I have the 530 with Windows Home Premium 64 bit. Although I do not want to restore my system to Dell's original configuration at this point I may want the option later. When I hit F8, repair your computer, choose a recovery tool, Operating System Windows Vista on (C) I am never presented with the option "Dell Factory Image Restore." The closest I get is Windows complete PC Restore - restore computer from a backup image - a valid backup location could not be found. When I get into Windows, my computer, the recovery partition "D" is listed. I have Acronis 11 installed. When I get into Acronis's program it recognizes partitions C, D and E. I have backed up all such partitions to an external HD. I wonder if I have somehow damaged partition D doing this. The only other thing that might be causing problems is I have installed a comptroller card with an e-sata plug. The computer recognizes this every time it boots up. Would removing this card solve the problem? I have it set up as hot swappable so I can turn the external HD on or off before or after booting up. I have also tried changing the boot sequence to the default settings. For some reason it doesn't recognize the D partition. If push comes to shove I could always restore using Acronis, since I backed up everything soon after I got my computer.
The controller card may be causing the problem, but I doubt it. You could remove it and test that theory. It is conceivable that access to the Factory Image partition has been lost due to some modification to your Master Boot Record. As long as you leave the Factory Image partition as is, and it is not corrupted, there are ways to utilize that image to restore your system to its "as-shipped" condition.
I recently responded to an almost identical question here: http://en.community.dell.com/forums/p/19243206/19377830.aspx#19377830
Specifically, review my instructions on how to manually restore the Factory Image, and those of Ronatola who successfully restored his Factory Image.
Hope this info helps.
I tried installing the Vista CD and rebooting, then hitting F12. Essentially the same menu appeared and no Dell Image appeared. I selected CD ROM in the boot device menu. Then I pushed any key and the menu appeared. Not having any luck with this method, I tried typing in the DOS commands. I got as far as PCRestore which came up as not recognized as a command. I was never able to reach the Dell Factory Image Restore window. I tried hitting control and F11 with no luck. This is ridiculous. When I used Windows XP Home, all I did was push F11 and it restored it to the factory configuration. I have not made any alteration to the D partition or E for that matter. Why the Vista CD was not shipped with the system would be interesting to know. This is the fourth computer I bought from Dell and the only one where I had to place an order for a re installation disk. At this point I am ready to give up and use Acronis to restore.
By your comments, I assume the manual restoration procedure you are attempting to use is the one described here:
That procedure should work if you choose the Command Prompt option from the System Recovery Options window. You might want to review the procedure and try it again.
Incidentally, the correct way to access the Vista Factory Image at boot is to press F8 while the Dell logo is on the boot screen. Vista does not use the CTRL + F11 key-stroke sequence that Dell used with XP.
That is exactly the procedure I used. I have tried F8 without the re installation CD and F12 with the CD. Essentially the same menu appears. What is the difference between using F2 to change the boot sequence and F12 to change the sequence? I don't see why any of this should be necessary. The D partition supposedly has all the information to restore the computer to the factory default. Why should you have to put the CD in? It says at one point that it is loading files. The last time I attempted this my graphics got messed up and I had to use system restore. I also do not get "7. On the lower-left corner of the Install now screen, click Repair your computer." Instead Repair is listed in the drop down menu.
If you're getting essentially the same menu using F8 without the DVD and F12 with the CD, then the Dell Proprietary Master Boot Record is probably messed up. When you choose to Repair your computer, there should be an option to Restore Factory Image. If the system can't see the Factory Image partition, then it will not appear as a Repair choice.
Basically, when you use F2 to enter the BIOS and set the DVD/CD as the first boot device, then the system will always look for a Bootable CD or DVD in the CD/DVD drive at bootup. If it finds one, it will boot that Bootable CD or DVD rather than boot from the hard drive. When you use F12 to select the CD/DVD drive as the boot device, then the system will look for a Bootable CD or DVD only for that specific boot up. If it finds a CD or DVD it usually will offer a prompt "Press any key to boot from CD..." If you press a key the system will attempt to boot from the CD or DVD. If no bootable CD or DVD is found, the system will then look for the next available boot device as set up in the BIOS.
Sure looks like you may have to restore your system using your Acronis image, or use the Imagex method I described in the post to which I referred you earlier.
I tried it again without luck. This time I tried putting the CD in. I did see the lower-left hand corner of the screen per Dell's instructions and I hit repair. The closest I get to Dells Factory Image Restore is "Windows Complete PC Restore." This is the same menu another poster got. Supposedly I am logged on as administrator. When I click the top of the screen where it says administrator nothing happens. At any rate, this time I made some progress by selecting location of the backup and hitting advanced. I get a drop down menu which includes, my computer, recovery d, boot x and many other entries and subdivisions. But I could never get them to work so I tried the dos prompt again. In the line "path d:\windows; " does the ";" supposed to be in that line? Typing that line in per Dell's instructions I again get - not recognized as a command (internal or external) operable program or batch file.
Yes. The semi-colon ";" separator is supposed to be on that line. The message that you're receiving sounds like the system doesn't recognize "path" as a command. That doesn't make sense, since the "path" command has been around since DOD (Days of DOS). Basically, that command is telling the system to look for support files it may need to carry out the PC Restore in the d:\windows and d:\windows\system32 subdirectories. If you just type the word "path", does it show anything or does it also give the "not recognized..." message?
In the windows environment at the DOS prompt, if I type in the commands per Dell's instructions it still errors. If I type path at the C: prompt I get PATH=C:\Windows\system32;C . . . If I change to the D: prompt and type PATH I get PATH=C . . . At one point I did get PATH=D:\Windows;d:\Windows\System 32 but I am not sure exactly what I did. I am convinced that the dos commands or sequence is wrong somewhere. Is the fact that I have 64 bit the problem? Dell's instructions were updated 11/19/2008.
As long as the Restore Partition is intact, the Factory Image can definitely be restored. Click the Contact button at the bottom of this post, and send me an e-mail. I will tell you how I do it.
I tried sending you an e-mail but it didn't work. A blank screen came up. So I sent you a "conversation." Is there anyway I can tell if someone responds to a posting by having that posting sent to my private e-mail going through Windows Mail? I don't see anything under options. I have subscribed to software but don't receive any messages. Thanks.
I got your Private Conversation, and I have replied with details on how to manually restore a Factory Image. In your User Profile, you must answer Yes to all three E-Mail options under Site Options to be notified when someone responds to your post(s). Guess what, it also sends you an e-mail of your posts. I liked the simplicity of the old Forum. This thing's a hassle.