Restoring Windows 7 Dell Factory Image After Windows 10 Upgrade #
Restoring a Dell factory image is usually performed by pressing F8 during boot to open the Advanced Boot Options menu and then navigating to "Repair Your Computer" > "Dell Factory Image Restore".
Upgrading to Windows 10 breaks this functionality. Here is an alternate method for restoring the factory image; unlike the usual method, a current Windows username and password is not required:
Notes & Updates
- Backup, backup, backup! This process will erase the entire contents of the OS partition.
- Boot from Windows 7 DVD
- Press Shift+F10 at language selection screen to launch cmd.exe
- Check drive letter assignments carefully; they may well differ from the ones shown here (in my case, the RECOVERY partition was assigned C: while the OS partition (which is assigned C: when booted normally) was assigned D:)
- Copy imagex.exe (or imagex64.exe for 64-bit boot discs) to the RECOVERY partition (C: in this example)
- Check the factory image:
C:\>imagex.exe /dir C:\Dell\Image\Factory.wim 1
- Format the OS partition
- Restore the factory image to the OS partition:
C:\>imagex.exe /apply C:\Dell\Image\Factory.wim 1 D:
- The factory image was for a slightly different model Dell Optiplex (long story). After restoring and rebooting, the following error appeared: "Windows could not complete the installation. To install Windows on this computer, restart the installation." Created a new user account to resolve:
- "Set Up Windows" will appear; create a new user then reboot.
- Running the incorrect version of imagex.exe (e.g., 32-bit when 64-bit is required) returns: "Subsystem needed to support the image type is not present"
- If there is any problem booting after restoring the image, reboot using the Windows 7 DVD and run Startup Repair.
- On some Dell models, factory image restore functionality may also be accessible via the F12 boot menu ("OTHER OPTIONS:" > "Dell Backup and Recovery")
- A Dell Studio XPS had the factory image in two parts, \dell\Image\FACTORY.WIM and FACTORY2.WIM. Restored via
imagex64.exe /ref FACTORY*.WIM /apply FACTORY.WIM 1 drive_letter_to_restore_to
- A Dell laptop formerly running 8.1 was restored like so:
- Booted from Windows 8.1 installer and opened command prompt
- Recovery partition drive letter was not automatically assigned (unlike in Windows 7 example above), so diskpart was used to assign a letter: list volume > select volume x > assign letter R.
- Instead of WIM file(s), there were two SWM files (R:\Preload\base.swm and R:\Preload\base2.swm). Restored via
imagex64.exe /apply R:\Preload\base.swm /ref R:\Preload\base*.swm 1 drive_letter_to_restore_to
- Unassigned drive letter R in diskpart: list volume > select volume x > remove letter R
/windows | Mar 30, 2016
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