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Restore Dell Inspiron Mini 10 to Factory Settings

dell Inspiron Mini 10

Learn how to restore Dell Inspiron Mini 10 to Factory Settings

If you want the solution, on how to restore your dell Inspiron mini 10 without the background information –feel free to skip to the bottom of the article for the solution.

Instructions for PC Restore on Dell Inspirion Mini 10 Don’t Work

If like me you’ve purchased a Dell Inspiron mini and you’re looking to perform a factory restore on it you’ve probably run into difficulty. You’ll want to perform a factory restore in order to get your system back looking like when you first purchased the machine. The chances are however that you’ve checked out the manual only to find that the instructions on page 42 of the manual entitled “Using Dell PC Restore” don’t actually work.

In particular, they’ll tell you that in order to perform a PC Restore on your Dell Inspirion you need to:

  1. Turn on the computer and during the bottom process, a blue bar with
    www.dell.com appears at the top of the screen.
  2. Immediately upon seeing the blue bar, press <Ctrl><F11> if you wait too
    long and the operating system logo appears continue to wait until you see
    the Microsoft Windows desktop; then shut down and try again.

The only problem with this, I found on my Dell Outlet purchased Windows 7 mini 10 with Windows Starter was that these instructions no matter how many
times I tried just don’t work. Given that that my Inspiron mini didn’t come with a factory restore CD, I naturally checked for a recovery partition on the hard drive – I noticed that this wasn’t visible in Windows Explorer; however, a partition did exist when I checked using the defragmentation tool provided in Windows.

Restoring Dell Computer by Phoning Customer Support

In the instruction manual I was advised that “Dell PC Restore by Symantec and Dell Factory Image Restore may not be available in certain countries or on
certain computers” naturally, given that I could see no evidence of this software on my computer, nor could I access it using the shortcut, thus I phoned
Dell technical support to either provide assistance with this problem. Quite frankly after 30 minutes on the telephone, they were completely useless –
firstly they denied that there was an image on the hard drive, they denied that I was legally obliged to be able to restore my computer and that it was
impossible to restore my Windows 7 operating system without a recovery CD which would require me to purchase an external hard drive (cost £40) and a recovery CD at £60 plus delivery fees. To this, I told them no thanks!

Anyhow, I eventually figured out a solution by a lot of trial and error. I found this article on restoring the Dell Inspirion mini 10 which isn’t entirely
accurate but it pointed me in the right direction.

Solution to Restoring Dell Mini 10 to factory settings on Windows 7 Starter

Restart the computer and press F8 when you receive the Dell loading screen and keep holding it till it the computer beeps , then release it and you’ll find
that you get into a Windows loading screen it gives you a variety of options – select the “Repair your computer” option by highlighting it using your arrow
keys and press enter.

You’ll now be asked to login to your machine, you’ll need to use the same username/password that you use to access Windows normally.

Now, instead of accessing Windows you’ll get a screen with a whole variety of options at the bottom, of that list you’ll find a hyperlink that allows you to
select “Dell Factory Restore Image” – select this and follow the on screen instructions.

Author Notes – I was really disappointed with the fact that Dell had shipped to me incorrect factory restore settings in the manual and then provided me
inaccurate information on the telephone – even after my insistence that this information was inaccurate.

About DOffer

  • christine whatmore

    thank you very much for this ..
    it repaired my daughters notebook ..
    after finding it had 400 infections and 30 worms

  • Xavier Rojas

    Thank you soo much hopefully my pc is faster now..

  • Julia Hogans

    I dont know how to do it?? i need help….. 😛

  • Mark

    Thanks for publishing this. When I called Dell, the tech support guy agreed that the doesn’t work on this model. Since my Mini 10 was out of warranty, they wanted $60 to give me the correct key combo to perform the pc restore function and walk me through the restore process. This should be free since the documentation is incorrect. Thanks again.

  • Billy in Florida

    tried what you said and I got the initial menu to repair computer but all it did was load back to the reg desktop.

  • james

    the above did not work for me…but this did

    To restore your computer to the original factory installation, follow these steps:

    Turn on the computer, after the Dell Logo appears and then disappears repeatedly press the key until you see the Advanced Boot Options menu.


    From the Advanced Boot Options highlight Repair Your Computer with the arrow keys and press .


    Click Next >
    and login to your administrator account on the computer. The administrator account is the account created the first time the computer was turned on.

    Click Dell Factory Image Recovery and DataSafe options and follow the prompts provided.

  • james

    f8 key

  • Kristin

    This is so amazing! It actually worked and now my PC is better than ever! Thank you so much!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eo83AYjyr0 Long Beach Personal Injury Lawyer

    To Enter boot option, restart your pc, your dell logo appears press F8 to proceed to boot option. There are lot of options to chose from, like safe mode, repair and stuffs. Hope this helps.

