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Dell Inspiron 1501 XP recovery partition

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#1 LouisMoore16



  • Joined: 25-May 08
  • Location: Norwich

Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:28


I've recently been given a Dell Inspiron 1501 and I want to remove all the stuff the previous user had on there. The only problem is that neither I or them have the XP disk...

After a google search I found that this laptop has a Recovery partition Where I can set anything back to like new

I followed tutorials about pressing 'CTRL & F11' and pressing 'F8' to getting to this partition but neither got me there. The furthers I got was just the BIOS set up and the boot thing (forgot what it's called)

Can anyone help me?

NOTE i do have a battery problem where it says 'Warning: the battery cannot be identified. This system will be unable to charge this battery

Press any key to contine

Press <F2> 2 tikes to enter setup
Press <F12> and any key to enter boot menu'

I don't know if this will effect my problem?

#2 Biohead



  • Tech Issues Solved: 1
  • Joined: 20-November 05
  • Location: Heathrow, UK
  • OS: ChromeOS
  • Phone: Nexus 6 / Lumia 625

Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:35

Assuming the hidden partition is still intact, you'll need a way of booting to DOS and running a special dell MBR restore program. There's a lot of information on this page: http://www.goodells....ore/fixes.shtml I managed to get my dads old Inspiron 1400 restored after GoBack wiped out the standard MBR. Read it very carefully though, as it requires a lot of understanding to get it working again without breaking something else.

Obviously if that partition is no longer there, then it's gone for good and you'll have to install Windows the usual way via CD.

#3 TEX4S


    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 06-October 04
  • Location: DFW

Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:42

There are many ways to get an XP install disc - Im assuming you have access to another computer since youre posting this question. You should be able to order 1 from Dell at the very least.

#4 lars77



  • Joined: 18-April 08
  • Location: USA

Posted 05 February 2012 - 17:15

I don't have an Inspiron on me so can't say what the exact key combination is to get into the recovery partition, but it sounds like you already tried that.

Like Biohead mentioned, you may want to make sure that recovery partition is still there on the hard drive. (it's possible someone may have reformatted the entire drive at some point) Usually I'd just boot up a Gparted live CD & see if all the partitions are there. The built-in Windows Disk Management might work too, though I'm not sure if it always shows hidden partitions.

There are a few ways to get a recovery partition to boot up.. in a pinch you may be able to use GParted to set the recovery partition as the "active" boot partition so when the system boots up it'll just boot into it directly. You should try other options first, that maybe be more of a last resort ;) (I've done this on Lenovo laptops when they refused to boot into the recovery partition)

It's way easier to just re-install Windows XP. If you can find an generic XP Pro/Home OEM disc you will be able to re-install using the XP key from the sticker on the laptop. Windows will need to be activated but that won't be a problem, it'll definitely activate.

Or even better, just about any OEM XP disc from Dell would re-install Win XP on the laptop without any hassles. Just make sure you get the right XP disc (Home vs Pro).