restoring hard drive to factory settings

I have purchased a usb adapter to format / restore a Western Digital disk from my M1710 laptop using my 4550 desktop..

When I originally hooked it up I got a prompt to restore it to factory settings. I chose not to because I wanted to back up some data first.

I thought I was going to format at first but then decided to try this option out first. It has Vista on it and I never had this O.S. before so I thought I would check it out .

Now I can't seem to figure out what I need to do to get this prompt again. I have an option to format disk but not sure about this one although I didn't pursue it either.. I removed it [USB Mass Storage }from the device manager but seems to just bypass that part and goes to "select what action" prompt.. I tried a different hard drive in my desktop but still get the same results.

Anyone got ideas? I will keep snooping around until I get a reply.

If I didn't include enough data I will check back and add if necessary..

Thanks again..

Phil aka nogasrequired
9 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about restoring hard drive factory settings
  1. Hard drive will not get past bios settings.. I get Advanced start up options and then what ever I choose gets the 1/4 second blue screen of death and starts to boot up to A.S.O. again.
    Ran all kinds of tests on it and disk passed all tests ..

    Rather that type a thousand words you and anyone else can read my posts at Dell community forums..
    just search for me and hopefully you can find me??

    I really would appreciate any more advise / options and comments from all and thank all who reply..
  2. A Linux operating system can often mount a disk where Windows cannot and will allow access to your files so you can move them off. It will run as a Live CD without impacting on the hard drive so you download it, burn it to a CD using ImgBurn or similar and it works within minutes, includng going online with no driver issues. My personal favourite for this job is PCLinuxOS from but if you look at your local shops, you may find a CD on a computer magazine cover.
  3. I have successfully pulled the data off of it and formatted it and set active partition. It is ready for an O.S. to be put on it. Trouble is my dvd drive on laptop appears to be malfunctioning..

    won't play any installation disk. I get a ntdnl[or something like that..] is missing error press C / A /D to restart.

    I was hoping to use my Dell 4550 desktop to install but haven't figured out how to configure it to install on the sata drive instead of my C> drive...
    Even with that I get a product key doesn't match error even after I triple checked the unattend.txt #.. on two different disks.

    SOOOOOOOOOOOOO not sure what my next move is... I am bidding on a dvd drive on ebay that if I don't win in 2 days maybe I will just buy one now option for about $20...Or do I just buy new from a town shop for $40..?
    Now I am racking my brain[what's left of it] trying to think of a solution..

    hopefully someone might inspire me somehow..
  4. Best answer
    You only saw the NTLDR message because the setup system could only find the freshly formatted hard disk and not the optical drive with he Vista DVD in. You could use an external DVD drive to install on to the hard disk but be careful what you buy - many externals are only capable of reading CDs.
  5. boosted1g said:
    Ok, you will not be able to install an operating system to an external drive because when windows installs it loads files/drivers specific for your computer's hardware.

    When you put your cd into the laptop drive, does it say anything about booting from cd or does it go straight to ntldr message? If it does then you need to go into bios (or boot menu if your laptop has it) and select the dvd drive as the first boot device.

    If you are getting an error with the product key then you are probably using a retail disk on an oem liscense key or vice versa.

    What OS is it, and where did you get the cd?
  6. Hello Boosted and Saga..

    Thanks for getting back to me..

    I have finally got over my cheapness and bought a dvd drive and hard drive from Ebay.. I bought the rom yesterday and won an auction for a refurbished disk this afternoon.. So I guess I will have to wait a little bit to discover anything else out..

    I have copies of XP Home ed ( X 2), xp service pack 2, 98 and Millenium .
    When I used the xp's in the laptop I got the NTLDR errors.When I used the 98/Me I got a no bootable device error.
    I am also trying to win a couple of new O.S. disks to replace my other ones..
    I never had issues with them formatting several disks in the past but I thought I could expand my collection a little.. I attempted to try to get some cheap Vista full versions inexpensive but that never really happened yet when bidding.. Will keep trying though.. I am working on windows 7 too.. Never saw it in action but the wife has it on her pc at work and she says it is very similar to xp.. Any comments??? I heard many times by many people that Windows 8 really stinks so I won't even bother trying those out unless I can experiment for 10-20 $.

    Anyway as far as the external dvd drive is concerned I probably can't find too many uses for it after I get an OS on this L>T> . As long as this new drive works that should be good enough.. The USB adapter will come in handy many times in the future.. Wish I knew about it earlier.. For all the hard drives I have messed around with.. I could have saved many hours and electric dollars had I had it years ago.. Oh well.....

    I will post again later in the week..whether or not I have issues.

    thanks for the advise and hope all goes well for you guys too.. NGR
  7. I am so sorry I never introduced my Laptop brand.. I have a Dell xps Model 1710.. It started out as almost gone but with a few parts I hope to have it running well.. I did buy a hard drive..exact match on Ebay and it is paid for and being shipped..... Nothing else I can do but cross my fingers...

    I am also trying to win software but those O.S are for using with my desktop collection.. I am not sure about which O.S. i will install in the laptop but I probably won't use it online too much anyway..
    As long as I can boot it up will be good for now land lovers...

    chat later?? Keep it coming !
  8. Finally got my dvd drive from an Ebay purchase. I installed it and popped in a xp reinstallation disk and it worked great ! I got the "Press any key" I did and it fully installed without problems..

    I just can't believe how much trouble I put myself thru by being so stubborn and cheap !

    What I can't understand how the dvd passed all the service tag tests but was still faulty somehow..
    I got that hard drive I was talking about earlier but haven't done anything with it yet..I also got a windows 7 and vista disk too.. not sure which one I want to try and install on it...

    I was hoping to get a windows 8 pretty cheap but I just can't seem to get that for anything less than about $60+..
    I have heard a few rumors about how horrible that O.S. is but I don't feel like experimenting if it will cost me a lot.. Maybe I can hear your opinion on whatever you might know or feel like sharing..

    Well I guess I am done with issues for now.. I am grateful for all the support and I wish you all the best .. Keep in touch if you can.. NGR
  9. If I could buy Windows 8 foor $60 US I'd grab another copy - here in the UK it's way over double that price. Hang on for a month or so to see if the entice folks into buying Windows 8.1 with a special offer. You can make it more user friendly on a PC even though early signs indicate there are still some missing facilities.
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