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Windows 7: Windows 7 Restore after installing XP on dell inspiron n5110

28 Aug 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Windows 7 Restore after installing XP on dell inspiron n5110

Hi everyone,

I ordered a dell inspiron n5110 a week back, which came pre-installed with windows 7 home premium 64bit and other dell softwares, however my packaging only contained a driver dvd, no other recovery media.

Like many other unlucky fellows I tried to install Windows XP sp2 on the machine by deleting the partition on which windows 7 was installed, (But I did not touch the Recovery and dellutility partitions) only to figure out that the drivers included in the dvd do not support XP. Now I tried to restore the system back to Windows7 via F8 route, but no repair option appeared. I am feeling utterly helpless now. I am including some of the details that may be helpful for you to guide me.

My system now has WINDOWS folder under label D. The 100mb dellutility fat16 partition is still hidden. The recovery partition (NTFS, around 10gb, which was invisible earlier) is labelled C. It cannot be opened by double clicking, but when I right click and explore, and enable hidden and system folder view, it shows the following files and directories.

Folders under Recovery or C:
Boot (includes BCD, BCDlog1, BCDlog2 , bootstat, memtest etc.)
Dell (Includes Image folder having the 6.5gb factory.wim file inside)
Imaging (includes imagex, facimg, wimgapi.dll, wimscript.ini and a couple of other dll files)
Preload(includes 6.5gb base.wim, base.dat, all.crc, csp.dat, desc)
Recovery(includes a system32 folder having an xml file, a WindowsRE folder containing boot.sdi and a 300 mb winre.wim)
WISLOGS(compressed folder)

Files under C:


I have an 8gb pendrive, any luck by making it bootable and copying some of the files above?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Aug 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

Welcome to Windows Seven Forums.

It's water under the bridge, but the first thing you should have done is create a set of recovery discs.

The first thing I'd do is contact Dell Support and explain you were unable to create your recovery disks, and that you can't get into your system, but don't let on you installed XP as that will invalidate your warranty.

With a bit of luck, they'll send you a set of recovery discs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Aug 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

I've already done that,I mean contacting dell for a cd, but having the wim and sdi files, is there any way?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

28 Aug 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


information   Information
We always assume you have made your Recovery Disks using the OEM manufacturer's app the first day you had your new PC.
& made the Startup Repair CD.

How to use Dell Recovery Partition,make Recovery Disks & how to order Recovery Disks.
Dell - Support
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Aug 2011   #5
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello anuragwap, welcome to Seven Forums!

There is another option but being so new a PC it would probably be best to wait on the disk set from Dell or try the recovery partition theog listed; have a look through the tutorial linked below for some ideas and be sure to post back with any further questions you may have and to keep us informed.

Clean Install : Factory COA Activation Key

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Aug 2011   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

After searhing the net for several hours, I am trying the following,

I'v downloaded and burnt an iso image(136mb) of WinPE boot disk (uploaded by helpful people on file hosting sites so that one doesn't have to download 1gb WAIK and build a PE environment)
Now I've booted from the CD & it is currently formatting D drive as I am posting it. Hoping to apply imagex /apply C:\dell\Image\factory.wim 1 d: after that.

I'll keep you posted about my progress.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2011   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit


I did it at last, as I am posting this from the restored laptop at 2:55am at night.
I admit that nobody should commit the mistake I did, but here's what I did after a lot of trial and error.
(This method will work only for cases in which recovery partition is intact.
The steps may be inaccurate as they are not tested, but reproduced from memory)

1.Burn the PE iso file in a cd.

2.Boot from CD.

3.hit enter if X:\windows\system32 does not appear.

4.Now type diskpart

5.list disk disk 0

7.list part

8.Now I identified two important partitions namely dellutility and recovery partitions.
At this point I selected all other partitions and deleted them, e.g. if partition 3 is not one
of the above two important partitions, then type select partition 3 and then type
delete partition Repeat this procedure for any other un-important partition.

9. create partition primary

10. list vol

11. Now identify the volume corresponding to the new primary partition (I did it from its large size)
Suppose it is volume 3. Then type select volume 3.

12. format fs=ntfs quick

13. At this point the newly created volume may not have a drive letter assigned to it. So type exit twice in the command prompt. Then start the machine again and boot from cd.

14.Running the diskpart and list vol command again, figure out the drive letter of recovery and the new volume. Suppose they are C and E repectively.

15. Type C: imaging

17.imagex /apply c:\dell\image\factory.wim 1 e:

18. Also at this point, make e: as active partition and make all other partitions inactive.
by using select partition no. and active/inactive command.

19. When this is done, I typed exit twice and restarted the PC. But now it won't start
and wants for a bcd file inside boot. I have noticed earlier that I had a bcd file inside
the boot folder of the recovery partition, so I copied that to the new volume's boot
folder by using xcopy /h sourcepath/bcd destinationpath.

20. I performed another restart and everything worked like the the day it shipped!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Mar 2012   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Hi Anurag,
I'm facing a problem on the same model you have. My winre.wim has become 0 size, so i cannot access the repair your computer option in the Win7 F8 advanced boot options menu. Can you please help me by sending winre.wim from your recovery partition ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Mar 2012   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Hi Sanjay,

As far as I can recall, these wim files are huge(near 14gb), so sending them is impossible, moreover, the wim file for mine may not work for you if your hard drive specifications are slightly different.

I think emailing Dell requesting recovery CDs is the best option, I received mine within 4-5 days. (But I'd already figured it out a day before by trying above, which I don't recommend, I was up for 2 nights fiddling with the command line, it was a nightmare!) Don't forget to mention the exact name of your Win7 (i.e. 32/64 bit, Home/Professional/Premium)

Once you get it, you'll be able to install Windows 7 manually and then install drivers from the driver CD (that you already should have) Otherwise, bring your laptop to a dell customer care center.


1. In future, DON'T format C drive, if you think your C drive is too large, you can always go to disk manager and shrink it (a cool feature of Win7), then format the free space to create new drives D,E,F etc.

2. I now use Clonezilla live CD to create/restore an image of my C drive to/from some other drive.
Once I've installed fresh Win7 with drivers, I get rid of the unnecessary software that Dell and MS provides, and install my favorite software, customize Win7 to my taste, and defrag the C drive.

This is a perfect system, its now time to take an image of C drive via Clonezilla live CD on D. After I capture the image, I make sure that folder is hidden so that I can't accidentally delete it. Now I can overwrite my C drive anytime later with the image created via booting from Clonezilla live CD.

I've done this 10-15 times and I don't even need any antivirus this way. (Disclaimer: I don't visit porn sites)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Mar 2012   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Regarding winre.wim, i think there is some confusion.
1) I'm referring to winre.wim which is normally 200MB or so (dropbox possible for you? )
2) I think you are referring to Factory.wim which are 5+ GB in size.
3) Moreover factory.wim is a factory image of the hard drive, so you're right, it'll be different for models with different hard disc size.
4) The ideal instructions to get winre.wim involve WAIK and the windows installer DVD (i've both of them). So i think that winre.wim is practically independent of the system. Dell customizes it so that we can see datasafe recovery options, thats it. Thats why i thought of directly getting the inspiron n5110 customized winre.wim from you. if thats possible.

Also, my Windows installation is working fine so are the factory.wim's in the recovery partition. Its just that the Repair your Computer option in F8 bootup menu is not working.
btw, that file would be at \Recovery\WindowsRE\winre.wim in your recovery partition
Thanks for your help
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows 7 Restore after installing XP on dell inspiron n5110

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