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I have an old Dell Dimension 1950. I am trying to do a factory reset. I do not have original disks that came with it....my company was bad about keeping that stuff organized. I tried pressing F11 when booting up as well as F8 and F10. I have done this before on other computers but it is not working for this PC. What are my options if the pre-installed factory reset option is not working?

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Do you know for a fact there is a recovery partition on the hard drive? – CharlieRB Jan 10 '12 at 19:16

Reinstall it with windows disc. Then download the missing drivers from Dell website.

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Although your answer is, in essence, correct; the question is asking what to do if they don't have the disks. This was stated in the question. – CharlieRB Jan 10 '12 at 19:15
    
I'm aware that he do not have Dell's factory CD, what I was saying is to reinstall it with typical Windows CD then download the driver from Dell website. – chmod Jan 11 '12 at 19:11

If the recovery partition is damaged or deleted and you've lost the restore media, you can request a set of discs from Dell.

https://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dellcare/en/backupcd_form

Note that if you do a restore with Dell discs, you'll get a Windows system with all the "bloatware." Many people prefer to install a plain version of Windows and install only the necessary hardware drivers.

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I was hoping to avoid reinstalling bloatware. I have a feeling the partition is damaged because about a year ago I was able to do it to another computer of the same model – VAGolfDad Jan 11 '12 at 20:30
    
Well, if you want to avoid the bloatware, then just re-install from a Windows install disk as mentioned, and only load necessary device drivers. Good time to do BIOS updates, by the way. If your issue is solved, can you accept one of the answers so your question is marked as solved? Thanks! – Brett Dikeman Jan 12 '12 at 4:51
    
Will do ....thanks – VAGolfDad Jan 16 '12 at 14:26
    
quick question...how do you determine if the recovery partition is damaged or deleted? – VAGolfDad Jan 16 '12 at 19:35

Dell PC Restore for Windows XP

This article is for Microsoft Windows XP

Table of Contents:

Step 1: Backup important files & data Step 2: Remove non-essential peripherals Step 3: Restore the computer's software to original condition Step 4: Restore your personal files and data from backups Step 1: Backup important files & data.

Step 1: Backup important files & data.

Notice: Dell has designed two new backup and restore programs, see below for the details: Dell Inspirons, Studios, and XPS Systems use DataSafe Local Backup 2.0 as the PC Restore/Factory Image Restore option as of April 22, 2009. Click here if your computer is an Inspiron, Studio, or XPS Dell OptiPlex, Latitude, Vostro, and Precisions use Dell Backup and Recovery Manager as the PC Restore/Factory Image Restore option as of May 26, 2009. Click here if your computer is an OptiPlex, Latitude, Vostro, or Precision Use Windows XP Files & Settings Transfer Wizard To Backup Files & Data

The Files & Settings Transfer Wizard will automatically collect and save the files in your My Documents folder, including your Music, Pictures and Videos folders. Additionally, the wizard will collect and save the files on your desktop and in your Shared Documents and Shared Desktop folders (if more than one person share files on different user accounts on your computer).

1 Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools and click Files & Settings Transfer Wizard.

2 Select Old Computer and click Next.

This selection will specify that this is the computer you want to back up your important files and settings from. The wizard may take a moment to prepare for the next step.

3 Select your transfer method, from one of the following selections:

Floppy drive or other removable media (Recommended) - select this option if you have a USB memory key, USB hard drive, CD or DVD writable drive and blank discs.

Other - select this option if you are on a home network and can save your files to another computer or shared network drive.

Once selected, click Next.

4 Select Files Only and click Next.

The wizard will begin collecting and saving your files to the specified location. If you specified a removable drive, the wizard may prompt you to enter an additional blank disc if more than one is necessary to hold all your files. Be sure to label your discs thoroughly (such as "My Files Disc 1" etc.) so you can quickly restore them later.

5 Once completed, click Finish to close the wizard.

You are now ready to proceed with the next step.

