How to Restore a Dell Laptop to Factory Settings

By C.D. Crowder

If you notice the performance of your Dell laptop isn't what it used to be, you probably have programs you no longer use, registry errors and excess files from uninstalled programs that you don't even know about. With a few simple steps, you can restore your sluggish Dell laptop back to factory settings and peak performance. Dell provides a Quick Restore disk to streamline the process.

Things You'll Need

  • Dell Restore Disk(s)

Step 1

Back up any files you want and need. You computer will be formatted during this process.

Step 2

Insert the Restore disk and reboot. If you have multiple disks, this will be the operating system disk. Go to "Start," "Turn Off Computer" and "Restart" to reboot.

Step 3

Boot from the disk and agree to the license agreement. Press any key when prompted to boot from the disk. If you aren't prompted, restart your computer again and press F12 before the Windows logo appears. This will take you to a Boot Options list. Choose "CD-ROM" and press "Enter" to boot from the disk.

Step 4

Press "Enter" to install the operating system on the current partition. Choose "Format the partition using the NTFS file system" and wait for the system to format.

Step 5

Follow the operating system's Installation Wizard prompts to choose the time and date, computer name and network settings. You will also be prompted to register your computer. This isn't required.

Step 6

If you have multiple disks, insert the Applications or Drivers disk. With some systems, these are on the same disk.Choose which applications and drivers to install, or install everything. Wait for the chosen applications and drivers to install. If prompted to restart, don't restart until all installations are complete.

Step 7

Restart your computer. You can place files back on your computer at this point.

Tips & Warnings

  • If there are applications you don't need, don't install them. They are optional applications provided with Dell systems.
  • Install all drivers, especially if you're unsure about any of them. Hardware may not function correctly if drivers aren't installed.