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Reset WindowsXP to Factory Settings (w/o disk), Erase/Undo Everything


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#1
reubix

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I recently inherited a desktop PC. Lots of things are jacked up on the OS. System Restore has been used a lot. There are duplicate folders all over the place. You get about 8 different warnings about things that aren't working at startup. Some of the menu bars don't even have any words on them. It's time to start from scratch...
But...
I didn't get a disk with it, and I don't want to buy one or use a pirated version. The software is legit; I just want to reset to factory settings and start fresh. Aside from the OS, there is no software I want to keep, and there are no files I want to keep either.
The machine is a Dell Dimension 3000 desktop PC. It has a sticker that says "Designed for Microsoft Windows XP". It's got Home Edition on it.
Give me a magic trick to make this work :-D

Edited by reubix, 14 December 2012 - 08:46 PM.

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#2
Ztruker

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No magic available, sorry. You have to buy a copy of XP or buy the Recovery Discs. Since Dell doesn't sell them any more you can get them from a place like RestoreDisks.com. They have a XP Home for the Dimension 3000 for $20, no shipping is US Postal (3-7 days).
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#3
reubix

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I don't know how long I spent on this, but I'm tired as [bleep], my eyes are red, my back's all cramped up, and after all that research... homey, you're just flat-out wrong.
I came to this site looking for tech-help. You're a tech and you tell me my problem has no solution.
"No magic available"
"You have to buy..."
There is magic. I don't have to buy anything. This website helped me NADA. If anyone else has the same problem, hopefully I can change that for them...

Anyone with the same computer I have (see above) who wants to do the same thing:

1) Copy ANYTHING you want to save to an external source.
2) Restart your computer.
3) As soon as the big DELL logo comes up, press and hold the CTRL key (about half a second); then without letting go, press and hold the F11 key (another half second); release both keys at the same time
4) Follow the wizard
5) F***ing MAGIC!

This won't work on every Dell or on every computer running XP, but it'll work on the Dimension 3000...

If you're on a different Dell and are wanting to do this, don't ask this tech-head, he'll tell you it can't be done. Go to dell.com and enter your service tag from the sticker on your machine (or download and run their code-finding application); then read the information specific to your machine until your eyes are red and major depression sits in. And good luck to you. I hope you find what you need.

If you're not on a Dell at all, go to the website of your computer's manufacturer, try to find their Support pages, and good luck to you too.

Problem... self-solved!
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#4
Ztruker

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Sorry to have given you bogus information, that was certainly not my intention. You have my apology for what it's worth for that.

I should have suggested the recovery partition as a possibility and I'm very glad you discovered it on your own.

Please don't blame this site for my mistake as we usually give better help than you received.

Peace, and good luck.
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#5
reubix

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Apology accepted.

A quick note for anyone who might do this:
It works perfectly, it re-installs to the original factory image, no problem at all...
Except...
... the factory image is from 2004. It's laughably out of date.

You have to update EVERYTHING on your system. The rest of the world moved on without your dinosaur computer.
Most websites give a message like, "What the [bleep] are you using?? You can't access us with that!"

Good news, all the updates you'll need are free (from microsoft, adobe, java, itunes, et cetera...) It's just a pain in the [bleep] you should be aware of before you commit....
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#6
Ztruker

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Sounds like a great time to do an image backup so if something happens, like a hard drive failure, all you need to do is restore the image and you are up and running with all drivers and updates already installed.
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#7
Troy

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Another point, if at anytime, anyone has ever replaced the hard drive, or formatted the drive, it's possible this may not work. Just a warning if anyone reads this in future and perhaps wonders why the instructions to access the recovery partition don't appear to be working. Either that or possibly if the hard drive is very old and has bad sectors, the recovery may not complete successfully and/or recover to a crashing operating system.

But for what it's worth, give it a shot!
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