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Windows Vista Recovery without CD

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Windows Vista Recovery without CD

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I bought a Dell Latitude D531 one year ago. Due to an urgent trouble on my WIFI connection I decided to reinstall my Vista Business OS. But I had no CD. So I've formated and re-install XP but I keep the recovery partition for later Vista install. But now that I want to install it I don't know how I can do.

I've already tried the CTRL + F11 when the computer is booting and nothing happens. I also click several times on F8 for the boot setup but I've no option to make the recovery.

Can someone help me? Tell me how I can use the recovery partition or if I can find a Vista Business CD (I off course have a valid license).



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  • To reinstall Vista without a disk:

    Copy your important txt documents to a memory stick ($10 for a 2 Gig stick).  Also copy the "Favorites" folder for Internet Explorer (in the user/yourname folder) and important pictures and icons.  If you have a website upload the actual web file from your web writer program to the website for safe storage with an FTP program, so you can download and open it when you reinstall your web writing program.

    Get your user id - Start, Control Panel, choose standard view window (not Classic view), User Accounts and Family Safety, User Accounts.

    Your user id is the name above "Administrator" - capitalization is important.


    Start your computer and keep pressing F8.

    Choose "Repair Your Computer".

    Choose "US" English

    Enter your user Id.  Click OK.

    Choose "Dell Factory Image Restore".

    It will take 45 minutes to reinstall.

    You will be left with some programs in the "Program Files" folder.  Some will actually run when you restart a few times, but many will disappear as you restart.  So you will have to reinstall your programs.

    Copy the "Favorites" list from your memory stick to the now empty "Favorities" folder.

    Copy the pictures and icons into their folders from the memory stick.

    Download the web file into the appropriate folder (you can create a new one in the C: drive, or Documents) using an FTP program.

    Load your web writing program.  Open the file you downloaded and edit away.

    All Done!


    I hope this helps

    All the best,


  • The way you're describing seems to be simple but I don't find the repair option in the F8 menu.

    In this menu the title is : "Windows XP boot menu" and I suppose your option is only in the Vista boot menu.

    Do you have another tip?


  • Thanks for a good posting Terry, but there is something that is not as expected. I see that the same information is on DELL's home page, so I have to except that this is the correct approach, but it’s not in line of what I get on my system.

    I have a new Latitude E6500 with Vista business, but with a Norwegian OS language. I have to recover due to a faulty “Windows easy transfer” from my workstation, so I need to get my laptop back into its original stage before I can proceed.

    Start your computer and keep pressing F8.
    This is ok and the advanced boot menu show.

    Choose "Repair Your Computer".
    This is the very first option in my list

    Choose "US" English
    I choose Norwegian as my keyboard language,

    Enter your user Id.  Click OK.
    When you say user ID, I enter the user and password for an admin user and login

    Choose "Dell Factory Image Restore".
    Well, this is when we seem to have come to a crossroad. The menu items don’t appear to have this option. There a 5 menu items. The text will not be accurate as I have to translate them

    Menu item 1: Picture of a disk with a tick mark: Header is: Start up repair
    Menu tem 2: Picture of a computer system with a clock. Header:  System reconfigures (probably a bad translation)
    Menu item 3: Picture of a computer system with a green arrow. Header Windows complete PC restore
    Menu item 4: Picture of a memory stick. Header: Windows memory diagnostic
    Menu item 5: Picture of the C:\ prompt. Will open a dos window.

    It seems that the equivalent is menu item 3 to restore the whole PC, but there is no mention of DELL. And when I choose this item, I get a dialog box saying that a backup could not be found.

    I see that I have a Recovery partition on disk0, but the partition letter is Z:/Recovery. I might have changed the partition letter to Z but can’t remember this.

    1) Does anyone know what letter the Restore partition should have

    2) And why I don’t get the “Dell Factory Image Restore” menu?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated as this system just has to be all ok in about 36 hours or I will be in big trouble.


