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randavis
74 Challenger 440 4bbl

join:2000-01-19
Blue Springs, MO

Factory restore on a Dell

I have a Dell Inspiron 1545 that has had Win8 Preview installed on it. The recovery partition is still on the hard drive, but I don't seem to be able to access it.
I have found that I should press F8 while booting and get an "Advanced Options" option. I have tried many times without success. The only thing I see on the boot screen is F2 for Setup and F12 for boot options. F12 doesn't have the Advanced Options.
What am I doing wrong?
--
IUOE Local 101


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
F8 isd standard and not printed to the screen. It is generally a VERY specific time it needs to be hit and the faster it boots - the harder it is to to get the time right.

Got my mom a Dell desktop - the manual gave all ways to access\create the restore disk and if the restore disk is not done - the recovery partition.

Some links:

»forum.notebookreview.com/dell-in···ion.html

»answers.yahoo.com/question/index···5AA901hu
quote:
2 As the computer starts, press on the keyboard until the Advanced Boot Options menu appears on the screen.
Note:You must press before the Windows logo appears on the screen. If you press 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.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
reply to randavis
The Dell instructions are very ambiguous about this, and they appear to do so intentionally. I've dealt with this situation many times over, so I'll try to make it clear:

The trick is to press F8 after the BIOS POSTs but before the Windows boot-up logo appears. F8 is being handled by the Windows bootstraps, and not the BIOS. What you're trying to get to, re: "Advanced Options", is actually part of the Windows bootloader. You know how on XP/etc. you used to press F8 and then go into Safe Mode? Yes, this is the exact same menuing system/etc..

However, Dell added an item to this menu (not Microsoft, but Dell) called "Repair Your Computer". What this does is actually adjust some partition values (making a hidden partition visible, setting it as a boot partition, etc.) and then boots that, which loads you into a WinPE environment that lets you do things like format your PC back to its factory default setup.

Here's the kicker: if the Windows bootloader/bootstraps are messed up, you cannot get into the F8 menu. Furthermore, if the recovery partition is missing (has been deleted, is corrupt, etc.) the "Repair Your Computer" menu item will do nothing (meaning you'll boot into Windows normally) or in some cases if the recovery partition is badly corrupted you'll get a text screen progress bar indicating the Windows kernel/drivers are loading which will then lock up/stop.

I cannot tell you how many times I've dealt with the above exact situation on Dell laptops. It's infuriating when the hard disk has errors / suspect LBAs / bad blocks. I have gotten around it by accessing the recovery partition through my own WinPE USB stick or a Linux boot disk and simply copying off the ~6GByte Factory.wim file to another media (USB stick, etc.) and then applying it myself to C: using imagex.exe + using bcdboot.exe to install the bootstraps, but in doing so you lose the recovery partition capability.

I really wish Dell and other companies would just provide DVDs of the damn OS and stop doing this keep-the-OS-on-the-HD crap. The way its done is obfuscated and retarded.

--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
Restore disks are an option for most of those PCs (might cost $15 - at least for the Dells) and an option to make a recovery disk as well from within Window.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


randavis
74 Challenger 440 4bbl

join:2000-01-19
Blue Springs, MO
reply to koitsu
said by koitsu:

I have gotten around it by accessing the recovery partition through my own WinPE USB stick or a Linux boot disk and simply copying off the ~6GByte Factory.wim file to another media (USB stick, etc.) and then applying it myself to C: using imagex.exe + using bcdboot.exe to install the bootstraps, but in doing so you lose the recovery partition capability.

I got to Disk Management and assigned a drive letter to the Recovery partition. After that, I could see the files there. I did run across the .wim file, but I never saw an executable to run.

I'm guessing that imagex is a third party program?

I did e-mail Dell support about obtaining the restore disks. We'll see what they want for them.

So far, I've got about $100 in a screen and two batteries, so I think another $10 or $20 won't exceed the value of the machine.

--
IUOE Local 101


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
imagex is an official Microsoft program. It does not come with Windows. It comes with what's known as the WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit), and requires you to download a gigantic EXE or ISO to deal with, blah blah blah -- the usual Microsoft rigmarole (waste tons of bandwidth and disk space and installing a bunch of useless nonsense just to get a single file).

If you're looking for the imagex.exe binary, I'm sure you can find it, or ask someone (hint hint) if they can send it to you. It's a standalone executable. There are 64-bit and 32-bit versions of this binary, and which one you use depends on which OS you're running (NOT which OS / .WIM file you are installing).

