How to Perform a Dell System Restore

By Techwalla Contributor

Modern Dell laptops are designed with a built-in feature that restores your laptop's operating system to its original configuration. In essence, it enables you to restore your computer system to the state in which it was shipped. This can be helpful if you are upgrading and giving the laptop to someone else or if you run into problems with the operating system.

Step 1

Back up all data that you want to save. Once you reformat and restore the computer, all existing data will be completely erased. This includes any email, program files and drivers. Save your Documents folder.

Step 2

Disconnect all peripherals -- printer, modem, USB -- from the computer, leaving only your monitor, mouse and keyboard.

Step 3

Reboot your computer. As it boots up, press and hold the "F8" key until you see the Advanced Boot Options menu. If you see the Windows logo appear, restart the computer and try to enter the Advanced Boot Options menu again.

Step 4

Use the down arrow on your keyboard to choose "Repair Your Computer." Press "Enter."

Step 5

Log in with an administrator account and click "OK."

Step 6

Click "Dell Factory Image Restore" on the screen that appears and then click "Next."

Step 7

Click "Yes" to confirm that you want to restore the laptop to its factory settings and click "Next."

Step 8

Click "Finish" to reboot your computer after the restore process has finished. Your hard drive is now restored to its original configuration.

Step 9

Reinstall any applications and files that you want on the laptop.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you cannot locate your application CDs, go to the support section of Dell's official website. You cab download drivers from their online database.
  • This Dell system restore is only available on laptops with Microsoft XP pre-installed.
  • It is highly recommended that you use the Dell system restore as a last resort. Any improper changes can permanently erase vital data from your hard drive.
  • Don't manually restart the laptop during the restore process; let it completely reboot itself.