I am trying to restore my laptop (studio xps 16) to factory settings using the recovery image. If I look in my computer, i can see C and D drives. D is my recovery partition with 7gb full out of 10gb. This is good and dandy except when i open the D drive, there is one folder that says RECOVERY that is empty. Why is it empty when there are 7gb's of files in there? I already have hidden files shown. I don't know how else to restore my laptop. Any ideas?

Also, I downloaded partition wizard home edition and i was able to view the files on the recovery partition. For some reason this program lets me see them, so i know they are there. But, when using regular windows explorer to look in the recovery folder there are no files.

Recommended Answers

All 10 Replies

It's obviously not empty. Dell is trying to keep you out of there by hiding the files. Don't mess with it.
You should see an option at boot to change boot options(F2 or F12, usually) select it, then boot to the recovery partition and follow the prompts.

i don't know if this will work but it worked on my gateway ma7...just in case you don't have an option to choose recovery mode during boot up. all you have to do is make a boot disk (ultimate boot disk)
download it here http://ubcd.net-actuality.org/

i downloaded the iso file and created the boot disk..

the first thing i did after creating the boot disk was of course to set the first boot device to my dvd rom..inserted the disk and let the cd boot..

there are options that will come out but what you need is the file system tools..select that and choose boot managers..select the first one which is the smart boot manager..this will show you data regarding your drive...in my case i hade 2 partitions..the one that is active is my os partition the other is the recovery partition..i just made my recovery partition as the active partition(F4)..pressing enter will boot your recovery partition...

im not sure if this will work with you but it wont hurt if you give it a try..it worked for me though..btw i formatted my os partition before doing this..

hope this helps...

here is what i did, through some tricky workarounds using live cd's, third party programs, and dos commands, I finally restored the factory image...

these guides really helped out for anyone else that has this problem in the future....




thanks guys, marked as solved

You can invoke Factory Recovery options on Dell system by tapping F8 onthe initial Dell sign on screen. From the Advanced Boot Options list, choose "Repair your compyter" and follow steps onscreen.

Detailed steps present here

Well, I already solved the problem using the methods that I referenced to, but...

Your way (pressing f8) does not work....When I pressed f8 (before I fixed the problem...seen in my last post), 'repair your computer' was not listed.

So I fixed it using the manual way described above.

Yeah... that would happen if the MBR is overwritten by a standard MBR - which would probably happen if you use partition management software/

The option is present on a factory install of Vista - my friend's Studio XPS 16 has that option, as does my Dell Inspiron :)

its all good now, right after I fixed the problem, I received the discs from dell that have all the software and drivers that I can install to make my xps just like i received it......a little too late dell.

my mbr was screwed up before i used partition management software....i just used the software to see files on the recovery partition anyway, not to manipulate files

using the dos commands is actually really easy so i'll stick to that if this happens again in the future because the 'repair your computer' option is still gone haha.

You know, as time consuming as it is, I honestly prefer a Windows DVD based install to the image restore option provided simply because that way, I don't get all the trial software OEMs install. Infact, I recently did a clean install of the OS, drivers, apps and all updates and then used the "Create a System Image" option in Windows (Vista and 7 only) to create a backup image. In order to restore, you just have to boot from the OS DVD and from Windows Recovery Environment, choose "System Image Recovery" and it's done. As fast as Dell's Image Restore and I have all of my apps and 3rd party hardware drivers in place. You could look at this option too. Only drawback is that this image restore option can, depending on how you've configured the system, take ~25GB of disc space. But if you can save the backup image on an external hard drive, you should be good. Hope that helps.

yeah i was thinking of making my own image now that I realized some of the programs are terrible, but at the time I just wanted a quick restore

After hours and hours of searching for a solution to there being no "Factory Image Restore" option, this is what I did to reset my own Dell laptop (should really work on any manufacturer) to factory original. Of course, be sure you have your documents backed up before beginning as you will lose everything.

Assuming your recovery partition has not been damaged (if it has, this will not work)

Download Hiren's BootCD from www.hirensbootcd.org/download

Burn Hiren's BootCD to a CD

Put the Hiren's BootCD into CD Drive and Reboot computer

Select "Mini XP" from the menu

Double click on "My Computer"

Identify the partition that you use for your operating system

Right click on that partition and select "Format" to ensure a clean install

Identify the recovery partition and go to the "Imaging" folder

Right click on the "Imaging" folder and select "Command Prompt Here"

At the command prompt type (substituting c for your particular recovery partition and e for the partition that you use for your operating system)

imagex /apply c:\dell\image\factory.wim 1 e:\

After the image is successfully applied, close the command prompt.

Close "My Computer"

Remove Hiren's BootCD from CD Drive

Reboot computer

Your computer should now be reset to factory.

And as a bonus, if you try and use the Dell DataSafe Restore it will be there now! Woohoo!

Be a part of the DaniWeb community

We're a friendly, industry-focused community of developers, IT pros, digital marketers, and technology enthusiasts meeting, learning, and sharing knowledge.