I have a 3-months old Dell laptop, which I need to do a factory reset for, using the recovery partition.

Since I don't have an external HDD available, in order to backup everything I needed (roughly 95 GB), I shrunk my C drive by 100 GB and created a secondary partition, and just moved my files there.

Now, if I remember correctly, unlike windows disc-installation, it won't let me choose which drive to format and install the new OS on, it'll just delete everything and restore it to the state it was in when I first got it.

Since both drives are on the same HDD, will it actually be deleted? (the secondary drive). If yes, what can I do to "tell it" not to touch that drive?


Inspiron 15 3537
1TB 5400RPM


It will only format your partition that contains windows, unless you explicitly tell it otherwise. (See Link, view step 5 for the first option or step 9 for the second option)

You have another option: Refresh. This will restore the windows OS, but leave all of your files intact. Depending on what you are aiming for, this might work for you. Here's a link to all of the restore/recovery options. (Link)

  • It depends on how Dell has built the factory restore on your machine. Hopefully, they've used the default windows RE environment as your recovery partition. If they use their own thing, then anything is possible. If you're going to follow the directions, make sure it appears exactly as detailed. Otherwise, you may be digging yourself into a hole. – joe Aug 13 '14 at 20:32

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