Dell Backup and Recovery 1.9.2.8 – Windows 8.1/7


Contents

This guide is for Windows 8.1. Instructions are similar for Windows 7 except from recovery from the internal partition.

  1. Checks to Ensure you have a Factory Recovery Partition
  2. Uninstalling old versions of Dell Backup and Recovery and Installing the Latest Version
  3. The Creation of Recovery Media
  4. Factory Reset from Recovery Media – A Single Drive
  5. Factory Reset from Recovery Media – SSD Boot Drive and Data HDD Configuration
  6. Restoring from the Internal Recovery Partition

Note once Recovery Media is made you should be all set to update to the latest Legacy BIOS/UEFI BIOS and proceed with the Free Upgrade to Windows 10. Once you have Upgraded to Windows 10 you should perform A Clean Reinstall and then you can Setup Dell Backup and Recovery to make a Windows 10 Recovery Partition.

1. Checks to Ensure you have a Factory Recovery Partition

This guide does not support Windows 8 it only supports Windows 8.1. The update procedure from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 is too convoluted and problematic and leads to significantly lowered system performance. For Windows 8.0 its recommended that you perform a clean install of Windows 8.1 with Update 2 using the Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool.

Right click the start button and select Disk Management.

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The Disk Management Window opens:

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The GPT Partition Scheme of the Windows 8.1 Factory Settings should look like the following.

  • The main OS C: partition (takes up most of the size of the HDD).
  • There will also be a 500 MB EFI partition with a small 750 MB Recovery Partition.

The above 3 partitions are normal for a Windows 8.1 UEFI install. Dell will include:

  • The main ~8 GB Recovery partition.
  • The 40 MB Diagnostics partition

Note the GPT partition scheme can handle up to 128 different partitions and hence its of no concern to have more than 4 partitions unlike in the case of MBR. Windows 8.1 factory settings should never be installed in the MBR partition scheme.

If looking at an older Windows 7 system the MBR partition scheme will be used. In this you will not have a 500 MB or 750 MB partition but instead will have a 100 MB system reserved partition.

You may now close down the Disk Management.

2. Uninstalling old versions of Dell Backup and Recovery/Alienware Respawn and Installing the Latest Version

In Windows 8.1, right click the Start Button and left click “Programs and Features”.

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Look for any mention of Dell Backup and Recovery or Alienware Respawn and highlight these by left clicking on them. Look at the version; if the version is less than 1.8.1.71 then left click uninstall and restart the computer when prompted.

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Select yes to remove Dell Backup and Recovery.

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Dell Backup and Recovery will uninstall.

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Select Finish and Restart your Computer.

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The Latest Installer of Dell Backup and Recovery/Alienware Respawn is here:

http://downloads.dell.com/FOLDER03523396M/3/Backup-and-Recovery_Application_GX7TX_WN32_1.9.2.8_A00.EXE

Download the file. Double click it to begin installing:

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Accept the user account control prompt:

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Select Install

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It will extract the files and prepare the setup:

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Select next:

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Select Install

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Dell Backup and Recovery will then install:

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After installation it will update the PE Environment (note it may stay on 100 % for a while). It took 18 minutes 44 seconds on an install with a SSD. It’ll take longer on a HDD.

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It’ll then Enable Recovery:

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It’ll then prompt you for a restart, select finish

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3. The Creation of Bootable Recovery Media

Even if you have created recovery media before using an earlier version of Dell Backup and Recovery/Alienware Respawn or Dell DataSafe Local Backup its advised that you create installation media with the latest version as it offers some fixes and enhancements. Carry out 2. Uninstalling old versions of Dell Backup and Recovery and Installing the Latest Version if you have not already done so.

These include:

  • Ability to install on another Hard Drive or Solid State Drive other than the original drive shipped.
  • Ability to install on another Hard Drive or Solid State Drive even if smaller than the original Drive. I have tested down to a 128 GB SSD from a 512 GB HDD.
  • Ability to install with the GPT Partition Scheme with UEFI and SecureBoot for Windows 8.1 for Supported Systems (External Hard Drive and USB Flash Drive Only).
  • Ability to install with the GPT Partition Scheme with UEFI with SecureBoot off and USB Debug on for Windows 7 for Supported Systems (External Hard Drive and USB Flash Drive Only).
  • If an external hard drive is used to make recovery media it is no longer completely formatted. A small FAT32 partition is created to boot from and the remaining files for the Factory Backup are copied over to the main NTFS partition. Any user data on the external hard drive is left intact after this operation.
  • Updated User Interface.

