I recently purchased a Dell XPS pre-installed with Windows 8, I then upgraded to 8.1. How do I make sure I have bootable disks or a backup copy of Windows in case there was a system failure since the PC didn't come with a copy of Windows in CD format?
1. A full image backup of your current system. 'Factory condition' will NOT include any of your applications or personal data, wiping out any that might be on the disk. Saving a backup image on a regular basis, even using the Windows built-in backup, will allow you to restore your system (WITH applications and personal data).
2. Order an installation DVD from Dell ... to have ... just in case.
The reinstall/backup disks you make using the Dell software will reinstall your system exactly as it shipped from the factory (complete with drivers and pre-installed apps) and will ONLY work on that system.
The installation/reinstallation disc (DVD) you would order from Dell is a pure/clean Windows disk - the Windows software only (with some Dell branding and auto-activation when used on a qualified Dell system). This does not install drivers or software - only Windows. This is what is needed if a "clean install" of Windows is desired or even needed.
"Also, if I made a full image backup and then the computer didn't go haywire for some reason and didn't even boot up, how would you use that image backup to restore the system?"
You can boot to a Windows DVD (yet another reason to order the installation DVD from Dell to have 'just in case') and select to restore from a saved backup image.
If you have any fault later down the line due to "factory settings" then using the media created by Dell Backup and Recovery or restoring to factory settings will just result in the same issues. Moreover the media created by Dell Backup and Recovery does not always work correctly.
The Reinstallation DVD on the other hand allows for a clean install and is less likely to have issues than factory settings and use it to repair install. I second the recommendation of requesting one just in case you need it. Moreover I would do so now as it may be more difficult to request one when the system warranty expires.
There are many third-party options, but in my opinion, it is unnecessary to use anything besides the built-in Windows Backup, unless there are particular features you need that aren't included in Windows Backup.
(5)Usually, there are two ways to solve this problem
One is with the PC built-in tool, either windows or dell.
Another is with the third-party tool.Such as Ghost and aomei backupper.
A backup software usually support disk backup and system backup.
aomei backupper can create bootable CD or USB Flash Drive