings in the event of a hard drive crash or other operating system malfunction. There are two different restore programs, one for Dell computers running Windows Vista and another program for Dell computers running Windows XP.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows Vista or XP Operating System

How to Access Dell PC Restore on Vista

Step 1

Backup all of your important files, documents, images, audio files and anything else that is on your computer that you don't want to lose. A computer system restore will erase everything that has been saved on the computer's hard drive. Determine what you want to save and transfer the information to a flash drive, external hard drive, rewrite-able CD or DVD, or an online storage location. Another option is to email the documents to yourself using an online mail service such as Hotmail or Gmail.

Step 2

Unplug any printers, scanners or anything else that may be hooked up to the computer via a USB port.

Step 3

Restart the computer. When the Dell screen comes on, press and hold the "F8" key until the "Advanced Boot" screen appears. It is important to do this step before the Windows Vista screen appears or you will not be able to access the restore program. If this happens, restart the computer after it finishes booting and try again.

Step 4

Select "Repair Your Computer" using the down arrow key. Hit the "Enter" button.

Step 5

Choose the language using the down arrow key. Hit the "Enter" button.

Step 6

Type in the administrator ID and choose "OK."

Step 7

Choose "Dell Factory Image Restore" and click "Next" when the restore window opens.

Step 8

Choose "Yes" when asked if you want to restore the computer's settings. Click "Next" to start the restoration process. It will about 10 minutes to completely restore your operating system and settings. Do not turn off the computer during this process or you may not be able to restart the computer.

Step 9

Click "Finish" when prompted to restart the computer. The computer's original factory settings have been restored.

How to Access Dell PC Restore on XP

Step 1

Backup all of your important files, documents, images, audio files and anything else that is on your computer that you don't want to lose. A computer system restore will erase everything that has been saved on the computer's hard drive. Determine what you want to save and transfer the information to a flash drive, external hard drive, CD or DVD, or an online storage location. Another option is to email the documents to yourself using an online mail service such as Hotmail or Gmail.

Step 2

Unplug any printers, scanners or anything else that may be hooked up to the computer via a USB port.

Step 3

Restart the computer. When the Dell screen comes on, hold the "CTRL" key and then press the "F11" key to access the Boot menu. Release the keys. It is important to do this step before the Windows XP screen appears or you will not be able to access the restore program. If this happens, restart the computer after it finishes booting and try again.

Step 4

Press the "Tab" key to highlight "System Restore." Hit the "Enter" button.

Step 5

Choose "Confirm" when prompted and hit the "Enter" key. The system restore program will start. It will about 10 minutes to completely restore your operating system and settings. Do not turn off the computer during this process or you may not be able to restart the computer.

Step 6

Click "Finish" when prompted and restart the computer. The computer's original factory settings have been restored.

References & Resources