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Cannot reset Windows 7 to Dell Factory

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Cannot reset Windows 7 to Dell Factory

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I just purchased a (refurb.) Dell Studio XPS 7100 desktop, with Windows 7 Premium (64)

I have been reading these boards and the internet, and cannot seem to reset to Dell Factory settings. Here's what I've done (sorry if I'm long-winded):

First couple days, PC seemed to be running ok. I was in the process of customizing and making changes:

* Installed Firefox

*Installed AVG Free (uninstalled McAfee)

Installed Adobe Flashplayer

Sunday, I seemed to have picked-up the Windows 7 Security virus. I installed Malwarebytes, updated, and ran scan, which found 3 infections and removed them. For the rest of the day, and Monday evening, the PC seemed to be back to normal.

Late Monday evening, I connected my digitial camera to the PC's USB port. Upon disconnecting, and all that night, the systems hard drive light was flashing out of contral (as if a mini fireworks show was happening inside my computer case). I thought it was strange, but didn't think much else of it.

(NOTE: I mention the connection of my digital camera, because I read a blog somewhere on the internet, and somebody else reported the SAME O/S problem after hooking up HIS camera to his computer). I wonder if it's related.

Tuesday evening, the computer would not boot-up. STARTUP REPAIR comes up and runs forever and does not fix anything.

Next, I bootup into Advanced Boot Options <F8>, and nowhere is an option for DELL FACTORY IMAGE RESTORE. (I have a restore partition, and 6GB's used on my D:/, I know the restore image is there. I have also seen the folders there.)

Since I have only had the computer for a few days, I do not have any data on this machine that is critical. I am perfectly ok with reinstalling the O/S from the restore CD that Dell provided. Tuesday night I ran a CLEAN INSTALL using the Dell Restore CD. I've reimaged machines before, so when this "reimage" took almost 5 hours, I thought something else must be wrong.

After reinstalling from the Restore CD, it takes the computer FOREVER to boot-up (like an HOUR!),....this cannot be right I think, but maybe I'm just missing drivers that would be available if I had restored the Dell Factory Image.

Wednesday, I took my computer to work, and with assistance from a Hardware specialist, he was also unable to access the DELL FACTORY IMAGE RESTORE, using <F8>, and the Ctrl <F11> options. So, we did another complete clean install from the Restore CD. We did a format of the C:/, but it didn't take as long as I am used to whenever I formatted Windows 2000 machines.

The machine now takes 40 minutes to boot. Many items seem to take way to long to open. Again, I have not downloaded and installed the various drivers. This is another source of frustration for me, as I am not exactly sure which drivers I need (example: as none of the 6 DVD driver options seem to match my DVD,...same thing with my video card driver choices). So, the easiest thing would be to restore to the Factory Image, which I know is there, and we have not messed with that partition.

So, here is a summary:

* Advanced Boot Options has no DELL FACTORY IMAGE RESTORE option.

* Clean install performed twice, but bootup now takes 40 minutes to an hour. (would installing necessary drivers correct this?)

* As for drivers, I'll double-check the components list that is attached to my order information on

Any other suggestions would be appreciated, and/or links to solutions that will hopefully correct this.

Disclosure: I am neither a beginner nor an expert with computers. On a scale of 1-10, my PC knowledge rates about a 6.

Thanks in Advance!





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    my Dells:
    Optiplex 3020 - Windows 7 Pro 64-bit / Linux Mint
    Optiplex 3020 - Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

    Precision M6300 - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

    Latitude D620 - XP Pro SP3

  • Thanks very much for the response! Your solution is how to download and install the necessary drivers, which could be a contributing factor to my problem.

    My primary objective though, is to reset the computer back to Dell factory settings, which I know is on the hard drive, but I have not found any option(s) to restore it.

    After (2) clean installations, this computer should not take 40 minutes to boot-up. I think that there's something wrong with the system, that even a clean install will not correct.

    Thanks very much for the reply!


  • Hello Chris

    In the advance boot options at top should be Repair Your Computer, select that and

    and you should find what your looking for. If that selection is not there, you probably

    are not in the Recovery partition but a Recovery directory on c:\root .

    Hope this helps.


  • Gentlemen,

    Thanks again for attempting to help. I have followed this solution to the letter.