Left click the Start Button:

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Go to the All Apps Screen:

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Scroll right:

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Select Dell Backup and Recovery:

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Select the User Account Prompt:

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Dell Backup and Recovery will initialise:

1

It will take some time to load at first launch:

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You will be presented with the First Launch Setup:

2

There are three types of Recovery Media you can make with Dell Backup and Recovery:

  • External Hard Drive – Dell Backup and Recovery/Alienware Respawn creates a small FAT32 partition on the external hard drive that can boot in a UEFI BIOS (with SecureBoot Windows 8.1, without SecureBoot Windows 7). A larger NTFS partition is used for the Factory Backup and for any files the user wants to put on the external hard drive (independent of Dell Backup and Recovery/Alienware Respawn). This is the most recommended type of recovery media and it can be utilised with Premium features such as a users custom image and incremental backups etc. Note: Dell systems created before 2010 do not have the capability to boot from an External Hard Drive. For these systems this type of Recovery Media is Useless.
  • USB Flash Drive – Dell Backup and Recovery/Alienware Respawn format these as a single FAT32 partition that can boot in a UEFI BIOS (with SecureBoot Windows 8.1, without SecureBoot Windows 7). This USB Flash Drive cannot be used for any additional purposes once it has been used to make recovery media otherwise the recovery media probably will not work. Note: FAT32 has a limitation of 32 GB. If any USB Flash Drive is used that is above 32 GB it will be formatted as FAT32 and any storage space above 32 GB will be lost from the device. In reality the factory image is <16 GB and a 16 GB USB Flash Drive should be used.
  • The third and final type of Recovery Media is DVD Backup. This is the least recommended type of Recovery Media and I do not recommend it at all because:
    • It takes the longest to create.
    • It takes the longest to install from.
    • Multiple DVDs are required and there can be burning errors which make the DVD set non-functional particularly if a cheap brand of DVDs are utilised.
    • Many new systems ship without an Optical Drive.
    • Many new systems which do possess an Optical Drive will not list the Optical Drive and hence any DVD media when installing in a UEFI BIOS (with SecureBoot Windows 8.1, without SecureBoot Windows 7).

3

I will demonstrate the creation of Recovery Media as both:

A USB Flash Drive

Dell Backup and Recovery tells you the amount of free space you need to make your Factory Recovery Media. In this case it mentions the fact that I require 8.22 GB. This will vary slightly from system to system.

Recommendations for a USB Flash Drive:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transcend-JetFlash-Super-Frustration-Free-Packaging/dp/B007CEBVRI

I am going to create a USB Flash Drive as an example so I am going to left click the USB Flash Drive.

4

I am going to attach a 16 GB Transcend USB Flash Drive and Windows will install the driver for it:

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It will then display to the right, left click the USB flash drive:

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Select Continue:

5

There may be a warning about excluded items. In my case the list of excluded items is empty so I’ll just select Agree and Continue:

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Dell Backup and Recovery will then create the installation media:

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This may take a while to complete. It took 22 minutes in my case:

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Select next.

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It may prompt about recovering some drive space but its an incredibly small amount so I’ll just select no. I have no data on this PC as I just restored it to factory settings before making this guide and I usually use OneDrive 1 TB cloud storage. I will just select later.

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I will now exit Dell Backup and Recovery.

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I will now right click the start button and select Disk Management.

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The Disk Management Window opens as mentioned it is formatted as FAT32 as it ought to be:

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Its contents can also be examined using Windows Explorer:

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This is the Factory Backup (Bootable USB Flash Drive).

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You may safely remove it from your computer. Close down all Windows explorer Windows and Disk Management Windows then left click to open the notification tray.

Left click the safely remove hardware icon:

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Left click Eject “your USB Flash Drive”

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You will be informed its safe to remove the USB flash drive. Remove it and keep it in a safe location.

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You may want to check that you can boot from the recovery media, see 4. Restoring from Recovery Media – A Single Drive.

B USB External Hard Drive

Recommendations for an external hard drive:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seagate-Expansion-Desktop-External-Drive/dp/B00UNA1O3Y/ref=sr_1_5?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1465974970&sr=1-5&keywords=seagate+tb+external

Before demonstrating a Bootable External Hard Drive. I will examine it in Disk Manager and Computer.

Right click the start button and select Disk Management.

