Restore to factory settings not working - drive letters switched - General Hardware - Laptop - Dell Community

Restore to factory settings not working - drive letters switched


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Restore to factory settings not working - drive letters switched

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Hi there,
After a failed install of Ubuntu (using for guide,2293.html#xtor=RSS-182) which messed up my partitions, I managed, using TestDisk, to recover the 3 original partitions (OS, RECOVERY and the hidden Dell Utility one) of my Dell XPS Studio 13 laptop with Vista Home Premium. 

Using the provided Vista DVD I merged the Vista and Linux partitions into a single one, as it was before the Ubuntu install attempt and installed Vista on the resulting partition. I can use my laptop that way but I won't have the licensed applications that came with the factory install.

After all this, I'm able now to properly run the restore to the factory settings. If I do so, after the reboot the drive letters are changed (the OS labeled drive is D: (disk 1 partition 3) drive and RECOVERY is the C: one (disk 1 partition 2)) but, since all the stuff comming with the factory install has references to the C: drive, which became D: after reboot, none of these programs work. I can change the drive letters in Vista registry (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices) and correctly see the OS labeled partition as C: and the RECOVERY one as D: but now I'm not able to run the Windows Update (error 80004002). With the factory installation or the complete reinstallation from the DVD, I was, however, able to correctly apply all the Microsoft updates.

I haven't tried the restore to factory settings before fiddling with the partition editor tools but I assume that such a restored system works perfectly without the above mentioned drive letters problem.

Could someone, please, confirm this ? In case this is true, I think that my partition table is not identical to the partition table I had before Ubuntu install attempt.

Could someone, please, help me determine this ? I have the Samsung HM500LI 5400 rpm disk drive...

Next question: is there any way to restore the partition table as it was initially ? Then I might be able to restore the system from the factory image which I already saved on a DVD...

Of course, the goal of this message is to find out a solution to restore to factory settings and have the laptop running without the above registry fix nor the Windows Update issues, just for the case someone less knowledgeable would need to do it.


Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


All Replies
  • You cannot. You have altered the master boot record and lost the function of Factory restore. While the MBR will see the partitions all the pointers are not there and as such you now have lost this function. Any time you alter the MBR on Dell disk the option for doing a Factory Restore is lost.

     Home Built Sandy Bridge P8P67 i7 2600k @ 4.5 GHz 8gigs GSkill Ripjaws. Corsair 800D Case and AX1200 Ps X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty pro PCIe Sound Card
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  • If you saved the factory image, you can rebuild all three partitions. Go to and read it. Hope this helps.

  • Hi Davet,

    Thanks for the answer but it looks like you missed some part of my post. I'm able to restore to factory setting either using Ctrl-F8 either by booting with a CD and accessing the C: drive containing the factory image... The problems begin once the system is restored due to the switched drive letters...



  • Hi Tom,


    Thanks for the link, it's a great source of information.