Dell XPS Laptop: How to boot the recovery partition

To boot the recovery partition on a Vista Dell XPS laptop, you need to press F8 as the laptop boots.

This will bring up the Vista boot menu, from which you can choose Recovery Console (usually the top option). Vista will then boot into a special mode, not unlike Safe Mode, and after logging in, will give you the option to run the Dell Recovery Tool. The recovery process is actually very fast – about 10 minutes in my case.

Unfortunately, this took me ages to find. Usually, laptops tell you how you can run a System Recovery when they boot, e.g. “Press F10 to run Recovery”, but the Dell XPS Vista laptops don’t do this at all. It certainly left me bewildered, until I stumbled upon the solution, via a Google search.

By Phil Wiffen

Phil is an IT Professional working in Cambridge, England. He generally blogs about useful solutions that he comes across in his work/play.

21 replies on “Dell XPS Laptop: How to boot the recovery partition”

Thank you so much! Tried some Google searching and everything else comes up with Ctrl + F11. Would have never thought to look in the F8 menu?


it doesn-t work… When I start in that mode, I go to d: tools / PCrestore.exe
starts the program, but the same message…
Its not logical to format C: when you-re into windows.



As a very advanced power user with a lot of experience I have seen a lot of things.
– enabeling system restore in BIOS
-pressing various combinations of keys
-booting from floppy back in the days…
…but I would never think of going to boot menu just like that.
I was googling for almost an hour now to find this MF.
Thanks for the great post.

the above artical makes no sense what so ever ..all it does is tell you about what is preinstalled with dell computers. No solution here

“ballzdeep” can you clarify please? The XPS uses a different boot recovery method compared to most other Dell laptops, which wasn’t immediately obvious (to me anyway).

thank you so much for this post, i was finally able to fix my dell xps desktop all in one. thank you!

Hi, I have XPS 1330, the OS is not working – its says error and give 04 options to boot up including safe mode, normal mode, safe mode with netowrking, and safe mode with prompt command.
I did press f8, f1o option but non of them worked.
i dont have widows intallation disc either with me, i guess i have lost that.
plz suggest what to do.