How to Fix Control F11 so you can restore your PC to like new again - General Hardware - Desktop - Dell Community

How to Fix Control F11 so you can restore your PC to like new again


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How to Fix Control F11 so you can restore your PC to like new again

  • Here are the directions on how to fix the Dell MBR so you can restore the Control-F11 at boot-up so you can restore your troubled PC to like new condition, as if you just received it new from Dell.
    The following is specific to Dell but is not specific to the machine or model.
    So it applies to any Dell PC, desktop or laptop.
    When you use Control-F11, you are restoring a disk image, you will lose everything on your C drive, so backup your files that you created before you proceed.
    You need 2 good blank floppy disks.
    One is for a Windows 98 boot disk. If you do not have one, download it for free from here:        (link updated on 11/16/06)
    Double click this file so it will create the Windows 98 boot disk on your first floppy disk.
    If you already have a boot disk, then you only need one blank floppy disk.
    You MUST boot to DOS. If you follow my directions you will fix your problem in just minutes, like I did.
    Now download "" from here:
    unzip these 4 files and copy them to the second floppy disk.
    This file and instructions are provided by Dan Goodell, his very helpful site is here:
    and more info is here:
    Dan's help was the only one I found to fix my messed up new Dell Dimension's MBR (master boot record) on my disk drive. Because I had tried to repair and also reinstall Windows XP on my troubled PC, I had inadvertently changed the MBR of my PC, which stopped the Control-F11 feature from working again. I called Dell Tech Support to see if they can help me. To make a long story short, Dell could not help me at all.
    Now lets fix your Control-F11.
    Put the Windows 98 boot disk in your floppy drive (Drive A) and restart your PC, and from the Boot Menu select #2 Without CDROM support feature, as you do not need it, and you will boot up faster.
    When you are at the A prompt, replace the Windows boot disk with the second floppy disk, the one you copied the four files from the file.
    1) Type:
    mbrsaver /s
    this will backup your existing MBR to "mbrsaver.bin" file to the floppy disk. Just a good idea in case something goes wrong and you can restore this MBR backup, by typing: mbrsaver /r mbrsaver.bin
    2) Next type:
    mbrsaver /r dellmbr.bin
    This will restore your MBR sector from the dellmbr.bin copy. You will be given a choice of which of the three parts of the sector you want to restore: the boot code, the Disk ID, and/or the partition table. Do not overwrite your partition table! Normally, you should not need to overwrite your Disk ID, either. So answer 'yes', 'no', 'no' to MBRsaver's three prompts, then confirm your choices by answering 'yes' to the final prompt.
    To make it easy and clear for you, here is what you will need to type:

    boot code                       : Y

    disk-id                           : N

    partition table                : N

    write MBR sector now  : Y


    You will now see: MBR sector restored successfully


    that's it my friend, you have done it.

    Now remove the floppy disk, reboot your PC, and when you see the blue Dell logo at boot up, just keep the Control key pressed down and once a second tap the F11 key.

    The restore page will now open up.

    Congratulations, and good luck.


    From John in Louisville, Colorado

    I am a PC Consultant, and happy to help people in trouble.

    -------------------------   ADDED ON MARCH 12, 2006   ----------------------------

    To test F11 functionality after you finish all above procedures, you must turn OFF your PC and re-boot cold. If you just restart your PC, the F11 function will most likely NOT WORK.To all users who do NOT have a floppy drive, you will need an iso file to make a CD boot disk.You can download the Windows 98 SE boot iso file from here:

    then use your CD burning software to burn this iso file on a CD.You must also burn the files that are in the "" to a CD so you can be able to use them after you boot up with the new Windows 98 boot CD.




    Added on Nov. 16, 2006      **** for users who do not have floppy drive ****

    I have created an ISO file that includes the Windows 98 boot files, PLUS a folder "dsrfix"that includes all the files listed above. Just burn this ISO to a CD, and boot your PC with it. Dell PCs now allows you to boot from CD drive at boot time (when you see Dell logo) by clicking on F12 key, and choose the option to boot from CD.

    Download this ISO file from here:

    After booting, notice the CD drive letter, for example you may see that it is "D" drive. Type:

    D:        then type:  cd dsrfix        to be in this directory (folder) to do above mentioned operations.


    Message Edited by JohnUSA on 03-12-200611:48 AM

    Message Edited by JohnUSA on 03-12-200611:51 AM

    Message Edited by JohnUSA on 03-12-200611:52 AM

    Message Edited by JohnUSA on 03-12-200611:55 AM

    Message Edited by JohnUSA on 03-16-200604:46 PM

    Message Edited by JohnUSA on 11-16-200601:41 PM

    Message Edited by JohnUSA on 11-17-200612:57 AM

  • Thank you Denny.

    I do appreciate your kind compliment.

  • Very detailed instructions. However, because I have a laptop, I had to run mbrsaver from a bootable CD. Everything seems to go fine, except I soon find out it doesn't fix anything. The problem is, I think, that it cannot read dellmbr.bin from the drive because it's in a nonstandard location- when I run dsrfix, it says "alert: unable to read dellmbr.bin file." Any suggestions?
  • I think it did not work because you were not in a true DOS environment.

    Regarding those users who don't have floppy drives,  you can buy a USB external floppy drive from Dell, it is only about $25, you can buy it here:

    USB External Floppy Drive

    Or do the following:

    Run the "boot98se.exe" file to create the floppy boot disk.

