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How do you reset a dell inspiron 531 to it's factory default

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Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 1
      13th November 2011, 01:00 AM
Hello, I have a Dell inspiron 531 with windows vista home premium preinstalled, and don’t know enough about computers to tell how much of that information could be safely skimmed and how much was vital to determining the make, model, and operating system. I do not have any of the disks for windows vista, which is a semi-moot point as the disk drive itself is physically broken and incapable of opening to put a disk in. I have USB devices, I have five other computers in varying stages of wear and tear, and the installization disks for Windows XP that came with an older computer.

The Dell inspiron 531 in question has had so many virus attacks and registry errors adding little quirks that seem to have built up over the years, and only now brought it down to a point where I can’t fix it one piece at a time. The start button is bugged to not show and of the programs (even though I can still access them via other means) the backup and restore feature can’t run until a successful disk check is completed, the disk check gets a “Cannot open volume for direct access” error indicating some program or service is operating before the disk check at startup, the CPU usage randomly spikes to 100% and locks up due to what is most likely an svchost.exe virus … then just last night a mandatory update from windows came in, bugged at 8 out of 12, and ever since neither word document nor internet explorer will run at all. Both were “updated” …

Rather than ask for help on each of these individual problems, I’d rather just wipe the slate clean and restore the computer to it’s factory default through whatever means it’s supposed to be with this system. It should be press F8 or F11, or CTRL+F11 and then select something along the lines of “Repair your computer” in the advanced boot options to open a list of things after picking a language.

It’s there … for most of the time I’ve had this computer, pressing “Repair your computer” made it go to a black loading screen for an hour (while showing it’s progress) then boot up normally. For the longest time I‘ve thought that was what it was supposed to do. Now? Instead of loading or seeming to repair anything, it starts to boot up exactly the same as if I’d picked “Start your computer normally” up until it comes to the part where it’s password protected … and doesn’t have a user to access. Neither my normal user and password nor “Administrator” and my usual password work, so I can only assume that it’s either bugged or that I’m supposed to find some ‘special’ password and username for resetting to the factory default that I haven’t heard anything from on random google searches.

If anyone has any solution for how to reset this computer or what the heck I’m doing wrong myself, please speak up. Do keep in mind that I can’t afford to pay for a solution, as I am saving up to replace this computer entirely but still need a relatively high functioning one until I have enough cash to do so. All of my irriplacable files and programs are already safe on a different computer, and anything else I beleive I can redownload after the reset.
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Northern Virginia, USA
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      14th November 2011, 05:33 PM
The "Repair your computer" only provides the capabilities to repair missing or damaged files. It is not a reinstall or a restoration.

The Dell should provide some key combination that will invoke the full restore capability. This is typically F11 on some PCs -- but it might be different on your Dell.

Be advised though, if that works, it will erase the contents of your drive and restore it to it's original state -- removing all your files, settings, and apps, and you will have to do Windows Updates all over again.
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1
      6th March 2012, 09:41 PM
Arbon - I have the exact problem as you. Did you ever figure out what user id/password to use?
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