  • fat bah

    Thank you soooooooooooo much, the last paragraph did the trick…

  • http://www.fluxed.com.au Fluxed

    I’ve been looking everywhere for ways to restore my laptop! This is a great article, I’m going to give it s go now!

  • LoJo

    Problem is mine is a “refurb”, so I don’t have the initial login for the administrator account used when the computer was first turned on.

  • Donna

    Your a superstar!!!!!! Thank you sooo very much x

  • minigirl89

    thanks so much. hopefully this will get rid of all the tracking cookies and virus’ on mine.



  • Don

    i have windows xp not windows 7 ty

  • kevin

    thanks for advice but when i press repair it just restarts by itself again

  • Rob

    Worked like a charm. Thank you

  • kevin

    my dell 1018 was shutting down all the time so tryed restoring to factory image . clicked on computor repair but just restartes again. now i have pressed cntrl f11 and now wont boot . have flashing curser and beeping please help

  • tonu

    i did that but i didnt get a repair option jusr a
    safe mode
    safe mode with Networking
    safemode with Command Prompt

    Enable Boot logging
    Enable VGAMode
    last known configuration
    Directory services restore mode
    debugging Mode
    Disable automatic restart on system failure

    Start windows normally
    Return to OS Menu
    Use und down keys to move the hightlighted to your choice

    now what to do

  • Meggie

    How would I do this on a XP system?

  • Finda

    i am having the same problem tonu is having. can anyone help me?

  • ThisGuy

    Nice work Author. Clear and simple instructions. Fixed me up.

  • http://www.techzek.com Divyesh

    Ohh,, finally got the right advice here to solve my problem..thanks a lot..

  • Diana

    Worked great for me…doing all the steps I did when the mini came out of the box. Thank you! Very easy and faster than I’d expected.

  • http://www.bestbuytoletmortgages.com/ best buy to let mortgages

    thanks for this. helped me solve the same problem on my dell 1018. i used the factory image method

  • Dell sucks

    Just got off the phone with dell. Gonna charge me 80.00 plus tax to reformat the crap i got from them. or 215.00 for one year software support. Thats more than I paid for this piece of junk!! Thanks for your post James, it really helped.. You would figure that if you purchase a computer with one year warranty it would cover software. They are just gready. i will never purchase dell crap again.

  • Craig

    All I get when I do “james’s” instructions is back to the windows login. It worked on one of my Mini 10s but isn’t working on the other

  • Jacks

    James thank you it worked!

  • http://www.newbstatus.com adam

    Yeah, it seems that the US Models require you to tap F8 multiple times at the “Dell Loading” screen, i pressed it about 15 times quickly and it took me to the screen as mentioned above.

    However, i don’t have a Dell System Restore option, i have a DataSafe BackUp & Restore option. Which is in the process of working now.

    The US models don’t have a visible OS Partition as well, & Mine doesn’t show up in the defrag settings, but it was there, The Dell Mini was purchased January of 2011 & There was a Factory Restore partition hidden with the date of 1/8/2011 on the hard drive!

    Thx for the tips and help.

  • cheyenne

    my computer says disk read error occured press ctrl+alt+del to restore but it just keeps coming back to this screen. i cant get the menu to come up by pushing f8. what can i do? its a inspiron mini 10 windows starter

  • modupe

    i did that but is saying operating sys not found.

  • darlene

    Please help me with my daughters Dell Nickelodeon Inspirion Mini, I am trying to restore it “back” to factory mode, with no luck. I tried James’s method and it does NOT work, I get the screen he mentioned but it does NOT have “restore” option. This mini has XP, below is the screen I get when I follow James’s instuctions:

    safe mode
    safe mode with Networking
    safemode with Command Prompt

    Enable Boot logging
    Enable VGAMode
    last known configuration
    Directory services restore mode
    debugging Mode
    Disable automatic restart on system failure

    Start windows normally
    Return to OS Menu
    Use und down keys to move the hightlighted to your choice

    Can some PLEASE help me to restore my daughters laptop.

  • nickeym

    my dell mini has the same options as Darlene, and tonu, can someone plz help me? i have no idea how to fix this I cant get past my desktop, its froze, my mouse n keys will not respond. am goin crazy havin to use my daughters laptop

  • Nico

    Thank you very much for this.
    I’ve been toying with the idea of booting with a bootleg copy of windows 7 starter from a flash drive or something of the sort. But a legitimate path is always better!

    Thanks a lot.

  • Debbie

    I have the same problem as darlene…no option to ‘repair computer’… been trying all day to fix the junk! please help!

  • John

    Life saver!!!