    Copy all the files from this boot disk to a new folder which you would call DosBoot.

    Create an additional folder within DosBoot and call it DSRFIX, and copy the four files from "" into this folder.

    Now burn all the files in the "DosBoot" directory on a CDR. Make sure you burn what is inside this directory only. Do not burn if you see DosBoot folder on the CD.

    You want to burn ONLY all the boot files only, and the DSRFIX folder.

    Make sure your PC Bios is setup properly to allow cd bootup.

    Put this newly burned CD in your CD drive and reboot.

    After booting, change to the DSRFIX folder on this same CD.

    To change, type:

    A:\ cd dsrfix       (even though you are reading a CD the drive letter will be "A" because of the boot files)

    Now follow my previous instructions to update your MBR.

    Good luck.

    Message Edited by JohnUSA on 07-06-2005 11:59 PM

    Message Edited by JohnUSA on 07-07-2005 12:06 AM

  • Thanks a lot for taking the time to respond to that. That's pretty much what I did the first time, except I didn't put the MBR fix tools in a seperate folder. I tried doing exactly what you said and got the same result- it says it's doing something, then nothing happens. I also tried simply creating a nero boot disk with only the MBR fix tools, same result. Apparently, no matter what you put in that 98 boot disk, it only loads the files that originally are packaged with it to the RAMDrive. Sure, the MBR fix files are still accessible, but you can't run them from A- instead, you have to run them from D, the CD-ROM drive. Any ideas now? I'm afraid an external floppy drive would have these same sort of errors because it's external, so I'm reluctant to spend $25.

  • Thanks for the accolades, JohnUSA.

    For others interested, what John has outlined is a manual method of restoring Dell's MBR if it has been lost due to reinstallation of XP.  Note I've updated my utility so it can do John's step #2 automatically, if desired.

    Dsrfix will also check and fix a few other factors that can similarly upset the Dell PC Restore process.  For example, a failed PC Restore attempt may leave the partition table messed up, but dsrfix should be able to fix it.  Also, repartitioning your hard disk with something like Partition Magic can cause PC Restore to fail, but dsrfix can also repair that.

    Instructions for using are at
    Dan Goodell
  • "Apparently, no matter what you put in that 98 boot disk, it only loads the files that originally are packaged with it to the RAMDrive. Sure, the MBR fix files are still accessible, but you can't run them from A- instead, you have to run them from D, the CD-ROM drive."


    Did you switch to the D: prompt?  Are both and dellmbr.bin visible in the D:\ directory?  If so, you should be able to switch to the D:\> prompt and run dsrfix from there without getting the "cannot read dellmbr.bin" message.

    Dan Goodell



  • Excellent contribution by both of you! Thanks so much!
  • To: unclefeezus
    This is to any user who will use an external USB floppy drive.
    I just did a successful test on my 2 year old Inspiron 600m laptop using my external USB floppy drive.
    I created a DOS boot disk, then I copied the DSRFIX folder to this floppy, this folder is only 16 KB so it does fit on the floppy.
    I made sure my BIOS is setup properly to boot first from floppy disk.
    I restarted laptop, DOS started and booted properly.
    Then at the A:\ prompt I typed:
    cd dsrfix
    I was now able to fix my MBR according to my previous directions.
    The bottom line is this: You can use an external USB floppy drive. I just proved it.
    Good luck.
  • JohnUSA.
    An outstanding post.


    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • Just to add one note, it's also nice to see a title descriptive enough to be searched easily.
  • You'll have to forgive me, guys, I'm 19 years old and the only times I've ever used DOS were when my computer has been absolutely destroyed. One of the very first things I tried to do when I was fixing my restore partition was change to my CD ROM directory to access my files. However, I was typing "cd D:" to get to "D:," which promptly took me right back to "A:." I just tried doing this again and instead just typed "d:," and it worked. I guess I'm not oldschool enough. So, I ran the fix program. It worked- dsrfix reported everything was good- dellmbr.bin is in place.

    However, oddly enough, ctrl + fll still doesn't work.

    I've been working on this problem a long time now, and my restore function still doesn't work. However, I realize I can get all the same features through XP Pro- in fact, while I've been trying to figure my restore thing out, I've found and installed all the right drivers and found out that Dell Media Experience is free. So for now, I'll ignore this problem, and if for some reason I absolutely must use my restore function, I'll break down and spend the $25 on a USB floppy drive.

    I really appreciate everyone's help. It's cool that there are strangers out there who are willing to extensively help you with personal computer problems. Thanks, all.
  • Thanks for this forum thread, John.  I am not a newbie, but I am no desktop support technician either.  I was able to follow your clear instructions to create a bootable CD, download the DSRFIX files, and I have now successfully restored my pc after an upgrade to Win XP Pro overwrote my MBR. 
    Many thanks to you, and the others like you, who offer your time in assisting us.
  • all I can do is say thank you. i was at my wits end. but, from the time i read the thread, made my disks, and followed your simple instructions....i was back in business in under 1/2 hour.

    again amigo...thanks

  • Hi, since Dell use norton ghost to create that image, has anybody tried to use norton ghost to restore the image created by Dell?
    I have tried to boot with norton ghost, but I can only see two partitions on the harddisk, parition 2 and parition 3 (which I created by re-partition the disk). I was unable to see either the Dell diagnostic partition, nor the partition where Dell System Restore image is stored.
    Does anybody have any suggestion?