    Best regards from the snowy Norway

    Stein Inge Haaland

  • None of the Latitude D series came with PC Restore. You need the Vista DVD to reinstall.

    The Latitude E series comes with PC Restore only if you request it when you order the system

  • Thank you for your very quick responce Hydralisk00222.

    1) Looking at my invocie from DELL, there  is one line that says “Software Driver: Recovery DVD”
    2) I received a total of 6 CD’s with my Latitude A6500. Two of them are Application, one is Drivers and Utilities, one is Roxio Creator and one is Norton Internet security.
    3) I wonder why there is a Recovery partition on my drive if it can not be used?

    Do you have any more feedback Hydralisk00222 - or anyone else?


    Best regards

    Stein Inge Haaland

  • You should have an OS reinstallation disk (i.e., the Windows disk), the Dell Drivers & Utilties (aka Resource) CD, at least one Dell Applications CD, and a disk for any third party software you ordered with the system (such as MS Office or a full version of Roxio).  The Windows disk is for a clean install of Windows with nothing extra, and is not a recovery CD as it does not load the Dell factory image.

    What partitions do you have on the hard drive?

    You can request replacement reinstallation media for US purchased systems here.
    Dell Drivers & Downloads for all systems.

  • Hi, I own a small business where I fix dell PC's all day every day.  I never use the recovery partition for a number of reasons.  The main reason is I dont want to recovery the bloatware.  Instead I recommend doing whatever it takes to get an OEM Windows Recovery Disk.   I know that Dell offers them to people who are still under warranty.  If you arent under warranty and you lost or damaged your disk, you can actually buy a backup replacement copy of your windows recovery disk at: .  Take your recovery disk, and put it into you disk drive.  Press F12 during bootup and follow the prompts to reinstall windows.  Good luck on getting your PC up and going again! Anthony

  • From what Larry wrote & clicking on his link for replacement disks...if I buy the Dell I'm considering...I already know it doesn't include the OS CD, Dell will send me that disk with the others? Is that true?

    I'm looking at a Best Buy deal that I can't match at, so I would not order this online as I have in the past. I really want an OS CD, it could be a deal breaker.

    Thanks, Linda

  • Hi, ive have also been a dell VAR (value added reseller) for a few years now, I know that every computer i have ever sold came with the OS Disc. If best buy or these companies dont include the OS cd then they are thieves. That means they take your property out of the box and then sell it to you. How dispicable.

  • jhooka

    Hi, ive have also been a dell VAR (value added reseller) for a few years now, I know that every computer i have ever sold came with the OS Disc. If best buy or these companies dont include the OS cd then they are thieves. That means they take your property out of the box and then sell it to you. How dispicable.

    Thanks for the reply...I was just going by the sales agent's reply to my question, is the OS CD in the box? He said no... I guess I could buy it & open the box before leaving the store?

    Thanks again, Linda

  • Im not sure because I havent bought Dell from Best Buy, I do know that it is in Best Buy's Interest to sell you a windows vista recovery disk, so I wouldnt be surprised if they remove it. But im not sure. So if you buy from them, check the box first to see if the OS disk is in there. And could you let me know what you find out? Thank you, Anthony

  • Today we bought the Dell Studio 17 at Best Buy...I even had them call me from online shopping site & they confirmed no OS CD...but guess what! You guys are exactly right, the CD is in the box. It is Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit SP1...that sounds right to me.

    Here goes...Vista, OS of my dreams, right?

    Thanks for your replies....Linda

  • Did anyone figure out the F8 menu? I tried doing the resintall this way but when I select "Repair My Computer" nothing happens and the computer just starts up normally and goes to the desktop. I don't know what to do anymore. :(

  • Steine,

    The image reinstallation uses the information in the Restore D drive.  It's odd that you have a Restore Z drive, unless it is on a disk.  Also even stranger  that you do not get an image reintallation screen.