How can I obtain (or create) Dell System Recovery CDs?

I often need to restore a PC to its original state.  When the customer does not have the Recovery CD this can become quite a hassle!  And often it is not worth the time I have to put into it to get the job done.

Is there an easy way to obtain copies of (for example) Dell's Recover CDs?  I found a place on Dells site where each customer can order one backup set.  I'm wondering if I can do this and have it sent to my address??

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younghvConnect With a Mentor Commented:
A few years ago, I played around with the "Slip-Stream" process.
One of the guys who worked for me really fine-tuned it and we could re-load (almost) every computer in our inventory from one OS CD + one Driver CD (or all on one DVD).

There are several posts here on EE about slip-streaming if you want to do a search.

"Re-loading" an OS on a computer that has a valid license is not illegal and I don't think there is any concern about what kind of media you use to do it.
Read the instruction in Dell's site:

Note that it also depends what system you have. If this is not applicable for you please specify what system you have.
This is just a cut & paste from my other post:

I have a collection of "Restore CD's" for a variety of manufacturers purchased on eBay. They are very cheap (US$5-10) because they are no good without a valid Product ID.

This saves the grief of MOST OF the driver problems.

I also have generic Windows OS CD's and just download any needed drivers with another computer.

Either method requires a valid Product ID, but I don't work on any systems that aren't properly licensed.
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cwilliambrownAuthor Commented:
KARAMPELAS: that could certainly be helpful in situations where I can boot the PC.  I should have mentioned it in my question that I was referring to PC's that were not bootable.  Say the drive was toast and I have to buy a new drive and start from scratch.  I'll see if I can edit the question.

YOUNGVY: I've started my collection of recovery CDs but there are so many out there.  I'm guessing I should have a generic copy of all the various flavors of Windows on hand, for the times I cant wait 4-5 days for a purchased CD to be delivered.  I would hopefully be able to obtain the product id from the owner.  If not, I wouldn't take the job.

Anyone else??  Is having all the MS OS versions on hand and downloading the drivers, etc the best way to go when you need to recover a machine the same day?
The critical drivers to have will be for the various NIC/Wireless devices - plus have the most recent SP for the various flavors of Windows.

If you had to load a generic, at least that would get you connected (NIC) plus a big timesaver on downloading/installing the SP.
cwilliambrownAuthor Commented:
younghv:  Is it possible to extract the various flavors of Windows from Recovery CD's and make your own generic OS CDs?  As, I'm sure you know, you cant just use any recovery cd on any PC, they have to match up.  I'd love to be able to extract the various OS's and make my own.

I don't feel like I would be doing anything illegal because they would only be used to install the OS on a machine that has already licensed the software.  The licensing fee would have already been paid for by the customer when they bought their PC.  I would only install the same version the customer had previouslly purchased and If the customer does not have a valid key, then I wouldn't even take the job.  

Does this make sense? I just dont want to have to go out and purchase a copy of every version of Windows when all of my clients have already paid this fee.
cwilliambrownAuthor Commented:
Exactly as I thought.  So, I'm just trying to find a way to get copies to do this with when the customer does not have their original.  I've heard of slipstreaming, so maybe I will look into that.  

Thanks for your advice.  I'll leave this question open another day in case anyone else wants to add something.  Otherwise I'll close it and award the points.  Thanks again!
Using a 'slipped' CD, the entire loading process for the OS was about 8-9 minutes (including all SP's and Patches).

We had about 40 different flavors of computers (out of 2,500+), with an even greater variety of processors, RAM, and misc hardware. It worked on everything except Gateway and Toshiba.
cwilliambrownAuthor Commented:
It seems that having the various flavors of Windows on hand and at least the NIC drivers is the way to go when you don't have access to a restore CD.  I'm going to play around with the slipstream process and see what I can come up with.  I'm going to give the points to YoungHV.  Thanks for the info!
cwilliambrownAuthor Commented:
I'd love to know how to pull the OS only off a recovery CD.  I don't think I should have to go out and buy a copy of every version of Windoes when my customers will have already done so.  But I think that's a separate question, so I'm closing this one out.  Thanks for your help!
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