How do I access the recovery partition on a Dell XPS M1530 running Windows Vista?

Posted on 2009-02-24
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I had a hundred viruses on a Dell XPS 1530 which came into the shop. I decided to format the drive and reinstall using the Vista Boot menu. I chose "return to factory settings" and the computer began to format the drive for about 1/2 hour. I thought this was taking a bit long so I stopped it. Now I cannot access the Vista Boot Menu anymore by pressing F8. When I do I get a "disk access" error. When I press F12 I cannot reach the menu, only booting from CD or HD or a Diagnosis Menu or Bios Menu. Ctrl + F11 does not work in this system.

Is there a way I can access the Recovery Partition again or did I do some damage that is irreparable? Please answer as soon as possible.

Question by:riyc2comp

    Assisted Solution

    If you have dos operating system them you can boot the computer and you can access the recoevery partition

    Assisted Solution

    Dsrfix Quick-Start
    This section should give you a quick idea how Dsrfix is used. However, be sure to also read the following sections to get a clearer idea of the details and potential pitfalls.

    Dsrfix is a DOS program. It does not work in Windows. It does not work in a XP command-prompt window. It does not work in the Windows PE (preinstallation environment) or RE (recovery environment) -- those are not DOS. You need to boot to real DOS. If you need to, check the section below for ways to boot to DOS.

    Download from (Updated 08-02-2008, version 3.12)

    Extract from the archive.
    (Note to reader: The other files in the archive are supplemental. The only file you need to copy to floppy disk is

    Boot from your DOS boot disk.

    Run the command " DSRFIX ". Review the results to assess whether your system is a good candidate for restoring Dell's DSR feature.

    Optional: save a dumpfile before making any changes. This may be useful if you later need the information for forensic reconstruction.

    If you decide your system is a good candidate for repairing Dell's DSR feature, rerun Dsrfix with the command " DSRFIX  /F ". The program will repeat its summary report, then prompt you to queue any changes to be made. Accept or deny each fix proposed by Dsrfix. After proposals have been queued, confirm whether you want Dsrfix to go ahead and write those changes to your hard disk.

    Rerun Dsrfix again for a new report to check the results.
    If Dsrfix's report shows no fatal errors and no alerts, the Dell-specific restore feature should be functional on your system. You should see a blue "" banner across the top of the screen when the computer starts to boot. Pressing the Ctrl+F11 keys at that moment should divert the boot process to Dell's custom restore utility.
    LVL 7

    Assisted Solution

    I am not sure if will be of any help.  But the link below explains how the Crtl+F11 can break, and how to fix or even access the recovery.
    LVL 23

    Assisted Solution

    by:Alan Henderson
    I hope someone can give you better news.
    If your restoration failed and F8 doesn't give you the boot menu I'd say your restoration partition is corrupt.
    1. You can contact Dell support for a restoration DVD - they'll supply it at nominal cost.
    2. I think you can use any Vista DVD to reinstall Vista, but use the laptop's product key. I haven't done this on a Vista Dell, but I have with an XP machine.
    3. You'd need to download drivers from Dell's website.

    LVL 17

    Assisted Solution

    Been there and done that. You'll need to contact Dell tech Support. They should provide you with an Operating System Restore CD and a Drivers and Applications CD free of charge if the machine is in warranty or for a small charge if the machine is out of warranty.

    Looking on the bright side, when you reload from the CDs, you'll have the full drive available as the recovery partition will be gone.

    LVL 42

    Assisted Solution

    by:Davis McCarn
    Recently, a trojan named VIRUT, VIRUX, or SCRIBBLEA took out tens of thousands of systems.  Once it has struck, in some cases, the partitions themselves are corrupted and the only fix is to delete the partitions, including any recovery partitions, cycle the power, and start from scratch.
    I suspect this is what got you and it would have survived right through the "factory restore", anyway.  Get the DVD's from Dell and all will be good.

    Accepted Solution

    Well I ended up deleting the partition and going from scratch. I lost the recovery but put in Vista, hardware drivers,  and my own antivirus, antispyware, and a Student Office. She was not entirely happy but it worked there was nothing more I could do. Her computer is up and running.

    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    by:Alan Henderson
    @ riyc2comp
    Did you try using the owner's product key for the install with your disk?


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