To access the recovery partition on your Dell computer for recovery, follow the steps listed below.
Note: This will destroy all data on the machine so, it is highly recommended you back up all data you do not wish to lose in this process
1. Power on the computer
2. At the Dell logo, hold the Ctrl key and press the F11 key simultaneously.
2. The Dell PC Restore screen will come up.
3. Select Restore or use the Tab key to highlight it and press Enter.
4. if you wish to continue, click Confirm, or use the Tab key to highlight it and press Enter.
5. When the utility is finished, click Finish, or use the Tab key to highlight it and press Enter.
For Dimension models:
1. Hit F11 to access the boot menu.
2. Select "Repair my PC" from the menu that follows.
3. You will boot into an environment with diagnostic and repair tools. Select "Factory Image Restore".
I'm sure there are others. Anyone have Dell machines where the instructions differ?
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Accessing The Recovery Partition On A Dell System
Repairing a computer when it's not bootable