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This guide instructs how to setup Dell Backup of Recovery on A Clean Installation of Windows 7 or 8.1. Note that the Windows 7 or 8.1 Recovery Partition made in this guide is a pseudo–Factory Recovery Partition. This is a snapshot of your system, at the moment you installed Dell Backup and Recovery and restoring to it will not give you the full Windows setup options that a Dell preinstalled with Windows 7 or 8.1 OEM Partition will will. Anything that says Factory below refers to your pseudo–Factory Recovery Partition.
This guide does not apply to Windows 10 due to the way Windows 10 is Updated. For Windows 10 see my guide on Macrium Reflect. Likewise if using Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 and you do not want a single Recovery Partition on your OS Boot Drive but rather a series of Backups on an External Hard Drive use Macrium Reflect.
This guide does not apply to Upgrade Installs which have Factory Partitions corresponding to older versions of Windows.
- Creating a Dell Backup and Recovery Partition
- Creating a Dell Backup and Recovery USB Flash Drive/External Hard Drive
- Restoring from Dell Backup and Recovery Media
Windows 7 Tutorial Video
The video below is displayed in two formats, natively on WordPress and also on YouTube. Ensure to select HD to the top right or watch on YouTube with the maximum video quality for best results.
Dell Backup and Recovery will only install on a Dell System.
Clean Windows 7 or 8.1 Clean Installation
You must have a Direct Clean Installation of Windows 7 or 10 without any recovery partition. If a recovery partition is present Dell Backup and Recovery will attempt to repair it instead of creating a new Recovery Partition.
For Windows 8.1 you should be signed in with a Local Account on the Clean Install so your Microsoft Account isn’t incorporated into your pseudo Recovery Partition. For more details see here:
Checking your System Partitions
Check your system partitions. [Windows 8.1] Right click the Start Button and select Disk Management.
For Windows 7 left click the start button and select control panel and then select System and Security:
Select Administrative Tools:
Select Computer Management
On a Windows 10 GPT Install (UEFI BIOS) the Disk 0 system partitions should look like this. You should have a 100 MB EFI Partition and a 450 MB Recovery Partition – these are default partitions setup by Windows 10 in an UEFI install and have nothing to do with Dell Backup and Recovery. For Windows 8.1 in UEFI these will be similar but perhaps different partition sizes.
For a Windows 7 GPT Install (UEFI BIOS) the Disk 0 system partitions should look like this. You should have a 100 MB EFI Partition these are default partitions setup by Windows 7 in an UEFI install and have nothing to do with Dell Backup and Recovery.
For a Windows 8.1 MBR Install the Disk 0 system partitions should look like this. You should have a 350 MB NTFS System Reserved Partition and the rest of the drive should be your C: Drive where Windows is installed.
For a Windows 7 MBR Install the Disk 0 system partition should have a 100 MB NTFS System Reserved Partition and the rest of the drive should be your C: Drive where Windows is installed.
Checking your Activation Status
I also recommend checking your Windows 10 is activated. Right click the Start Button and then select System:
Windows should be activated:
Installation of System Drivers and 3rd Party Software
The whole point in installing Dell Backup and Recovery and creating a Recovery Partition is that the Recovery Partition is an image of your Clean Installation which includes all the drivers and programs you have installed. Otherwise you have a Recovery Partition which is useless and has no advantage over generic installation media.
You should install Microsoft Office and 3rd party programs.
Note the more 3rd party programs you install and files you copy over the larger the factory partition….
- Install paid programs which need some form of product activation like Microsoft Office as it will save you the hassles of reactivating them.
- You can avoid installation of an assortment of multiple free programs which update every month or so like VLC Player, Adobe Reader etc. You can get the latest versions of these when your restore to your factory image.
- I also tend to avoid installation of a security suite, it’ll be out of date by the time you restore to the Recovery Partition.
- I advise not setting up OneDrive otherwise the files downloaded offline will be incorporated into your Recovery Partition, This can cause hassles later on, for instance if you reorganise your OneDrive and then a year or so later Factory Reset, all your old files will be re-synced and this might create a mess.
- I also advise against copying over your user files (Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos) to the system until the Recovery Partition is made otherwise they will be incorporated into the Recovery Partition.
To look at the programs you have installed, right click the start button and select Program and Features:
All of these programs you have listed here will be incorporated into your Recovery Partition:
Theres no point in creating a Factory Image unless you have all the necessary system drivers installed. Right click the Start Button and open the Device Manager:
Make sure there are no warnings and that generic drivers aren’t installed for the Display Adapter in particular:
If your Device Manager isn’t without errors see:
Installing Dell Backup and Recovery
The latest installer for Dell Backup and Recovery is available here:
Download it it should be 182,974 KB. Double click it to launch it:
Select yes at the User Account Control:
DBaR will extract and then the install will begin:
Restart your computer when prompted:
When you log in the Dell Backup and Recovery install will continue automatically:
This will take some time depending on the size of your drive and the speed of your hardware. When its ready select Finish:
You should now have a new Windows 10 Recovery Partition. To check right click the Start Button and select Disk Management:
The C: partition has stunk and there is a ~7.82 GB partition in my case using a Windows 10 UEFI install as an example.
Your partitions will differ in size depending on how much 3rd party programs you have installed and depending what version of Windows you had and whether you installed in UEFI or MBR.
Making a Bootable USB Flash Drive or Bootable USB External Hard Drive with Dell Backup and Recovery
Press the Start button and click to the top left to open the Start Menu.
Scroll down to D and left click the Dell folder to expand it. Then left click Dell Backup and Recovery:
Select Yes at the User Account Control:
Dell Backup and Recovery will initialise:
Check the box to allow Dell to collect the Service Tag and then select Ok:
Here you will be given 3 options to make Recovery Media. Never ever select the Recordable Disk as it cannot boot in a UEFI BIOS.
I prefer the Bootable USB Flash Drive but the Bootable USB External Hard Drive also works well. To the top it will tell you how large your Recovery Partition is and how much free space you’ll need in this case 7.41 GB. In general a 16-32 GB USB flash drive is recommended:
When Dell Backup and Recovery finds your device it’ll be listed to the top right. Left click it:
Then select continue at the bottom:
Select yes to format the USB Flash Drive.
Note for an external hard drive you won’t need to format the entire hard drive, it will just change the partition to add a FAT32 bootable partition.
Dell Backup and Recovery will now copy files to the USB Flash Drive:
You can now opt to get Premium Features such as Cloud Data Backup. Personally I prefer an Office 365 subscription with 1 TB OneDrive. Since this is the new “Factory Settings” there is also no use in doing a data backup at this time so I’ll just select Later and then close Dell Backup and Recovery:
Restoring from the USB Flash Drive:
Note for multiple HDDs/SSDs. The Setup does not give any options to select HDD/SSD and will automatically install on the largest drive. This can be problematic if you have a 250 GB SSD and 2 TB HDD with the SSD being the Windows Boot Drive. To overcome this issue, physically disconnect all Drives you don’t want to install Windows on.
Hold F12 while powering up your computer (at the Dell UEFI BIOS screen):
Press [↓] (if necessary) and highlight your USB device or External USB Hard Drive and press [Enter].
You will be given an instruction showing “Loading files…” then the Dell logo and then Dell Backup and Recovery will launch:
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.
I will then select Factory Reset and then select next.
Dell Backup and Recovery will take some time to prepare the hard drive, restore the system and finalise:
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.
After you log in Dell Backup and Recovery will perform some background tasks:
Thats it you have performed your Factory Reset from your custom image/USB Recovery Media.