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The Disk Management Window opens:

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As can be observed this is a 2 TB hard drive which only has one large partition.

Checking in Windows Explorer I have some drivers for a Precision M4700 for a previous installation, Office and the Dell Backup and Recovery .exe.

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When Dell Backup and Recovery is launched with an external hard drive it will check the external hard drive.

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Left click the external hard drive:

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Then select continue:

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Select Yes when warned about the operation to make the Bootable External Hard Drive (formerly called Rescue Disk):

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There may be a warning about excluded items. In my case the list of excluded items is empty so I’ll just select Agree and Continue:

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The Bootable External Hard Drive will then be made:

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When its done select next. This took about 8 minutes to make in my case:

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I have no data on this PC as I just restored it to factory settings before making this guide and I usually use OneDrive 1 TB cloud storage. I will just select later:

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I will now exit Dell Backup and Recovery.

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I will now right click the start button and select Disk Management.

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The Disk Management Window opens. As mentioned the UEFI BIOS with SecureBoot requires a FAT32 partition to boot which is now present on the External Hard Drive:

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The two partitions of the external hard drive can be observed in Windows Explorer:

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First the small boot partition:

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And secondly the main partition which will have the following:

  • autorun
  • Dell Icon
  • libxml2.dll
  • STMasterDisk.dll
  • STMasterDiskLauncher.dll
  • zlib.dll

Ensure you do not touch these when using the external hard drive.

This has the original files intact which are the Office folder, the Precision M4700 Drivers folder and the Dell Backup and Recovery Application:

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The same as earlier:

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4. Factory Reset from Recovery Media

This goes through a Factory Reset using Recovery Media created from the latest version of Dell Backup and Recovery media. Media from the latest version will allow installation on a smaller SSD than the original hard drive. I have tested going from a 500 GB HDD → 120 GB SSD (anything smaller than that is not recommended). If you have not created Recovery Media from the Latest Version or are unsure see 3. The Creation of Recovery Media

The Latest version however still does not support multiple drive configurations (hopefully this will come in the next version as Dell are now selling systems with 256 GB SSD Boot Drives and 2 TB Data HDDs). It by default will install on the largest internal drive present in the system. This step will guide you through systems with only one HDD/SSD. If your system has the capability to seat multiple drives (including mSATA drives see 5. Restoring from Recovery Media – SSD Boot Drive and Data HDD Configuration.

Note the Factory Reset will use a standard format and not a secure wipe. The data will be readily recoverable by someone who knows what they are doing with third party utilities and some Malware may survive such a format. If you want to wipe your drive more thoroughly because you are planning to sell your system or are infected with Malware you should perform the following before booting from the recovery media:

Power down your computer. Insert your Bootable USB Flash Drive (Factory Backup) or Bootable USB External Hard Drive (Rescue Disk).

Hold F12 while powering up your computer (at the Dell UEFI BIOS screen):

Dell BIOS Screen

Press [↓] (if necessary) and highlight your USB device and press [Enter].

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You will be given an instruction showing “Loading files…” then the Dell logo and then Dell Backup and Recovery will launch:

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If you select “next” it will try and repair the Windows installation present on the drive and then boot from it. I don’t want to use this in this case in particular as I am installing on a new SSD and want to Factory Reset so I will select Advanced Options.

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I will then select Factory Reset and then select next.

vlcsnap-2015-04-04-17h50m12s187Dell Backup and Recovery will take some time to prepare the hard drive, restore the system and finalise:

vlcsnap-2015-04-04-17h50m18s247 vlcsnap-2015-04-04-17h50m56s113 vlcsnap-2015-04-04-17h51m08s233 When its done you will be prompted for a restart.

Before restarting remove the USB Flash Drive or USB External Hard Drive. In my tests clicking restart with them plugged in made the UEFI BIOS default to them as they were the last select boot device.

Select restart.

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Note at this stage you may hold down the power button to shut down the system if you want to give this system away and have it so that its setup at factory settings without any of your personal information.

You will then be prompted for your language and region, amend to your preferences and select next. I will select “proper” English in this example.

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Accept the Dell OEM Windows 8.1 License agreement:
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You will be prompted to make a new computer name (the old computer name and old user accounts will have been wiped out):

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You can then select express settings (red) or customise (green) to suit your preferences.

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If you select customise:

Customise0

You will be presented with the next 4 screens:

Customise1 Customise2 Customise3 customise4

One thing to notice about Windows 8.1 when changing the settings is that it is very touch screen optimised, you can move the sliders along with your finger if using a touchscreen, otherwise just click them with the mouse.

