Question about Dell Dimension C521 PC Desktop

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Restore factory settings.

How can i restore my Dell dimension desktop C521 back to it's original factory settings, or factory image settings?..someone suggested hit F-11 during start up but that didn't work.  Can you please walk me through it, step by step.  Thanks !

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  • 2 more comments 
  • Anonymous Dec 13, 2008

    i want to reboot back to factory settings i dont have a cd i know theres a f button you hit while its starting up but nothing is working

  • Jimbobcatz Sep 15, 2009

    I accidentally deleted my audible from the program menu. How do I recover this?

  • damons May 11, 2010

    computer does not boot up. cannot display video mode
    optimum resolution 1280x1024 60Hz shows up an d screen in blank

  • damons May 11, 2010

    after computer boot up,cannot display this video mode
    optimum resolution 1280x1024 60Hz shows up with blank screen



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Here is the Dell tech support article for PC Restore to re-image the system to the factory settings.

Posted on Nov 04, 2008

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  • Phil Swift
    Phil Swift Dec 04, 2010

    This solution is wrong. He is suggesting using 'system restore' and this does not restore the whole PC back to what is was like when you first got it. Years ago you used to get a restore CD with your brnanded PC. Nowadays, the onus is on you yo burn a restore CD/DVD when ou get the PC or, use the secret/hidden partition to restore the PC back to factory set up. Most PC' s use one F key to initiate the factory restore. Dell's handbook says use the Ctrl key and F11 key. They say when you see the Dell BIOS splash screen,press and hold down the Ctrl key and then prss and release the F11 key and then let go of the Ctrl key. One single press, not lots. It is also possible to remove this restore function, which seems crazy. I have not got the Ctrl and F11 combo' to work yet. Try contacting Dell and asking for a restore CD/DVD. Other manufacturers sell them. The reason is no one ever creates their own CD/DVD when they get their PC and some get the restore hiddden partition corrupted/ damaged or the hard disk has to be replaced. Also contact Dell for a way of reactivating the restore functionn if it has been deactivated.
    System restore and factory restore are different. Its confusing as the term is use in both actions.

  • embielle
    embielle Feb 17, 2013

    Thank This is most helpful

  • pmcglasson
    pmcglasson Mar 09, 2013

    Ctrl F11 is the key Thanks



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SOURCE: How can i restore my Dell dimension desktop C521

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Posted on Sep 12, 2010

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You need the C521 recovery disk, from Dell. Set the BIOS to boot from CD and start the system.

If it gives you the option of "Complete Reinstall" or "Repair", choose Complete Reinstall.

If it does not, or if it does not work - i.e., it always reads the disk and tries to maintain as much data as it can, you need to first wipe out the hard drive; there are many "Disk Wipe" utilities out there. I'd suggest using a boot disk such as DBAN (

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I think it's F12 or F10 on boot up will restore it to factory, beware it does put all setting and folders back to factory settings to, so any data will be lost, it will be just as it came out of the box.

Hope this helps

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My computer is not booting because of a virus attack. now i need to restore my computer to its original factory settings noting that i lost my Dell Restore CD. Hope to hear from you guys Thanks alot Mike

Go to the Dell website, and enter the model number of your computer. It will provide you instructions for restore and also any software that you require can be downloaded from the Dell site

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I want to restore my Dell Demension C521 back to factory setting

You would hit F10 before it gets to the operating system this will load it back to its factory software.

Thanks for using

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