  • Marisa

    I have tried all of these things Ctr+F11, repeatedly press F8 before, after, and during the Dell logo. I have tried just holding these two down and nothing is working. I stopped using my Dell Inspiron Mini for so long I forgot the password and I don’t know how to reset the laptop or clear the password. I only have an adim. account so I cannot get through with a guest account. I really need help with this. PLEASEEEE :(

  • http://None Wesley

    You are the man. I spent a while trying everything else and this was finally the thing that worked. Thank you for publishing this.

  • JD in Portsmouth

    Although this did not work for me – the solution propounded by James worked fine. Warning – if you’re going to do this, allow yourself 60 to 90 minutes, and a lot of patience…

  • johnC

    Same as darlene and nickeym. Dell Nickelodeon Inspiron Mini 10 with XP. No repair option. Will someone please help before I throw this thing back at the business owner from whom I purchased it? PLEASE?? Also having a problem with the wireless network connection. It will connect to the my router and shows strong signal strength, but the Internet Explorer will not connect with any of the pages I type in.


    Top man once i found the restore patition
    I know there must be away cntl+F12 BS
    Thanks for your help I will sleep tonight!

  • Khris

    Rhix isng working for me …ive pressed f11got the black screen up clicked the top repair your comp option then it says windows is loading your files then it goes to a dark grey screen followed by a screen thats blue with a branch and a bird on ….help xx

  • Will

    I am having the same problem as johnC, if anybody has any ideas then that would be a big help

  • Will

    After looking on other websites, i found that, if you were having the same problem as myself, johnC, darlene and others then there is an easy solution.
    when you hit the dell loading screen, hold the ctrl button
    When you laptop the goes to the next screen (with a blue bar at the top), hit the f11 key
    Follow the instructions onscreen and your computer should be ok to use.

  • krammer

    I’ve read all the do this do that and nothing is going for this piece of junk. I thought I would be nice for a friend and trouble shoot this piece of shite. I cannot go into safe mode, ctrl +11 what a joke. If you cant afford a latop without a dvd/cd then dont buy this crap. Go to the public library.

  • chantty

    pues es el primer comentario negativo hacia el soporte Dell en lo particular me ha resuelto muchos problemas lo único que tiene costo es cuando el equipo ya no esta en GARANTÍA, pero siempre tienen una solución que tengan buen dia.

  • Tempest

    Thank you so much I have been trying to find a way to do this for a used mini my daughter got. However, when i was prompted for the user name and password for the administrator I did not have the information. Instead of trying a password I just hit enter. It worked, if someone else runs into this problem it may work for you to. Thank you again

  • alex

    i dont have the admistrators password im stuck!

  • Anthony

    Thank you so much i did not no much about the laptop i picked up to repair and resell got it home it had a password but found a way around it and then went looking on how to restore it to factory settings have been looking the net for 10hrs and could not find anything that would give me the right info until i found this post thank you so much the info has helped me find the restore and am working on it right now thank you again

  • HITMAN-47


  • http://N/A Matt

    Thanks a ton man, you saved me a whole lot of time.

  • Awe

    It never beeped!!

  • Mugsy

    Dell are a thieving bunch of !!!!

    None of the above work at all on my heap. Same issues as Darlene etc.

    Probably cheaper and more satisfying to smash it up with a large hammer and buy a decent machine!

  • Dell Is Shit

    horrible guide

    • http://www.tweaksforgeeks.com Kevin Souter

      Horrible critique.

  • gail

    I can’t find the The “dell factory image restore” after I logged in. What am I supose to do?

  • Jim Burns

    Worked like a champ, thanks for saving me the grief

  • Cathy K

    dell mini. lost login password, nothing works, tried to get it to boot from external dvd drive to reload windows and it wont let me do any of that HELP please school is starting and my son needs this computer

  • Samir Shaik

    Make sure the power is connected

  • http://www.tweaksforgeeks.com Hobo

    A very big thanks to Will for his solutionto Windows XP users.

    I was having the same problems as Darlene and a few others where My daughters Mini 10 had XP installed instead of 7 and F8 was not working for me due to the option not being made available on that screen.

    Holding Ctrl down at the loading screen and F11 at the next worked great and I hope it worked/s for others who were/are having the same problems.

    when you hit the dell loading screen, hold the ctrl button
    When you laptop the goes to the next screen (with a blue bar at the top), hit the f11 key
    Follow the instructions onscreen and your computer should be ok to use.

  • George

    This worked! Will answer above worked. ctrl at the Dell bar, and ctrl F11 Symatec Ghost 8.3 appears and this process goes by fast.

  • Jarrid

    I’ve pressed the F8 button so many times and nothing works! Help!