Please be aware that you can completely destroy the contents of a filesystem using imagex, so if you pass it the wrong drive letter, you could be destroying the wrong thing. It is not a partitioning tool -- it simply overwrites the contents of a filesystem with whatever .WIM file you give it.

You may also need to use bcdboot.exe to reinstall the boot blocks and bootloader (depends on the behaviour you get after doing imagex + rebooting). Like imagex, there are 64-bit and 32-bit versions, and which one you use depends on which OS you're running.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


neonhomer
KK4BFN
Premium
join:2004-01-27
Edgewater, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House
reply to koitsu
What about Ctrl-F11? We had a brand new Dell Optiplex XE that took a bad update, and proceeded to go into a perpetual BSoD fit.

We tried F8, Ctrl-F11, and everything else, and couldn't access the recovery partition. These computers had SSD Drives in them, but when looking on another system, they had a recovery partition.

We ended up just reinstalling Win7 from a DVD and was done with it.
--
"F is for Fire that burns down the whole town...
U is for Uranium...... Bombs...
N is for NO SURVIVORS!!!!!" Sheldon Plankton


Paolo
Mr. Wireless

join:2004-05-29
canada
My godfather has a dell latitude and had a corrupt partition and was wondering where his dell disks were.

I told him dell doesnt ship disks anymore, nor does hp, gateway 2000, ibm, lenowvo, acer, asus, and toshiba and sony, and sometimes they charge outrageous prices like $80 and up for recovery dvd disks

I helped him make a recovery dvd set with his dell and we discovered you have to press F8 after the dell logo and BEFORE the windows logo for it to launch the recovery partition, which is a special menu of his bios. and told him to make the disks cus sometimes a virus can wipe out his hard drive including the recovery partition and if that happens hes screwed and he came close to being screwed he had a majour virus but thank god it didnt affect his recovery partiiton
--
Happiness is like peeing your pants... Everyone can see it, but only you can feel its Warmth!!


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
reply to neonhomer
No idea what Ctrl-F11 is for. Possibly some (older?) Dell systems use it as some kind of bootstrapping shim (keep reading, re: 4th partition).

I know that systems like the Dell Inspiron 1545 actually have 4 partitions: the main OS partition (meaning where all your data is, e.g. "your C: drive"), the recovery partition (usually with the NTFS volume label RECOVERY), a FAT16 partition for test utilities and so on (I forget what uses this), and an encrypted NTFS partition that is actually set to bootable (at least it was on the laptops I've looked at). I can't explain the last partition. There is this site except most of the information I've read there appears to be from Dell systems made in the early-to-mid 2000s, not present-day. They differ now.

There's a ton of possibilities as to why pressing F8 did nothing. Off the top of my head I can think of 4 different reasons, and that's just for starters. Not enough info for me to diagnose.

But I'll make it clear to folks: what honours F8 is the Windows bootstraps/bootloader not the PC BIOS. It's the same F8 menu you've seen in the past (to get into Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP "Safe Mode", "Safe Mode (with networking)", etc.).

So if your bootstraps are messed up (requiring use of bcdboot.exe to fix), or the LBAs handling the bootstraps are unreadable (bad sectors, etc.), its possible you won't even get to the F8 menu, or once you make it there choosing "Repair Your Computer" does nothing. Again: I wish they'd just include a DVD.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


randavis
74 Challenger 440 4bbl

join:2000-01-19
Blue Springs, MO
I think you have called it. When they installed the Win8 Preview the bootloader was changed.

This machine has a 250 gb hard drive according to Dell. In Disk Management, I see it listed as Disk0, Basic, 232.88 GB. It shows a 39 MB OEM partition, a 14.65 GB Recovery partition, and a 218.20 GB OS partition.

The Recovery partition was hidden so I assigned it a drive letter to see what is in it. It is NTFS. Status shows as: Healthy (System, Active, Primary Partition)

The OS partition is NTFS. Status shows as: Healthy (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)

The OS partition is C: The other partitions did not have a drive letter, but after assigning one, the Recovery partition is F:

I think that the OEM partition should be the boot partition.

I am unsure how to edit the boot files to boot from the OEM partition and at this point, I don't think that will remedy my problem.
--
IUOE Local 101

my daughter has a dell, less than a year old. gets blue screen. dell determined that there were a lot of corrupt os files.they want 267 dollars for a restore disk. they wouldn't even talk to me about how to access the restore partition, which is the reason i am here. she is still making payments to dell...it isn't even paid for. one would think that as long as a person owes you money, you would at least tell them how to access the restore partition. it's piss poor customer service driven by corporate greed, plain and simple.


