Using the Dell Recovery Partition on an Inspiron 1520

when “Repair System” doesn’t show up on the advanced boot options menu

Vista repair

I was asked to put an Inspiron 1520 back to factory condition for resale, and there was a catch: no OS disk was available, and XP had been installed over the original Vista Home Premium, so there was no way to access the Recovery partition.  The good news was that the Recovery partition was there.

Big thanks to Dan Goodell and his instructions at !  By borrowing a Vista install DVD and following his careful instructions, I was able to access the Recovery Partition and expand the system image found there.

For my purposes, I had to add two extra steps:

  1. The imagex step writes all the necessary files to the main partition, but it doesn’t remove any personal data from that partition.  You need to use other utilities to wipe the partition first.
  2. After the rebuild, the machine wouldn’t boot to Vista.  But that just required booting with the Vista DVD again and letting it do a repair.

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