I need a brand new start
April 1, 2010 3:47 PM   Subscribe

How do I restore my Dell Inspiron (1010 mini) to factory settings?

The manual says to hit CTRL-F11 during boot (I'm running XP), but this does nothing. I've tried it 20 different times and it just sails into normal Windows startup. The usual F2 and F12 don't help.

The computer came with recovery CDs, but this laptop cruelly doesn't have a CD-ROM, and I don't have access to an external one. How can I reinstall Windows?
posted by venividivici to Technology (2 answers total)
Have you tried F12? That is pretty universal for Dells. Otherwise borrow an external CD-ROM and see if that helps. Have a friend who is computer savvy? Have them pull the hard drive, hook it up to another laptop and begin the Windows install. Before it is complete just shut it down on the first restart. Plug it into your laptop and continue the install.
posted by NotSoSimple at 3:54 PM on April 1, 2010

Is there, hidden somewhere in the bowels of your Start menu, a Dell recovery option?

Dells usually have a hidden recovery partition. To kick off a recovery sequence, they need to have the recovery partition marked bootable and the main partition marked non-bootable, and then get rebooted. There's often a tool you can launch from the main partition that does this.

If you can't find a recovery option under Start and you decide to go the pull-the-hard-drive route, there's no need for your computer savvy friend to kick off an actual Windows installation; just change the boot flags inside the drive's partition table, put it back in your Dell and start it up.
posted by flabdablet at 5:05 PM on April 1, 2010

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