I have the Dimension E521. This site provides instructions for restoring the factory image on the hard drive, which instructions do not work. F8 at startup does not work. I reset the BIOS to factory defaults. Then F12 and then some other guessed F keys get me part of the way, but I still do not find the restore utility. There is a D:\ partition and there is a Tools folder with a PC Restore application inside which when accessed during a normal Vista session reports some sort of error almost immediately and goes no further. Are the instructions on this site regarding restoring from the utility partition with F8 out of date.
Factory restore on a Vista system is different. You need your Reinstall disk and follow the instructions HERE
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There were actual instructions on this site for the Vista environment where no disc is used besides the hard drive. If indeed as you imply, they are wrong, then they should be changed. I may need another disc. Do you know how much they are?
Go HERE to request a disk. You can use any version of Vista disk. You can even borrow one if necessary
Thanks again. I appreciate all your help which went far beyond what I expected in quality and timing. I will try using a friend's disk and will post again if I encounter a problem.