  • Mahmoud

    Thank you..Thank you…You made my day.

  • Corii

    I’ve been trying to get this dam thing to work for over a year. Didn’t have the time or money for this hunk of junk thank you Will, your a life saver.

  • frog

    Thank you so much! It worked with my Dell Mini 10v, I have been trying for such a long time! and was looking for a DVD rom drive to do it from the DVD instead.

  • Anonymous

    For Mini 1012, I found out from a Dell forum that pressing F8 a few times after the Dell loading completes but before Windows loading begins works like a charm.

  • kashif

    my computer is slow please no fast i am want is rieght ok

  • rodrigo

    ya le di me no me funciona no me arroja la opción “Factory Restore Image” ayudaaaaa

  • rodrigo

    No me salen esos paso ayuda

  • Matt

    Neither F8 or Ctrl+F11 worked fir me. I tried Ctrl+Alt+F11 and that finally worked.

  • Peter

    Many thanks, was kinda stuck but your instructions worked :)

  • Stu

    Worked like a charm! Just have to really read the instructions carefully, i.e. works for Win7 Starter, RE-START your computer, not ‘Resume’, etc. Thanks a million!

  • Jill

    Darlene and others,
    I was having the same problem and finally found a youtube video that totally solved the problem. My granddaughter is back in business! Yay! Why Dell makes this so difficult I will never know! The you tube link is:

  • Darryl

    will this overwrite an ubuntu partition that I created on the hard drive? I’m literally waiting for anyone to reply, right now.

  • Darryl

    hahaha ^^^^^ the avatar for my first commment is is really how I look right now!!

  • Darryl

    please moderate these posts, then hopefully moderate the relplie I need

  • Darryl

    imagine, ISO images of systems that worked, that were like the factory images, and or custom roms of cell phones!!!???
    that would be badass, but then the whole, windows genuine bs would ruin it huh? oh well, pipe dream I suppose….

  • Darryl

    I’ve been refreshing this page for over a half hour, please help me….

  • Chris

    I have similar problem, get dell logo and blue bar, then some text on screen
    INTEL UNDI ……..
    Copyright …..
    This product ……………
    For Realtek…………
    PXE-61: media tes failure, check cable
    PXE-M0F: Exiting PXE-ROM
    Operatin system not found

    I tried F2 F11 F12 F8 Fn etc nothing worked
    F12 displays a boot option menu up/dn key work but RTN key does not so can’t select anything

    Any ideas?

  • louie

    I also tried all a mentioned above but failed since i am my operating system is XP. I tried what Matt did (ctrl + alt + F11) and symantec restore option appeared.
    It works and it’s done.
    Thanks and regard to all.

  • Eso

    i did till it beeped and then the options appeared but there is no repair your computer option
    pla help :

  • Tami

    THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH KRAMMER!!! None of the options/suggestions worked but yours!!!

  • Jonda

    Is there any way to fix it when it says that the battery can not be identified?

  • vanessa

    I was given a dell inspiron mini with windows 7 starter. i can get to the repair computer menu at startup but, i dont have an admin password. i need to get around the password, so i can reset the factory settings. this computer is slow, and i cant even access some things i need to.

  • http://TweaksforGeeks Heather

    Thanks so much. Dell was useless and kept giving me the run around.

  • Richard

    I followed your instructions (same as on several other pages) but there is no “Dell Factory Restore Image” selection once I get in to the Advanced Repair option. I see a restore but not a factory restore. The only options I have is to restore to a restore point. Of course these are not factory so they are not what I am looking for. Any reason why there is no factory restore or a selection in Windows to make a disk or flash drive to boot to, to restore to factory?

    • Dan Swierczynski

      Dan Swierczynski • 4 minutes ago

      for win 7 starter system. power on and hit f8. choose repair . logon with password. click on cmd selection. type cd and enter. type cdtools and enter. type pcrestore.exe and enter. select dell factory image restore.

  • renee

    The problem I an having is I forgot my password I know my user name but it’s been so long since I’ve used it I had forgotten it by now so how can I restore or open it with out using the password… I’m not really worried about keeping any data … please help

  • Dan Swierczynski

    for win 7 starter system. power on and hit f8. choose repair . logon with password. click on cmd selection. type cd and enter. type cdtools and enter. type pcrestore.exe and enter. select dell factory image restore.

    • frustrated user

      my problem is, that I don’t have “repair your computer option” there…. There is a restore partition on hard drive but I just did not find a way how to restore inspiron mini to factory settings… nothing works… f8, ctrl+f11…

  • Mia Jo Lynn

    nothing on any comment has helped me put to factory settings

  • Marcie

    My problem is not being able to get into the computer because the previous owner has a password that I can’t bypass…help/