Computer Crashed-- No system restore, no recovery disks, no OS disks, what to do?

Software & Operating Systems

Software & Operating Systems
Microsoft, Linux, Productivity software, discussion

Computer Crashed-- No system restore, no recovery disks, no OS disks, what to do?

This question is not answered

My Inspirion laptop with Windows XP recently crashed. My antivirus subscription had run out, it got a virus, and crashed. When I try to turn it on, it loads to a blue screen. I have no system restore, no recovery disks and no operating system disks. What should I do? Is there a way to do a system restore? Can I order a recovery disk from Dell or something?

Any advice at all? 

All Replies
  • You cannot reinstall your operating system without the installation disks, an image of the hard drive, or a functional PC Restore feature.  You must have one of these to do anything.

    Assuming that the computer is registered to you, it is possible to ask Dell for the installation disks.  If you live in the U.S. fill out this form:  Dell Replacement Disks.  If you live outside the U.S. you must contact Dell Tech Support and request them.  Use the linked form as a guide to the info you will need to provide the Dell rep.

    What version of PC Restore you have depends a bit on the operating system you are using.  For Windows XP you will see a blue stripe at the top of the screen when the self test finishes after starting the computer.  This display lasts for two seconds, after which you see a message below the stripe talking about loading the descriptor for PBR2.  To execute a PC Restore with this system you must press CTRL and F11 while the blue stripe is displayed, and release both keys at the same time before the message about the descriptor for PBR2 appears.

    If you have Vista or Windows 7, you must get to the advanced start-up menu by pressing F8 after the self test has finished, but before Windows begins to load.  Select Repair My Computer, and then select to restore the Dell image.

    If you are not using the hard drive that was delivered with the computer, or if you have manually installed the operating system some time in the past, you will not have the PC Restore feature and you will need to reinstall manually.

    CAUTION!  Remember that using the PC Restore feature replaces everything on the boot partition with the software originally delivered with the computer.  If you have something you want to keep you will need to find a way to save it to external media.  This same caution applies to a manual install.

    Dell Forum member since 2005