Paolo
Mr. Wireless

join:2004-05-29
canada
i found out how to access the restore partition via a google search before dell could give us the answer. next time google before you call it will save u $$$
--
Happiness is like peeing your pants... Everyone can see it, but only you can feel its Warmth!!


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
Manuals also provide that information as well as making the needed restore disks.


Paolo
Mr. Wireless

join:2004-05-29
canada
that would be great but i dont recall ever receiving manual for my computer, nor does my godfather on his laptop either.
--
Happiness is like peeing your pants... Everyone can see it, but only you can feel its Warmth!!


MSeng
Premium,Ex-Mod 2001-08
join:2000-07-13
Ork
kudos:6
Although a manual may not have come with the machine, they are always available through the Dell Support site.
--
A)bort, R)etry, I)nfluence with large hammer.


Paolo
Mr. Wireless

join:2004-05-29
canada
nice, first they save on paper, next they save on CD-roms, whats next, your gonna have to assemble the laptop yourself?
--
Happiness is like peeing your pants... Everyone can see it, but only you can feel its Warmth!!


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to Paolo
I have yet to see a Dell not have a manual and I bought my mom a dell less than a year ago.


hortnut
Huh?

join:2005-09-25
PNW
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to randavis
Skimmed the other replies.

I just got a Dell Laptop and a quick Google gave me this link to "order" from Dell actual install Disks.

Just have to fill out the form and submit, I see no mention of any charge for these. My reason was that pressed copies of DVD's were more reliable than burned copies or backed up onto a HDD.

Just some of the wordage on the page --""How do I know if DataSafe Local 2.0 is on my system?

Click on start menu
Click on all programs
Click Dell DataSafe folder
Click Dell DataSafe Local Backup

For more information about DataSafe Local please see the following Dell articles:

What is Dell DataSafe Local Backup 2.0?
Creating Your System Recovery Discs with Dell DataSafe Local Backup 2.0
Restoring Your Dell Computer to Original Factory Installation with Dell DataSafe Local Backup 2.0
Frequently Asked Questions: Dell DataSafe Local Backup 2.0

Dell Customers can now request a set of backup discs containing the factory-installed operating system as well as the device drivers and utilities specific to your system.

Requests are limited to one (1) set of backup discs per system purchased.
The backup discs requested must match the operating system that was factory installed on the original order.""
Go to the bottom of the page to fill out the form:

»support.dell.com/support/topics/···pcd_form

hth


hortnut
Huh?

join:2005-09-25
PNW
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to koitsu
See my later post below. But I got install DVD's from Dell at no cost -

»support.dell.com/support/topics/···pcd_form


Paolo
Mr. Wireless

join:2004-05-29
canada
thats the same link as above bro
nice find

PittsPgh
Premium
join:2003-08-21
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:1
reply to hortnut
said by hortnut:

See my later post below. But I got install DVD's from Dell at no cost -

»support.dell.com/support/topics/···pcd_form

It's nice to know they still offer the re-install discs. I ordered a set a long time ago. For my XPS 630. One other thing that is great about them. Is that the OS disk is a bare bones install. Bloatware free.
Also have one for an old Dell XP machine.
Paul


randavis
74 Challenger 440 4bbl

join:2000-01-19
Blue Springs, MO
reply to randavis
I received the restore disk today via FedEx overnight service. I filled out the transfer of ownership form Friday. I restored the machine this afternoon. It had all of the drivers included in the install.

That was easy.
--
IUOE Local 101


captokita
Premium
join:2005-02-22
Calabash, NC
reply to randavis
Glad you got it ironed out. For future reference though:

On MOST Dell systems, from laptops to Desktops, the ctrl+F11 is the default for booting into the recovery partition, though this is more common on XP systems. Usually these have a blue "www.dell.com" logo go across the top of the screen. but I've had it work on systems that didn't have this on them.

For Vista systems, if you can attach that drive to another system, or boot from a disk to some management console, if you set the recovery partition as the Active partition, then when you reboot the system, it should boot you into the Windows PE where you can run the factory recovery. This is useful in case like in the OP - you try another OS that goes bad, and you want to recover the unit to out of box state. This doesn't always work however, and I've seen several Dell systems with corrupt recovery partitions right out of the box.

Also, some time ago I came upon this posting for manually restoring from a .wim file, it worked for me as well, so as long as you can get to this file, you should be able to manually restore the machine to factory:

»www.notebookforums.com/t/213683/···re-disks