A passionate programmer’s findings in the world of internet.

Dell System Restore for Windows Vista

June 30th, 2008

My friend just purchased a new Dell Inspiron 1420 running on Windows Vista Home Premium, with a pink cover. Once we got the machine, we loaded it with some basic software and some photos. Thereafter, all she did was only normal surfing.

After a few hours, the machine began to slow down untill it hanged. After trying out every possible buttons and the system is still not responding, we have no choice but to press and hold the power button to shut it down.

The next time it started up, some of the Windows Vista system files got corrupted. So, the fastest recovery way would be to use Dell System Restore. I was surprised that the first few search results were not Dell Support pages (just like when we search for Windows problem, we normally don't get Microsoft support pages). Most of the pages asked me to press Ctrl + F11 when the system boots up to initiate Dell System Restore.

I failed to initiate the System Restore until I read it at yorkspace.com that I should press F8 if I'm using Windows Vista. The steps after that were very straight forward. A full guide taken from Dell Support page (which I found later) is as follows:

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. Tap <F8> during startup until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears. If the Windows Advanced Options menu does not appear, restart the computer, and try again.
  3. Press the <Down Arrow> until Repair Your Computer is highlighted, and press <Enter>.
  4. In the System Recovery Options window, log in as a user with administrative rights, and click OK.
  5. In the Windows Vista Recovery Environment, click to select your language, and click Next.
  6. Click System Restore.
  7. In the System Restore window, click Next to display the most recent restore points in chronological order.
  8. Click the Show restore points older than 5 days check box for a complete listing of restore points.
  9. Click to select a restore point.
    A good starting point is to attempt to restore from the most recent restore point. If this fails to correct the problem, then try the next oldest restore point until the issue is resolved. Any software installed after the selected restore point needs to be reinstalled.
  10. Click Next and then Finish.

Though I successfully recovered the system, it did not go well the second time. The machine lasted for a few hours for me to reinstall everything, it slowed down and not responding again. I'll get Dell engineers to check up the system.

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5 Responses

Eddie Law says:

Hi Eng Lee,thanks for pointing out about the firefox issue to me.

Just wonder, if you can suggest any solution for me?

Superman says:

Pressing F8 allows you to choose the option of booting in Safe mode too and you can restore your system with system restore in safe mode in case you couldn’t log into Windows. But I wonder why vista files corrupted out of the sudden.

EngLee says:


Shall contact you personally.


Can you fly? I suppose the system files got corrupted because I force shut down the machine by press and hold the power button.

Brad says:

After persisting with issues like these for the past 8 years I gave in and tried a Mac.

… One pc went to the next door neighbour and the other to a local charity.

Anthony says:

Hi Lee, I was thinking that people who are still unable to recover thier system using system restore, should run thier Dell Windows recovery disk.

Basically, if you are unable to run system restore, you will have to Format and Reload your computer system. The first thing you need to do is to locate you Dell Windows operating system recovery disk. If you dont have this disk, look at the product key sticker on the side of your computer. It will tell you what version of windows you have. Then call Dell for a replacement copy. If your system isnt under warranty (or you just dont want to deal with dell hell) you can go to http://www.oemsoftwaresource.com and buy a new copy.

Once you have your operating system recovery disk in the system, reboot. Press F12 once your computer is turning back on. Choose boot from CD/DVD. Press any key to run the cd when prompted. It will go into a blue screen and show you its progress at installing windows. Go through each prompt, format your hard drive using NTSF quick. Then install windows.

I hope this info can help some people. Anthony