First post here....
I decided I had enough of Windows Vista and chose to instal XP SP3 instead. I made the mistake of not backing up the existing MBR before formatting and installing XP. The Installation was successful and everything is working great.
I should point out that my Dell has it's recovery partition intact as well as a dell utility partion, I made no changes to the C: partitions size. Simply formatted and installed XP onto the existing partition (Note: Dell have a four primary partition setup on this 1525). I made a clone of the MBR and XP Installation with Paragon Disk Manager 2009 Boot CD.
so far so good.
My question is about the future recovery of VISTA on this machine and more so the option of restoring the recovery option to F8.
I plan to give this LAPTOP to my daughter in the future, so I want to give it to her as I received it from Dell. Now that XP isinstalled the F8 key no longer invokes the recovery from the keyboard. There is an ICON for PCRESTORE (which I can run in XP) that tells me that All my current DATA will be lost, this is to be found on the recovery partion, also using a Norton Ghost 14 boot CD with CMD I can switch to the D: partition. change directory to PCTOOLS and run the Imagex program. using this command: imagex /apply d:\dell\image\factory.wim 1 c:\ - I have not tried this yet as I should also point out that for now I am sticking with XP - I simply want to know is there a way to restore the Original MBR preferably without upsetting the existing XP - but like I mentioned this can be restored using my paragon Back-up. I cannot locate any 'CD / DVD that was shipped with the machine.
I need some help here! I started the dell restore image command and restored the Original Vista for testing - The image was done using the command in a CMD window from the Norton 14 Boot CD - apparently the image from the Recovery partition was succesfully restored but it will not boot! The XP MBR is still intact - there are no error messages just a blank screen!! and yesy I am booting from the HD.
You are fortunate if the Dell Recovery works after installing XP. In most cases installing a different Operating System will corrupt the Dell Recovery partition and the only option is to do a manual install using the Dell supplied discs. If the Recovery seems to still be in tact, and you think it has restored, except for the MBR issue you an try to repair using the Dell Vista disc. Or you may want to reformat the "C" partition and then run the recovery. That will delete any potential problems because of XP being installed but there is no guarantee even this will work and ultimately you are probably going to have to do a manual install to get everything working properly.
I am not a Dell Employee
Dell forum member since 2002
Home Built PC with ASUS Z170, i7 6700K CPU, Windows 10 64 bit Pro. SSD drive. Sonar Platinum Recordng Software.
Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.
Hello and thanks for getting back.
As I mentioned above I do not have any recovery disk at hand. My problem is that I should have made a copy of the Original MBR before XP modified it. A tiny little file that brings much headaches!
As of now, I have successfully re-installed XP using my Image clone from Paragon. The recovery Partition (The main One) is an NTFS partition D:\ simply labeled 'Recovery' On this there is an icon for a 32bit PCRESTORE program, the Dell factory image is also located on this partition. I have not tried this option yet but cannot see it working.
The Vista OS can be restored - I Can see it when it is on the C: drive using Ghost or Paragon but it will not boot - No error, No disk activity. The C: drive is active. I Used the command IMAGEX /APPLY D:\DELL\IMAGE\FACTORY.WIM 1 C:/ - This process took about 20 mins and completed OK, the problem is that even pressing F8 is only bringing up commands for XP as this indicates that the MBR was not restored - You'd expect Dell to have an MBR off the drive in it's recovery?
There is also a FAT16 utility partition and an inaccesable partition inside an extended one, Simply labeled BOOT - I can see the files (Symantec and such) but am unable to get it to boot.
The format first option is what I will try next - Other than that a simple MBR backup is what I feel is required. Not having my Dell DVD disk is annoying though,
As I originally stated, in most cases (every case that I've seen posted on this forum) if the user installs a different OS, e.g. XP, the Dell Recovery Partiton is corrupted and cannot be used - you have to install Vista manually.
For registered US customers there is a form to request a set of discs. Click Me For customers in other countries there are ways to get the discs but I don't have that info.
I am outside the US (Ireland) so I have too look at ways to get recovery disks.
At the moment I am trying to load core vista files (via a retail disk) then reload the image to see if that works, so far so good. Let me say that all the system partitons are intact (and healthy) as far as Norton and Paragon are concerned - As far I see the XP install simply altered the MBR of the C:\ partition.
When I first started this job - due to the fact that I planned on leaving Dell's recovery drives alone - I was left with the fact that 4 Primary partitions were in place so I could not make any new partitons to dump the original Vista and MBR too. Looking back I wish I used my external hard disk to store a clone of the vista installation, It would have been easier.
There is a similar procedure to get Dell replacement discs for UK customers and you may fall into that category. Check Dell UK.