There are 3 login scenarios:

  • Online – Microsoft Account which is the default setting (purple)
  • Offline – Local Account which is the only option but it can be converted to a Microsoft Account login when connected (red)
  • Online – Local Account you need to customise the settings to get to log in with a local account as Microsoft would prefer you to use their additional services (pink)

Online – Microsoft Account

If you are online you will then be prompted to enter your email address and sign in with a Microsoft Account. The Microsoft Account is recommended for easier use with Outlook, OneDrive, the Windows Store and to sync your Windows settings across devices:

account1

account2

Enter your email address and select next, it will then search for a Microsoft Account (if you use a Microsoft email or XBOX live it will be one). If you don’t have a Microsoft account you can sign up for one.

If you sign in with a Microsoft Account, additional security measures are usually put in place such as validation of your phone number associated with your Microsoft Account. Windows 8.1 only lets you log in when the validation checks are complete.

Usually the checks are done with a mobile phone. You are prompted to enter the last 4 digits of your phone number:

ma1

A text is sent to you and you need to input it:

ma2

Once you have input the correct code select next.

Offline – Local Account

Alternatively if you are offline you will only be given the option to sign in with a local account.

reset13

Your settings will finalise and then any default Apps will be installed.

Offline – Local Account

To sign in without a Microsoft Account, select create a new account:

withoutma

At the bottom select sign in without a Microsoft Account:

withoutma2

Create a new username and password:

withoutma3

Your settings will finalise and your Windows 8.1 Apps will be installed.

reset14

You should now be logged into Windows 8.1.

8-24

The system should automatically activate when you are online.

You should again uninstall any old version of Dell Backup and Recovery and upgrade to the latest version (as you are at factory settings and have the factory shipped version). See 2. Uninstalling old versions of Dell Backup and Recovery and Installing the Latest Version

5. Restoring from Recovery Media with Multiple Drives – Focusing on a Boot SSD and Data HDD

If you are using a system with multiple drives for example a system with a 256 GB SSD and a 2 TB HDD. Recovery Media created from the latest version of Dell Backup and Recovery still does not support multiple HDD and SSD configurations. It by default will install on the largest internal drive present in the system.

This is more advanced and will take a few steps.

A Installing a new SSD

You are best to look to your system owner’s manual for instructions on the adding and removal of parts, these can be found here by selecting your model number or inputting your service tag and selecting manuals to the top left:

http://www.dell.com/support/home/product-support?c=us&l=en&s=bsd&~ck=mn

If you are upgrading from a 32-64 GB mSATA Cache SSD to a >120 GB mSATA Cache SSD you will need to change the SATA operation to AHCI in the UEFI BIOS before continuing.

B Cleaning the SSD and HDD

The next stage is to clean the SSD and HDD removing any old partitions so you don’t later encounter an unwanted dual boot. There are a number of different ways to do this depending how through you want to be and they are discussed in detail in:

C Installation of Windows on the SSD

Its important that the only the drive that you want to install Windows on is attached to the system otherwise Dell Backup and Recovery will automatically select your largest HDD and bypass your SSD.

  • For a laptop leave the mSATA SSD attached and remove the 2.5 ” HDD
  • For a desktop leave the mSATA SSD/2.5″ SSD attached and remove the SATA and power cables from the 3.5″ HDDs

Follow the steps in 4. Restoring from Recovery Media – A Single Drive.

D Assigning User Files to the HDD

Power down your computer and reattach any disconnected drives.

Follow the instructions in Solid State Drive and Hard Drive Configurations to initialise the HDD and to reassign the user libraries and create junctions so programs don’t save in the original library locations.

6. Restoring to the Factory Settings from the Internal Recovery Partition

You should again uninstall any old version of Dell Backup and Recovery and upgrade to the latest version (as you are at factory settings and have the factory shipped version). See 2. Uninstalling old versions of Dell Backup and Recovery and Installing the Latest Version

To initiate the restore to factory settings, right click the start button and left click Shutdown or Sign Out. Highlight Restart with the Mouse and hold down the [shift] key. Continue holding down [Shift] and left click Restart.

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Keep holding [Shift] down. You should see this screen:

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When you get to this screen you can release [Shift]. Left click select Troubleshoot:

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Select Dell Backup and Recovery:

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You will see the Dell logo and Dell Backup and Recovery will load (from the internal recovery partition):

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If you select “next” it will try and repair the Windows installation present on the drive and then boot from it. I don’t want to use this in this case as I want to Factory Refresh so I will select Advanced Options.

