How to Restore Dell Latitude to Factory Default

By Scott Shpak

A guide to restoring a variety of Dell Latitude models to factory default hardware and software conditions, to fix a problem or prepare the computer for sale.

Things You'll Need

  • System Recovery CD

The overall build and reliability of Dell Latitude business laptops assures a good supply of computers with plenty of life left, even when the processors and operating systems fall behind state-of-the-art status. Restoring any Latitude model to factory default settings is aided by Dell's Factory Image Restore partition and Backup and Recovery application.

Tip

Dell uses a recovery partition on the Latitude models' hard drives as a source of data for the restore process. If you have deleted or modified this partition, you may need to use generic instructions for recovering your laptop.

Using Factory Image Restore

Step 1

Back up any data you wish to save. No matter which Latitude model you have or which operating system you're running, your personal data and settings will be deleted during the restore process.

Step 2

Turn off and disconnect all peripheral devices except the monitor, mouse and keyboard. Connect the power supply to your Latitude.

Step 3

Start up your computer and press the F8 key several times when the Dell logo appears. This opens the advanced boot options menu.

Step 4

Select Repair Your Computer using the arrow keys on your keyboard, then press Enter. From the System Recovery Options menu, select a keyboard layout, click Next, and then log in as either a local user or an administrator.

Step 5

Select Dell Factory Tools and then Dell Factory Image Restore if required by your computer's configuration. Some models will go directly to the Next option to open the Confirm Data Deletion menu.

Step 6

Click the check box for Yes, reformat hard drive and restore system software to factory condition and click Next. The restore process begins and gives a message when complete. Click Finish to restart the computer. Restore data and files if you are recovering the laptop for personal use.

Tip

  • If you're restoring a Latitude running Windows 8, access Dell Backup and Recovery by pressing and holding the Shift key when selecting Restart from the shutdown options. Choose Troubleshoot, and then Dell Backup and Recovery. When the computer restarts, Click Next, which runs Smart Repair, and then click Next again to choose the backup file you wish to use. Follow the screen prompts to finish the restore. Unlike earlier versions, you will have the option to back up your personal data as part of the restore procedure.
  • Use Ctrl-F11 for older operating systems, if the F8 button doesn't call the advanced boot options menu.

Using Factory Recovery Media

Tip

When your hard drive fails, the system restore partition may no longer be accessible. Factory recovery media will allow you restore to defaults after reformatting or replacing your hard drive.

Step 1

Connect your Latitude to its power supply. Insert a recovery media disk into the optical drive or a USB recovery key into a USB port.

Step 2

Power on your computer and press the F12 key several times when the Dell logo appears. Select your backup media location. You may be prompted to press a key to start a CD or DVD boot.

Step 3

The Dell backup and recovery application opens. Click Next to proceed to the hard drive diagnostics and click Next when it completes. The application runs Smart Repair. Click Next again when it completes. Smart Repair will attempt an instant restore if no problems are found. If the instant restore is successful, you will be prompted to restart your computer.

Step 4

Select Factory Reset from the Advanced Options screen. The application presents the opportunity to back up data and settings. Click Next to perform a backup or press Skip to proceed without. The restore process starts after either of these options, proceeding to completion before prompting you to restart your Latitude. Finish restoring your computer using Windows when the computer reboots.

Warning

You must make recovery media for your computer using Dell Backup and Recovery to use this option.