    To restore your computer to the original factory installation, follow these steps:

    1      Turn on the computer, when the Dell Logo appears repeatedly press the <F8> key until you see the Advanced Boot Options menu.

    2      From the Advanced Boot Options highlight Repair Your Computer with the arrow keys and press <ENTER>.

    3      Click

       Next >   

     and login to your administrator account on the computer. The administrator account is the account created the first time the computer was turned on.

    4      Click  Dell Factory Image Recovery and DataSafe options  and follow the prompts provided.


    There is NO Dell Factory Image Recovery option. The strangest thing about this situation is, I have re-imaged the machine TWICE using the Restore CD, and it is still taking 35 minutes to bootup. I downloaded a network card driver, and can get on my home network, but not the internet. I have not attempted all the driver downloads, as I still believe it should be easier to restore the factory image, but I'm just not getting that option.


  • Hello Chris

    You may be able to do this, should work with Win 7 also.

    Manual Recovery from a Dell Vista Recovery Image - Step-by-Step

    You may have to run Startup Repair to get it to boot after doing this.

    Hope this helps.


  • Tom Green

    Hello Chris

    You may be able to do this, should work with Win 7 also.

    Manual Recovery from a Dell Vista Recovery Image - Step-by-Step

    You may have to run Startup Repair to get it to boot after doing this.

    Hope this helps.


    You could jump from 7 to 14,as the Dell restore is Recovery in Win 7 setup, though you will have to go into Computer Management, then Storage to find out.


    If my answer Was helpful?  Please let me know by clicking on the 'Did this answer your question' and clicking on the Yes button.  Thanks.



  • Hello Robin

    Thanks for pointing this out. I guess my solutions are really hacks not solutions

    so I'll start keeping my hacks to myself and let you come up with real solutions.


  • Thanks again to everyone for their responses to my situation!

    UPDATE: I ran the Diagnostics on this machine, and received : Error Code 2000-0142 - Status 79. Hard Drive 0 self test unsuccessful.

    It appears as if I may have a hard drive issue. I ran a CHKDSK to see if that might correct anything on the hard drive.

    Afterwards, I tried Tom's suggestion, and I really thought we were going to get somewhere with that. When I got to the D:, and attempted "cd \tools", there is NO "tools" directory. There are only 2 directories on D:\, named "Dell" and "Recovery". I searched each of those directories looking for "tools" and found none.The solution that Tom sent was specifically for Windows Vista. Is it possible that Windows 7 has another CMD Image restore option?

    Since I've only had this machine a week now, it is obviously still under warranty. I sent Dell an e-mail Friday night, and still have not heard anything. Since I'm somewhat familiar with computers, and work in IT, I wouldn't mind trying to fix it myself, (assuming it's only a hard drive replacement), or just uninstalling and re-installing the existing hard drive, and double-checking the connectors, etc. If I buy another hard drive, and install it, will that void my existing warranty? Or, should I just take advantage of the warranty, and let Dell do the work? I have a year of on site service, but trying to find a convenient time to be here is more of an inconvenience to me, than just replacing the hard drive myself, assuming that's what it really is. Any suggestions? I don't mind the small extra expense to install a better hard drive (i.e. WD Caviar or Scorpio Blue , etc.).

    Last night I reinstalled again from the Recovery CD, took about 8+ hours to install, and still takes about 40 minutes to boot-up. Once booted, everything is still extremely slow and unresponsive. I'm betting a new hard drive fixes this thing!




  • hello everyone,

    I have tried to use all those ways you guys have mentioned but none of them worked. My problem is that I had a virus and malware in my pc, I’ve downloaded antivirus and malwarebyte’s to remove everything that is infected. The problem is that when I reboot my pc and hit F8 and go to REPARE YOUR COMPUTER, a black screen comes up with a download line on the bottom, it runs once then it just get stuck, it says files are loading but I left it for almost an hour which is that not normally the case, it usually open right the way because I’ve tried it on other computers. I have INSPIRON N7010. I’ve tried numerous of ways like formatting, safe mode and through cmd, but it didn’t work out. Please can anyone help with this problem?                                                                                                          


  • Did you ever find out what was the cause or find a solution? I am having similar issues. I had to go in and use a  previous restore point, but my computer is super slow and locks up now. I was wondering if you can let me know if you just went ahead and bought a new hard drive? Also how do I get windows back installed on my pc if I don't have a disk?