Restoring from Restore partition without Ctrl+f11 nor restore disks.

Restoring from Restore partition without Ctrl+f11 nor restore disks.

Just to state first and foremost, this is not an issue I have. This is a preventative post for anyone that may ask down the line. (as I’ve seen it asked on multiple other forums.)

I had this issue with an inspiron 1720 I just got. It had an issue, so I installed vista from a Vista RTM disk. It didn’t fix the problem in the end, so I sent it into dell and got fixed, but I wanted to a fresh restore from the restore partition because on restarts, I’d get the blue screen of Death. Fun stuff right?

Well, Unknowingly, when I installed vista off of the cd, that removed the ctrl+F11 option from the dell. This is stated on many forums, and it seems that most answers to this issue is to format and install a fresh install from cd again, or call dell and get recovery disks. I figured “Heck, If I still have the restore partition, there is not reason why I can’t get it to restore with some effort.”

Some other people I’ve seen have just had viral attacks, or just want to sell their laptop and need a fresh install. This is for those people that need it. The answer to the question of what if Control and F11 don’t work.

So, Here I am with the fix. There is one required bit of software that’s required, and that is simply a dos boot cd. You can find many iso’s for dos on the net. All you have to do is burn a copy and boot from it. [EDIT] IMPORTANT: I was wrong about dos. As stated below ( ) you have to do it from a 32 bit environment. You can get through one in the XP repair console (on the install cd) or through one of the options in vista’s setup.[/EDIT]

Ok, so this is going to be dumbed down a bit, and I’ll explain what the dos commands do. First off, after booting into dos, you need to change to the restore partition. This isn’t hard at all, all you do is type “D:” and press enter. After this, you need to find the restore file. This is a file with the extension of *.wim. This is an image of windows from dell factory.

Generally this file is found in d:\dell\image\ and is called Factory.wim. Just to double check, I’m going to tell you to change the directory. Type in “cd dell\image” and press enter. In dos, CD means Change Directory (or enter a folder). Now, to list all of the files in the directory type in “dir” and press enter.

This will give you a list. Unless you are on just the drive (aka C:\ or D:\) you will ALWAYS have . and .. as the top two files. This is regular, and just letting you know those aren’t files but ways to go up a directory. Anyway, Out of the list of files (in my case there was only one) you should see something like Factory.wim or Restore.wim. If it isn’t Factory.wim, replace anything I say to type in with factory.wim with your file.

Now we need to get back to the base drive. Instead of typing all of the ..\.. and so on, simply type “cd \” and press enter. Now that we are back at the main drive we can browse to where the restore aplication is. Type in “cd tools” and press enter. Now type in “imagex /apply d:\dell\image\factory.wim 1 c:\” and press enter. This starts the restore process. Sometimes it takes a while before it updates the percentage, so just let it sit doing it’s thing for a while. It will finish all on it’s own after it starts.

“imagex” is the application that extracts the files from the *.wim file. The “/apply” is to apply the image to the specified location. “D:\…\…\…” is the source location of the *.wim Image file. “1” is … well, I haven’t figured that one out, but if I had to guess, I would say it means unmodified extraction. “C:\” is the destination. MAKE SURE YOU WANT TO RESTORE. The restore process removes all files and folders for the destination drive. Be careful.

So, there you have it. How to restore dell’s without pressing Control + F11.

Any questions or comments, Please leave them here.

**Note, this was done with a windows Vista home premium install.