Step 2: Remove non-essential peripherals

Except for the monitor, keyboard, and mouse, remove all external peripherals including:

Note: An external peripheral is a device that connects to a port on the front, side or back of the computer, like a printer or memory key. Scanner Printer Modem or Network cables Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) USB flash drive or other external Hard Drive Any other external devices (e.g., USB-attached devices) Remove the computer from the docking station, if you are using one.

Step 3: Restore the computer's software to original condition

Using PC Restore in Windows XP or Media Center

Notice: Restoring the original factory image erases ALL existing data. This includes files, folders, programs, drivers, E-mails, photos. Before performing a PC Restore, back up all personal files. If you do not back up your personal files, the data will be lost. 1 Turn on the computer.

2 When the Dell splash screen appears during the computer startup process, press and hold < Ctrl > and then press < F11 >. Then, release both keys at the same time.

Note: Some systems like Inspiron Mini 9 (910) do not support System Restore as they do not have < F11 > nor any substitute. If the key strokes are not working or you do not have PC Restore any more.

3 In the Dell PC Restore by Symantec window, click Restore. Alternatively, press < Tab > to highlight Restore, and then press < Enter >.

4 When a warning message appears stating that all data will be lost, click Confirm, or press < Tab > to highlight Confirm and then press < Enter >.

The Progress window will appear. Once the restore process starts, Dell PC Restore by Symantec usually takes about 8 to 10 minutes to finish.

When the restore process is complete, the following message will appear: The system recovery process was successful.

5 Click Finish or press < Tab > to highlight Finish and then press < Enter > to restart the computer.The software is now installed as it was when the computer was first received.

Using Dell Factory Image Restore in Windows Vista

Notice: Restoring the original factory image erases ALL existing data. This includes files, folders, programs, drivers, E-mails, photos. Before performing a PC Restore, back up all personal files. If you do not back up your personal files, the data will be lost.

1 Turn on the computer.

2 As the computer starts, press < F8 > on the keyboard until the Advanced Boot Options menu appears on the screen.

Note: You must press < F8 > before the Windows logo appears on the screen. If you press < F8 > after the Windows logo appears on the screen, the Advanced Boot Options menu will not appear on the screen. If you do not see the Advanced Boot Options menu, restart the computer, and then repeat this step until you see the menu on the screen.

3 Press the < Down Arrow > on the keyboard to select Repair Your Computer on the Advanced Boot Options menu, and then press < Enter >.

4 Specify the language settings that you want, and then click Next.

5 Log in as a user who has administrative credentials, and then click OK.

6 Click Dell Factory Image Restore.

7 In the Dell Factory Image Restore window, click Next.

8 Click to select the Yes, reformat hard drive and restore system software to factory condition check box.

9 Click Next. The computer is restored to the default factory configuration.

10 When the restore operation is completed, click Finish to restart the computer. The software is now installed as it was when the computer was first received.

Step 4: Restore your personal files and data from backups

Backup will restore the files to your computer. If you are restoring from a removable drive and used more than one blank disc, Backup will prompt you to enter the next disc in the set as necessary. Depending on the number of files and their sizes, this process may take several minutes.

1 Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools and click Files & Settings Transfer Wizard.

2 Select New Computer and click Next.

This selection will specify that this is the computer you want to restore your files to.

3 In the Do you have your Windows XP CD? window, select I don't need the Wizard disk... then click Next.

4 Select the same location you previously used to save the backup files to. If you saved the backup to a CD or DVD, insert that disc in the drive now. If you used more than one disk, enter the first disk in the set. Then click Next.

The wizard will begin to restore the saved files to the locations they were found originally before the backup. Depending on the number of files and their sizes, this could take several minutes. If you saved the backup to CDs or DVDs, the wizard will prompt you when to enter the next disc.

5 Once completed, click Finish to close the wizard.

Your files are now restored.

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Source

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