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As you are booting from the internal recovery partition there is no option to “factory reset” only “factory refresh”. This is where the data on the Windows partition gets refreshed to factory defaults and the remaining partitions are left intact.

Select Next:

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Dell Backup and Recovery will now look for files to backup:

vlcsnap-2015-04-05-06h31m23s200 In my case I am going to skip the data backup as I want “Factory Settings”:

vlcsnap-2015-04-05-06h31m57s21 I will be warned that I will lose data so I will select ok:

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Dell Backup and Recovery will take some time to prepare the hard drive, restore the system and finalise:

vlcsnap-2015-04-04-17h50m18s247 vlcsnap-2015-04-04-17h50m56s113 vlcsnap-2015-04-04-17h51m08s233 When its done you will be prompted for a restart.

Before restarting remove the USB Flash Drive or USB External Hard Drive. In my tests clicking restart with them plugged in made the UEFI BIOS default to them as they were the last select boot device.

Select restart.

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Note at this stage you may hold down the power button to shut down the system if you want to give this system away and have it so that its setup at factory settings without any of your personal information.

You will then be prompted for your language and region, amend to your preferences and select next. I will select “proper” English in this example.

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Accept the Dell OEM Windows 8.1 License agreement:
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You will be prompted to make a new computer name (the old computer name and old user accounts will have been wiped out):

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You can then select express settings (red) or customise (green) to suit your preferences.

reset11

If you select customise:

Customise0

You will be presented with the next 4 screens:

Customise1 Customise2 Customise3 customise4

One thing to notice about Windows 8.1 when changing the settings is that it is very touch screen optimised, you can move the sliders along with your finger if using a touchscreen, otherwise just click them with the mouse.

There are 3 login scenarios:

  • Online – Microsoft Account which is the default setting (purple)
  • Offline – Local Account which is the only option but it can be converted to a Microsoft Account login when connected (red)
  • Online – Local Account you need to customise the settings to get to log in with a local account as Microsoft would prefer you to use their additional services (pink)

Online – Microsoft Account

If you are online you will then be prompted to enter your email address and sign in with a Microsoft Account. The Microsoft Account is recommended for easier use with Outlook, OneDrive, the Windows Store and to sync your Windows settings across devices:

account1

account2

Enter your email address and select next, it will then search for a Microsoft Account (if you use a Microsoft email or XBOX live it will be one). If you don’t have a Microsoft account you can sign up for one.

If you sign in with a Microsoft Account, additional security measures are usually put in place such as validation of your phone number associated with your Microsoft Account. Windows 8.1 only lets you log in when the validation checks are complete.

Usually the checks are done with a mobile phone. You are prompted to enter the last 4 digits of your phone number:

ma1

A text is sent to you and you need to input it:

ma2

Once you have input the correct code select next.

Offline – Local Account

Alternatively if you are offline you will only be given the option to sign in with a local account.

reset13

Your settings will finalise and then any default Apps will be installed.

Offline – Local Account

To sign in without a Microsoft Account, select create a new account:

withoutma

At the bottom select sign in without a Microsoft Account:

withoutma2

Create a new username and password:

withoutma3

Your settings will finalise and your Windows 8.1 Apps will be installed.

reset14

You should now be logged into Windows 8.1.

8-24

The system should automatically activate when you are online.

You should again uninstall any old version of Dell Backup and Recovery and upgrade to the latest version (as you are at factory settings and have the factory shipped version). See 2. Uninstalling old versions of Dell Backup and Recovery and Installing the Latest Version

43 thoughts on “Dell Backup and Recovery 1.9.2.8 – Windows 8.1/7

  1. Excellent instructions. Worked great when installing a Samsung Pro 256 SSD as the boot drive on a newly purchased XPS8700. Used the USB approach. Can’t thank you enough.

      1. Hi Philip I encountered some problems while following your guide to do a fresh install on a ssd. I used dell back up and restore to create a recovery media with a external usb hard drive. After I removed the original hdd and installed the ssd and proceed to restore using the external hdd I received multiple error messages. If I booted up from the external hdd using secure boot I would receive the following error message:

        *file:\windows\system32\boot\winload.efi
        *Status 0xc0000428
        *Info: The digital signature for this file couldn’t be verified

        If I disabled secure boot, this message would disappear but the boot sequence would lock at the starting windows screen. If I enabled legacy boot I could get round these problems but I would receive the following error message:

        *Win launcher.exe – application error

        *The exception unknown software exception (0x000000d) occurred in the application at location 0x80082ea5

        My computer is 15SE 7520. I have dual boot installed (Win 8.1 & win 7). Why can’t we have physical media for recovery and installation like the old days, is it just save a few quids? This is a total and utter pita!

