Friday, 11 June 2010

Recreating operating system partition from a Dell factory.wim

I had to replace the hard disk in a Dell XPS m1210 Laptop, I had made a copy of the recovery partition.

I used a vista install DVD to boot and sort partitions and copied the factory.wim file and imagex.exe from the Dell recovery files \tools\imagex.exe and dell\image\factory.wim
I created two partitions one for windows and a 10gb Partition for recovery files.
How I reinstalled the factory defaults from a Dell Factory.wim
Installed the new disk in Laptop, (only a 120gb)
Restoring the Del .wim
Boot the laptop with the Vista install dvd, you will need to go to the install option (this is after the country selections).
Follow the install until you arrive at the disk partition screen. If it is a new disk there will probably be no partitions. If there are partitions delete them (unless you need the data), and reformat each partition (in my case I created a first partition of 100gb and a second partition of 10gb).
Once the disk is partitioned and formatted I exited the install and returned to the repair options, go to the command prompt.

My cd was E:, first partition was C: and second D:

I popped the install DVD out of the drive and inserted my DVD with the factory.wim and Imagex.exe files.

I navigated to the DVD and imagex.exe file, at the command prompt I typed.

Imagex /apply factory.wim 1 c:\

After a short while the file was installed, I did one last step.

I popped the install DVD backing and ran repair to make sure that the boot records etc were in correct.

I restarted and I was back with a fresh install of Dell software on my Dell XPS M1210

My Dell XPS

Dell XPS M1210, 2ghz Proc, 1gb Mem, 12” screen, vista ratting 4.5

I now just need to sort the left touchpad button and replace the battery

The disk was £34.90, I am hoping that ebay will come to the rescue on the battery and touch pad.

My main concern at the moment is the heat that is coming out, but a quick blast of air will I am sure keep things in check.


  1. Thanks for this post. I am in the same position.
    Have tried once but didnt use the '1' in the imagex command, used a "factory wim" instead. dont know if this makes a difference, but on running the repair startup, this didnt work. The vista cd said it repaired the startup , but got the flashing cursor at boot.
    trying again using your method. (wish me luck!)

  2. Hi Thanks for the feed back.

    Have recently used the process again for a Dell with vista, using factory.wim. Rebuilt system, then realised I should have formatted the c: drive first.
    Iamgex only copies teh files into the selected drive so will only replace files and leave all others as is.The rebuilt system was a bit mixed up.
    Once I had formatted C: and rebuilt with "Imagex /apply factory.wim 1 c:\" All worked fine, I coppied imagex.exe to the same folder as the .wim file. Tim

  3. Success!
    I booted with the Vista DVD, entered command line and used:

    select disk 0
    create partition primary
    assign letter=c:
    format c: /q /y

    Then I ran the imagex /apply factory.wim 1 c:\
    booted, but restarted (which is better than the nag I had last time) so then ran the startup repair option of the DVD and hey presto - my dell vista is back!
    Thanks again for your article - really helped me out :-)

  4. Just one question: What it means the 1 (one) in "/apply factory.wim 1". I really understand from imagex /apply /? that the 1 is the image_number (the number that identifies the image within the WIM file), but, what really is the "number that identifies the image within the WIM file", something with apples and oranges??