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Pressing F8 at startup does nothing -- issue with latest BIOS firmware? (Dell Studio 1537) [SOLVED]

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Hi guys,

To make the story short, today I tried to use the "Dell Factory Image Restore" utility by pressing F8 at start up in all possible manners, but nothing happened; the recovery partition was (is) still there, as seen by logging into Vista, left-clicking on the Windows icon in the taskbar, right-clicking on Computer, and choosing  Manage > Disk Management.

To make the story short once again, I was able to confirm (at least I believe) that the recovery partition still works, by restoring the hard disk to its factory settings, by following the steps described e.g. in

http://smsoftdev-solutions.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-to-restore-dell-factory-image-when.html

(which by the way, I think are similar, but simpler than those described in http://en.community.dell.com/forums/t/19254952.aspx).

The procedure restored the hard drive to factory settings, but it did not fix the issue with the F8 button: if I press F8 at start up, nothing happens (just as before).

Could it be that this is an issue with the latest BIOS firmware? Could it be that version A08 does not link pressing F8 at start up with the appropriate command? I'd like to restore that link, in order to be able to restore the hard drive to factory settings just by pressing F8 at start up.

Thanks everybody for your help.

 

All Replies
  • Factory Restore using VISTA

    If you altered the Master Boot Record (MBR) this will render the function useless. I am think this is what you did.

     HomeBuilt SandyBridge P8P67 i7 2600k @ 4.5 ghz 8gigs GSkill Ripjaws. Corsair 800D Case and AX1200 Ps X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty pro PCIe Sound Card
    Dell Studio XPS 1645  Window 7 Pro

    Forum member since 2003

  • Cheers Davet50 for your reply.

    I should point out that I had this laptop for just over three weeks only, and I hardly installed anything on it. In fact, I hardly used it the first week because the screen was defective; the second week the laptop was in for repair; the third week is when I slowly started looking at it.

    At one point, I changed the boot order in the BIOS, I'll grant you that. But that shouldn't affect the MBR, see e.g.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Booting#Boot_sequence_on_standard_PC_.28IBM-PC_compatible.29

     

    So, I can only think of four possibilities:

    1. the technician who replaced my LCD screen altered the MBR (why would he have needed to do that?)

    2. one of the two applications I installed altered the MBR: either firefox (surely not!) or AVG antivirus

    3. one of the Windows Vista updates altered the MBR

    4. the F8 option was never there in the first place

     

    The laptop manual does mention that Dell Factory Image Restore may not be available in certain countries (I bought my laptop from Dell Switzerland, but the order was processed by Dell Germany, and the laptop was delivered from somewhere in Poland), but I chatted with a tech support guy on Dell Chat, and he did not make any mention of this utility not being available. (He only said that if F8 doesn't work, the partition must be corrupted, which I believe I disproved by restoring the image as described in the original post -- only the F8 link seems to be missing.)

    Any further thoughts?

    By the way, according to forum member JackShack in the thread below,

    http://en.community.dell.com/forums/t/19254952.aspx,

    restoring the image from the hard disk should restore the F8 option (and I believe that my slightly different, but simpler, approach is essentially the same).

     

    Thanks for any further comments.

  • Well, well... It turns out that the F8 option was there all along, and that the problem was the timing with pressing the F8 key.

    Quoting DELL-Larry R from the thread "F8 at boot will not work" (http://en.community.dell.com/forums/t/19176779.aspx):

    DELL-Larry R

    Are you hitting F8 at the correct time?

     

    F2 and F12 need to be pressed while the Dell splash screen is being displayed, just after powering on the computer.  To get to the Windows start up options, however, you need to press the F8 key after the Dell splash screen, but before you get the "Windows is starting" message.

    Dell chaps, fix the instructions booklet!

  • Actually you can start pressing the F8 while the Splash screen is on. You just have to tap it a few time rather than a once and done..

     HomeBuilt SandyBridge P8P67 i7 2600k @ 4.5 ghz 8gigs GSkill Ripjaws. Corsair 800D Case and AX1200 Ps X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty pro PCIe Sound Card
    Dell Studio XPS 1645  Window 7 Pro

    Forum member since 2003

  • Davet50

    Actually you can start pressing the F8 while the Splash screen is on. You just have to tap it a few time rather than a once and done..

    True... As long as you keep tapping after the splash screen is gone, and before the "Windows is loading" bar appears. Or at least that's how it works on my Studio 1537.

    The Studio Setup Guide instead says:

    Studio Setup Guide, July 2008

    [...]

    1. Turn on the computer. When the Dell logo appears, press <F8> several times to access the Vista Advanced Boot Options Window.

    [...]

    Anyway, I'm happy the issue is resolved for me, and that's what counts. Stick out tongue I just thought I'd leave a follow-up post to let know that the issue is resolved.