      2. Dell Backup and Recovery will not work with advanced configurations like a dual boot.

        I agree with your sentiments about installation media, trust me i have been highly against Microsoft’s forced media reduction policy.

        As things currently stand Microsoft have removed the Windows 7 Digital River .isos and replaced them with a non-functional Microsoft Software Recovery Tool.

        For Windows 8.1 (also working with Windows 8) however they have the Microsoft Software Recovery Tool.

        P.S. Windows 7 does not support SecureBoot.

  2. I think there is something i need to clarify. Although my current system is running dual boot, I wasn’t trying to recover to a dual boot environment. I wanted to have a fresh install of the win 8.1 in the new ssd. I can’t see why the dell recovery tool is having problems with this. In theory what the tool does is just to transfer the 12GB recovery partition to the external HDD and no other data such as no. of partitions or boot record are included in the recovery media. Strangely enough the usb HDD was able to boot up to the dell recovery environment if the original HDD was installed but it was only working under legacy boot, secure off. Do you think that if I removed the win 7 dual boot, the problem would go away? Another thing to note is I have a separate partition for all my personal data, could this be a contributing factor to the problem?

    1. If you have repartitioned the drive (in particular before creating the recovery media) you are likely to have issues…

      As mentioned Windows 7 does not support SecureBoot so if you are trying to use Windows 7 then having SecureBoot on will cause an issue. For an advanced configuration use the Windows Media Creation Tool and install Windows 8.1 manually.

  3. I uninstalled the older version today over an hour ago per your instructions, downloaded the new version and installed and restarted both times. Ran the software and I got to step 3 and put my 16 GB usb drive in and it hung for over an hour and never got the continue button to push. Both were grayed out so I could not complete. It did recognize the drive like in your instruction but, that is as far as I got. I had an earlier version one down from this version already on the usb and it was not working when I tried this, tried three times still didn’t work so I re-formatted the usb drive and tried again, still stuck at the same spot. Please help now I no backup. Do I need to install the version that I had again just to have a backup copy on hand or remove the newest version and install the newest version again.

  4. A bit different. I have a new XPS8700 with Win 8.1. After, for an unexplained reason, Backup and Recovery required me to do just that, recover to the original system software, which it did without other than talking a long time, Backup and Recovery itself started failing. Failing in that it would start, but before long it would display in a pop-up “Backup and Recovery has encountered and error and needs to close”. Now while I could see the ‘busy’ clock running in the original screen and even that when it finished and was waiting for user input, I could only get to the error screen and if I clicked on ‘ok’, it terminated the program.

    Now comes the frustration with DELL. After uninstalling and reinstalling Backup and Recovery at least three times myself, their ‘Help Desk”(?) could only suggest the same thing. So I made a pain of myself, got to a supervisor, demanded a techie rather that a ‘fix by numbers’ help desk. When I finally got to one, he got on remotely, saw the error and started to work.

    Short version of the answer was that the installed version of Backup and Recovery was attempting to go to address 0x000000000….. at which point the error was generated. The techie looked for another version of the software and eventually actually installed the Windows SEVEN version. It worked.

  5. I have a 13-7347 and for the original hdd the partition scheme factory settings only has four partitions. 1gb healthy (recovery partition), 500mb healthy (EFI), OS (C) 456gb ntfs, and 8.10gb healthy. No, 750mb recovery is that a problem? Because when I f12 to boot the external hard drive here the recovery media is located does not appear.

