How to Easily Restore a Dell PC to Factory Settings

by Ruri Ranbe

Restoring a Dell PC to its factory default condition erases all of the files on the hard drive and reinstalls the operating system, as well as any proprietary applications that were shipped with the computer. In the past, users would have to reinstall the OS on a Dell PC using recovery discs, but since the release of newer OSes like Windows Vista and Windows 7, the recovery software is more commonly installed to the hard drive, and the restoration process is almost entirely automated. The software used to recover your system varies depending on the make and model of your PC.

Dell Factory Image Restore

Disconnect all external peripheral devices -- not including the monitor, keyboard and mouse, if using a desktop -- connected to the computer.

Restart or turn on the Dell PC. Press "F8" on the Dell logo screen to access the Advanced Boot Options menu. The screen only appears briefly, so be ready to press the key. Restart again if you miss it.

Use the arrow keys to choose "Repair Your Computer." Press "Enter" to load the recovery partition.

Choose your language and regional settings, and then click "Next." Enter your administrative details, and then click "OK."

Choose "Dell Factory Image Restore" from System Recovery Options. Click "Next."

Click "Yes, Reformat Hard Drive and Restore System to Factory Condition." Click "Next" to restore the Dell PC to factory settings.

Dell DataSafe 2.0

Click "Start | All Programs | Dell DataSafe | Dell DataSafe Local Backup" to launch DataSafe 2.0.

Choose "Restore" from the menu bar in the left pane and then select "Restore Your Entire System to a Previous Date or to the Factory State" from the menu on the right.

Choose "Factory Image" from the list of available backups. Click "Next," and then click "Restart" to reboot to the recovery software on the Dell's hard drive.

Select "Restore Without Preserving New or Changed Files" to format the drive and restore the OS. Click "Next."

Click "Yes, Continue." Click "Next" again to use DSL 2.0 to restore the Dell to its factory state.

Dell Backup and Recovery Manager

Click the Windows Start button. Type "backup" into the search box and then choose "Dell Backup and Recovery Manager" from the search results.

Select "Restore System" from the left pane. Choose "Dell Factory Image" from the drop-down menu. Click "Next."

Review the warning on the Confirm screen. Select "I Confirm That I Want to Overwrite My Current System with a System Backup File" and "I Understand That This Process Cannot Be Interrupted or Undone."

Click "Start" to reboot to the Windows Recovery Environment and restore the Dell PC to its default state.


  • You can also boot to Dell DataSafe or Dell Backup and Recovery Manager from the Advanced Boot Options menu. Follow the first four steps of the Dell Factory Image Restore section to access the recovery software.
  • To prevent recovery failure, connect the power adapter to the Dell laptop, if applicable, prior to running the restore software.


  • Restoring the Dell to its factory state will remove all the data from the hard drive. Back up your files prior to running the above software.

About the Author

Ruri Ranbe has been working as a writer since 2008. She received an A.A. in English literature from Valencia College and is completing a B.S. in computer science at the University of Central Florida. Ranbe also has more than six years of professional information-technology experience, specializing in computer architecture, operating systems, networking, server administration, virtualization and Web design.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images