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Restoring Gateway Desktop to Factory Specs

Last response: in Windows 7
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November 4, 2012 4:49:10 PM

Hello, I need. help. My computer has had sporatic blue screens at the end of windows 7 bootup. The diagnostic tools will not run. Gateway recovery management will run, but when I select the option for a restoration, it says my hard drive is not in the factory default. I'd like to just restore the computer--any ideas on how to reset the hard drive factory default or to get around this error?
a b $ Windows 7
November 4, 2012 5:19:36 PM

more likely than not you are having a hardware issue with your ram, power supply, HDD, or motherboard. If it was a software issue then you would typically get a boot loop where it randomly reboots during startup, or the system would simply hang. Blue screens, and grey screens are hardware related, so I would go that route first and see if you can diagnose things that way.

Most pre-manufactured computers have a restore partition on the HDD that you can access via a shortcut key (like F10 or F12) which will walk you though the restoration process. However, if the HDD itself is the issue (which is a common problem as HDDs have moving parts and are typically the first thing to die in a computer), then you would simply be up a creek. When you purchased your Dell you had the choice to purchase backup DVDs for $20, which you can boot from and use to bring the computer back to factory spec, and when you first turned on your computer you should have been prompted by Windows Vista or 7 to make backup discs for this very reason... but nobody does this.

If the drive is dead (not saying yours is, but it is a possibility), and you do not have restore discs, you can order them from Dell, but they typically start at $40 for current models, and get more expensive the older the computer is. After ~5 years they will no longer have a copy, and then you need to purchase a new computer, or else buy yourself your own disc copy of Windows to replace it with. The other option right now is that Windows 8 just came out and is only $40 for the disc copy at places like Microcenter and Staples, which would get you the latest version, as well as be generally cheaper than other options available. The only trick is that you have to learn win8, which is quite different from previous versions. Not bad... but there is a learning curve to get use to.

To test your system you will want to try a few things to start with:
1) memtestx86+ is a free program that you can burn to a CD, boot from the CD and let it do it's thing for ~2 hours per GB of ram that you have to be sure that things are OK.

2) find a Windows disc, and under the repair options there will be some diagnostic tools such as Disk Check (which will check HDD integrity), and Windows Memory Diagnostic.

3) if the computer passes those gauntlets but still having hardware issues then it is time to break out something like PC Check which will test many aspects of your computer for issues.

4) do a visual inspection to check for anything that looks charred, dirty, or capacitors with blown tops. Even the smallest visual flaw can make a system not work properly.

5) reset your BIOS settings to the default. Sometime BIOS gets confused, and causes issues, and simply needs to get set back to normal for things to work properly.
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November 4, 2012 11:48:37 PM

Thanks for the detailed answer--great advice. I did the BIOS already. I'll also check the hardware. Testing at 1 hr/2GB x 1000 GB (2000 hrs) probably isn't worth the hassle (just get a new computer/hard-drive). The computer does have an slightly unusual sound (like running your car in first gear too high) for about 6 months, so maybe that is the issue.

I was able to get windows to boot in "normal mode" without incurring the blue screen after several attempts. From previous boots, as long as I don't reboot, everything (except some minor color/graphic deficiencies and slow internet on certain websites) everything seems to be fine. This makes me think it could be a software error. If I reboot, it will reboot in SAFE mode consistently without incurring any errors, but if I boot in "normal mode", it will incur the blue screen after the very end of windows being loaded after tray is fully or nearly fully loaded.

The automatic troubleshooting repair tools will also not run. I was able to run dskchk from the command prompt (would not run from windows) and it didn't seem like there were any major issues. I was able to access the recovery screens from the shortcut bootup, but when I went to select the restore to factory defaults, it gave me the hard drive not in factory default error.

It's just frustrating to see the reboot sector on my C-drive with no way to access it. Not sure what the error "hard drive configuration not set to factory default" means. Seems like there would be something to reset it, but no-luck.

I think my best bet is to take your advice and get a reboot disk. The computer is only 2 years old, so they should still have them.
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a b $ Windows 7
November 5, 2012 12:58:11 AM

Check disck is not a good disk checking program so if you try scandisk in dos you can actually find and fix bad sectors on the hard drive.
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November 5, 2012 1:26:54 AM

inzone said:
Check disck is not a good disk checking program so if you try scandisk in dos you can actually find and fix bad sectors on the hard drive.



Response: I'll try that...
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a b $ Windows 7
November 5, 2012 10:05:05 AM

don't test the HDD at 2 hours per GB... that would be nuts. Test the RAM at 2 hours per GB, which is often necessary for some errors to pop up.

@inzone
Agreed, checkdisk is not great, but it is normally a good quick start. If using checkdisk or scandisk and find errors of any kind then it is time for a new drive.
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November 6, 2012 2:41:23 AM

CaedenV said:
don't test the HDD at 2 hours per GB... that would be nuts. Test the RAM at 2 hours per GB, which is often necessary for some errors to pop up.

@inzone
Agreed, checkdisk is not great, but it is normally a good quick start. If using checkdisk or scandisk and find errors of any kind then it is time for a new drive.



Response: Testing only the RAM makes more sense; I'll try to see. Last night I was able to get checkdisk to run through windows (with restart). The computer booted in windows first time and seems to be working except for some graphics peculiarities. Unfortunately, when I tried rebooting again, I got the blue screen. This is the same problem as before, the computer will randomly boot in "normal" window mode,. The computer will continue to run without problems with no problems (more or less), as long as I don't reboot. Also, safe mode has always booted with no errors which makes me think it is a software error since you'd think any HW issues (e.g. harddrive, CPU or RAM) would eventually incur an error regardless of what software is running.
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