How to Restore an OptiPlex 320 PC to Factory Settings

By Traci Joy

No matter how well our computers work, every once in a while something happens that can't be repaired or fixed. In these instances, you need to restore the system to its factory settings. The Dell OptiPlex 320 is a reliable computer for home or business use, but if the computer malfunctions from virus or hardware problems, it can be restored to factory settings by following a few steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows Operating System CDDrivers and utilities CDBlank CDs

Restoring Dell Optiplex to Factory Settings

Step 1

Save and copy files that you wish to keep to blank CDs. If you are unable to access any files on your PC, be aware that you will lose these files when you reset your system.

Step 2

Close any open programs and windows, and insert the Windows Operating System CD into the CD drive. If the "Install Windows XP" prompt appears, exit out of it.

Step 3

Power down and restart the computer. As soon as computer begins restarting and you see the Dell logo, press "F12." (If you do not do this in time, the computer will start as normal. When it is on the desktop page, shut down and restart again.)

Step 4

Scroll to "CD-ROM" and hit "Enter" when the option page is loading. You will be advised to "press any key" to continue.

Step 5

Press "Enter" to choose "Set up Windows now" when the Windows screen appears.

Step 6

Press "F8" to accept the licensing agreement that is presented.

Step 7

Press "Esc" to select the option of installing a new copy of Windows XP.

Step 8

Press "Enter" to install Windows on the partition that is automatically highlighted, as this is the recommended setting. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen. During this time, the OptiPlex will shut down and restart several times as it copies and installs files. The amount of time this process takes depends on the speed and size of your computer's hard drive.Do not press any key when the option "Press any key to boot from CD" appears on the screen. This will start the process over again. Allow the PC to boot up on its own.

Setting Up Restored Windows

Step 1

Select the settings you need when the "Regional and Language Options" screen comes up.

Step 2

Continue inputting the requested information that follows. After you provide your information on the "Date and Time Settings" screen, the PC will soon reboot itself once more. Do not press any key to reboot from CD when that option appears. Allow the computer to reboot itself.Upon restart, the "Welcome to Microsoft" screen will appear and lead you through the final windows setup. When you are finished with the setup, select "Finish."

Step 3

Eject the Windows Operating System CD from the CD drive.

Step 4

Insert the Drivers and Utilities Resource CD that came with your OptiPlex 320 and follow the installation wizard to reinstall the drivers.

Step 5

Reinstall your anti-virus protection and other programs that were erased when you restored your system.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not have the Drivers and Utilities Resource CD, the drivers are available from the Dell website (see Resources below).
  • If you are reinstalling programs that need "product keys" on the initial installation (such as Microsoft Office), you will need those keys again for the reinstallation. Have them accessible before beginning.