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How To Restore A Dell PC With Windows Vista to Factory Defaults

The method of restoring a Dell PC or laptop to factory defaults has changed for machines supplied with Windows Vista, but don't worry it is still quite simple.

CTRL F11 is Not Working!

With Pre Vista Dell PCs you had to press the CTRL and F11 keys together as the PC booted to access the Dell System Restore utility.

With a Vista Dell PC or Laptop that is no longer the case, even if your system manual says it is. This is what threw me at first, I could not get CTRL + F11 to work so downloaded the system manual from the Dell website and the manual told me to use CTRL + F11. After pulling my hair out for a little while I figured it out and in an effort to save the hairline of other Dell users, I decided to put this tip online.

Just Press F8

WARNING! Restoring from a factory image will wipe everything on your hard drive, so please back up first.

Dell still use an image and it is still stored on a seperate hidden partition, but Microsoft Windows Vista now has it's own imaging utility, ImageX, so Dell have dropped the third party utility they used to use.

To access the Recovery Environment just press F8 as the PC boots, in the same way you would to boot in safe mode.

When you get to the Advanced Boot Options menu, Highlight Repair Your Computer and hit Enter.

Select a keyboard layout and hit Next.

To access the recover options you now need to log on as a local user. From the drop down menu select a user name, enter the password (if there is one) and click OK.

You should now have a list of System Recovery Options. You can try many of these options before taking the drastic step of restoring from an image but if you are sure that is what you want to do, then click Dell Factory Image Restore and follow the prompts.

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