How to Reboot a Dell PC to Factory Condition Without the Restore CD

By Jesse Adams

Most computer manufacturers include a custom recovery system on a hidden partition of the computer. This means if anything should happen to your computer, and you do not have your system restore CDs, you can restore your computer to its factory condition using this hidden partition. Given that most people do not know about this partition, it is important to understand how to boot into the recovery system if you want to restore your Dell computer to its factory condition.

Things You'll Need

  • Dell computer (any model)


Step 1

Turn your computer off by selecting the shut down icon in your start menu.

Step 2

Disconnect everything from your computer except the keyboard, mouse and monitor. All printers, USB drives, web cams and other devices should be disconnected, as they can interfere with the system recovery.

Step 3

Turn your computer back on.

Step 4

Press the Ctrl and F11 keys on your keyboard as soon you see the Dell logo appear on the screen. If your machine continues to boot into Windows, you did not press the buttons in time. Restart your computer again and press Ctrl and F11 as soon as the computer starts up.

Step 5

Press the “Restore” button when the “Dell PC Restore by Symantec” window appears on the screen.

Step 6

Click the “Confirm” button when you are warned that all data on your computer will be lost.

Step 7

Wait approximately 10 minutes for the system restore to complete.

Step 8

Click the “Finish” button when the restoration process has completed to restart your computer into a fresh, factory-condition installation of Windows.

Tips & Warnings

  • Note that a system restore is a destructive restoration process. This means that all data will be lost, so be sure to back up any important files before you begin the restoration process, including photos, music, videos and emails.
  • If your computer is older, you will likely have many important security updates to install once the restoration has finished. Turn on Automatic Updates as soon as Windows prompts you to do so in order to keep your computer secure from viruses, spyware and hackers.