    1. Ade it doesn’t seem right… however at this stage it doesn’t matter too much. The Recovery partition is obsolete as Windows 10 is out. Ensure you upgrade the BIOS, touchpad and sensors firmware before taking the upgrade:
      http://downloads.dell.com/FOLDER02790826M/1/7347A04.exe
      http://downloads.dell.com/FOLDER02731732M/1/SensorHub_Firmware_Dell%20_A01_WIN8.14.zip
      http://downloads.dell.com/FOLDER02731711M/1/Touchpad%20_Firmware_Synaptics_A01_WIN8.14.zip

      If you want working Windows 8.1 Installation Media just in case, see here before upgrading:
      http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-microsoft-windows-and-office/download-microsoft-windows/download-windows-8-1-retail-and-oem-iso/

      Then take the free upgrade to Windows 10, this machine runs really nicely on Windows 10:
      http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/a-clean-install-of-windows/a-clean-install-of-windows-10/upgrading-to-windows-10/

      Then make a Windows 10 Recovery Drive:
      http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/windows-10-rtm/creating-a-recovery-drive-and-using-it-in-windows-10/

      1. dear Philip,
        I am assuming you will remember me because of my many questions.
        if so, do you recommend I too do the above (upgrade my bios, if needed; touchpad and sensors?

        I am worried because… because of my last clean install (maybe because I did it from a dvd), my windows doesn’t seem to recognise the uefi or secure boot – it seems to be running using mbr set up.

  6. Okay, great. Thank you for the quick response. Your guide and accompanying YT videos are greatly appreciated. Well written and presented. Excellent work!

  7. I did manage to get mine updated. Step three was grayed out so I just clicked it and I got the continue button to click. Mine is all updated now.

    I installed windows 10 last night but, it run slow and windows opens slow too. It does not start up as fast as my 8.1 did. Not sure why doc, control panel and so on open slow. I updated things prior to install that I needed. I did not see anything for the touchpad or the ones mentioned above prior to installing. BIOS was updated.

  8. dear Philip,
    I have windows 8 preinstalled , now i have upgraded it to windows 8.1. How to replace recovery partition to windows 8.1 instead of windows 8 as i have upgraded to it. Because every time i reset/refresh my pc it gets back to windows 8 also it only recovers from recovery partition. I have tried recovery from usb but it still recover from HDD partition only not from usb. kindly reply.

    1. The Free Version of Dell Backup and Recovery only lets you restore to the factory image, or if you have performed a clean installation allows you to make a new “factory image” of your current install.

      To make a new image of a system upgraded from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 you would need to pay for the Premium version.

      Now however Windows 10 is out so there is little sense in having a Windows 8 or even 8.1 factory image. You should make Windows 8.1 with Update 1 Installation Media (of the correct Edition) and then update your UEFI BIOS and prepare for the Windows 10 Upgrade:

      http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-microsoft-windows-and-office/download-microsoft-windows/download-windows-8-1-retail-and-oem-iso/

      http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/updating-the-bios/

      http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/upgrading-to-windows-10/

      For best results make Windows 10 Installation media (of the correct edition) and then Clean Reinstall, see here Step 4:

      http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/a-clean-install-of-windows-10/

      1. Hi Philip,
        Thanks for the clear illustration. I just bought a new Dell XPS8700 (9/9/15) from Costco. I picked the Win 8.1 box for learning the upgrade process so that I will be better prepared for upgrading my other Win 7 laptop. If the upgrade is really unacceptable, I’ll just return it to Costco and get a Win10 box. The mfg. date is 20150526 – very recent. I am at the boarder line with the Dell Backup and Recovery 1.9.0.22 for the Windows 10 upgrade in creating a USB recovery flash drive. (same as your instruction in “3. The Creation of Bootable Recovery Media”). It tried to up-sell the “mandatory” cloud service while avoided helping the first-time users. I learned how important to be prepared for a clean system since Win 3.x days. Here is what I observed after digging in:

        After upgrading, the Disk Management shows that Disk 1 contains 6 partitions – EFI System Partition, 2 x OEM Partitions (40 MB & 750 MB), OS C: partition, 450 MB unnamed partition and the PBR Image partition. The firmware for booting is UEFI. I tried to shrink the C: partition to add a D: drive for data, but “shrink” only allowed to reduce about 1/2. So I did a disk clean up on the virtually new system with no user data, and still failed to reduce. I then installed EaseUS Partition Master Free Edition (a great tool), which allowed me to shrink C: drive to about 200 GB and added a D: drive of 750 GB. Further, I can see what’s inside each partition. The log file in PBR Image partition shows the “preload” date (5/28/2015) and the recovery USB flash creation date (9/9/2015). So, accidental “reset” will bring back the old Win 8.1. I must stop that possibility. Here are my questions:

        1.) Can I get the Win10 PBR Image and replace it with the one in the PBR Image partition?
        2.) If not, can I simply delete the PBR Image partition (to avoid accident)?
        3.) the 450 MB unnamed partition stores “WindowsRE”, should I keep it? I can move it using EaseUS.
        4.) When I do a fresh install, what should I do for reformatting the hard disk or partitions? I am concerned about these partitions before the OS C: partition. If formatting wipes them out, the UEFI firmware cannot boot the system.

