I have (or rather my wife has) a Dell Dimension 3100 running XP Home (SP2 updated to SP3). It was purchased around 8 years ago and badly needs a clean install.
As I understand, there is supposed to be a function - Dell PC Restore - that "restores the hard drive to operating state that it was in when the computer was purchased". Wonderful, if I could find it. It is supposed to be accessible at PC power on by pressing Crtl + F11, but I've spent at least an hour now trying every which way to get this ethereal Restore screen to come up.The handbook says press Ctrl+F11 as soon as the keyboard status lights flash. By that time it's too late and it boots into Windows. I read somewhere else that you press just as the Dell logo appears and then let go when a blue line appears at the top of the scree. But no blue line or Restore screen.
I note it states in the handbook that Dell PC Restore is not available in all countries, although not helpfully specifying which those countries are. This PC was purchased in the Middle East (Kuwait). So, of course I'm wondering if I am one of the unlucky ones that don't.
But these things I have discovered:
1. Windows Disc Management reveals that, in addition to the system C:\ drive, there are two unnamed partitions on the hard-drive:
One Healthy (Unknown) FAT32 partition of 3.0GB size and with 1.21GB free space i.e. 1.8GB occupied - is this maybe the PC Restore partition
One Healthy (EISA configuration) FAT partition of 47MB size and 40MB free i.e. 3MB. Surely can't be an OS backup, so maybe system drivers/driver reset utility?
2. On the C:\ drive there is a folder named Dell with sub-folder Utilities and within that two folders Driver Reset Tool and DSR. Aha !! In the DSR folder there is an DSR1RRemv2 application. Clicked on that and a window pops up asking if want to delete the Dell PC Restore Partition, which of course I don't and so promptly QUIT. Never touched that folder before and so one can reasonably assume that there is indeed a Dell PC Restore partition and function on this PC.
3. In Add/Remove programs there is listed an application called Dell System Restore but I cannot find a path for this application.
So, how on earth can this Dell System Restore function be accessed?
I cant recall if a XP (OEM) installation CD was provided with the PC. I can only find CD's for reinstalling Microsoft Works, Data/Fax/Voice modem software and McAfee. However, in the installed Programs there is under Dell Accessories a utility for creating (once only) an OS Recovery CD. So I created and burned that and tested it at boot and it does appear to be an XP set-up CD. It appeared to unpack a string of drivers before arriving at the install or back-out decision screen.
So I could use that as a last resort, but the question is:
1. Is it going to load all of the Dell drivers as well or am I going to have to go looking for them. Does it include the other Dell utilities as well or is it just plain XP Home?
2. Am I going to run into problems re-registering a clean XP install. I used (Jelly Bean) key finder tool to dig out the Product ID and 'CD Key' of the existing installation, but are these still going to be valid with a fresh install?
Really need some advice on this. I do have an Acronis full disc bootable backup at the ready, but surely there must be some way of accessing the Dell PC Restore function and saving all the hassle of installing XP from scratch.