        I think your answers would help many other users greatly. You certainly put in a great of clarity in this upgrade instruction. Hope every one can benefit more.

        PS. I bought another brand and returned it after inexcusable bugs in setting the PC to the “sleep” mode. It could not wake up the monitor screen which forced me to power down that PC.

        Thanks a lot!

      2. Ken I haven’t done much testing with Dell Backup and Recovery for Windows 10…

        Since the recovery partition should only revert your system to factory settings i.e. Windows 8.1 it is of limited use…

        Once the system has became a Windows 10 Device (after the initial upgrade) it is better to Clean Reinstall Windows 10 using proper Windows 10 Installation Media:
        http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-windows-10-oem-and-retail-iso/
        http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/a-clean-install-of-windows-10/windows-10-clean-reinstallation-via-bootable-usb-from-iso/

        I have yet to try installation of Dell Backup and Recovery on a Clean Windows 10 Installation (which should likely create a new Windows 10 Recovery Partition)… I’m also not sure how the installation of Windows 10 TH2 will influence Dell Backup and Recovery (this also changes system partitions).

  9. Thanks for prompt reply. I earlier already installed rather upgraded windows 10 by upgrading normally from your Initial upgrade to Windows 10 guide but system was too slow and sluggish so i decided to clean reinstall windows 10 as you have mentioned from your win 10 recovery guide but it makes recovery drive from my recovery partition only not from actual windows 10 ,also as you have mentioned usb recovery size was 3-4 gb , mine was 11-12 gb but i din’t pay attention to size at that time so it accidentally refreshed my laptop to original win 8 condition. Now i have again upgraded to windows 8.1.

    Now i am beginning to upgrade to windows 10 again then i will follow your recovery for clean reinstallation guide but my question is how to solve windows 10 recovery issue that it makes recovery drive from partition only not from actual windows 10 files ? ,i din’t understand how to resolve this. kindly reply, really appreciate this.

    Also want to ask you this i have simply copied data from $Windows.~WS folder when it downloaded win 10 files for media creation tool when i upgraded to win 10 initially, will it work or i have to redownload windows 10 entirely again?

    1. I’d advise downloading the Windows 10 .iso file (of the correct edition) and making a GPT USB for UEFI BIOS. This will give you proper Windows 10 Installation media.

  10. i downloaded iso file of win 10 single language as i have win 8.1 single language with media creation tool so that in future i don’t have to download 3.5 GB for 3rd time and will use rufus to install win 10 and then i will follow your win 10 reinstallation guide to clean install of win 10. Will let you know if i have win 10 usb recovery problem like last time .

    Also want to ask you dell system info shows i have win 8 (64 bit) service pack 0 although i have upgraded to win 8.1(status:activated with sr no), Did i do something wrong or it’s error with dell?

    should i use win 10 iso downloaded from media creation tool to upgrade and clean together from win 8.1 or should i upgrade to win 10 and then clean reinstall ?, as i have earlier upgraded and i checked for win 10 activation and it was activated.

    Note:I have ubuntu 15.04 dual boot (uefi with secure boot on )with win 8.1, should it create any problem for clean reinstallation as normal upgrading to win 10 last time din’t have any problem on it.

    Thank you.

  11. Hi.I have enjoyed from your lessons and instructions.I have an unresolving problem:Dell Vostro with SSD 512 Gb and W 8.1 pro with Media Center: UEFI BIOS an GPT partition. I installed the newest soft og “Dell backup and recovery” (1.8.1.71 – aug 2015).
    My problem:I am trying to create “Bootable Recovery Media” to external HDD (500 Gb), when I reach the step “Select Yes when warned about the operation to make the Bootable External Hard Drive (formerly called Rescue Disk):” It’s start the process of initialling disk and after a few seconds I get an error “An error ocured while creating the factory Recovery Media”

      1. Western Digital WDBUZG5000ABK 500GB: NTFS file system.
        I also tried to use USB flash drives – i get same error.

      2. I assuming you got Media Centre by using Get Features with a New Edition of Windows? Can you recall what Edition of Windows 8.1 your system came preinstalled with?

    1. The Media Centre Edition was Retail Upgrade only and Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Centre shouldn’t of been preinstalled on any Dell systems.