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The screen comes up and says Windows was not shut down properly, and to start in Normal, safe mode, etc. to choose one of them. Nothing happens and it keeps trying to start. So once I hit f11 to recover, a screen comes up and says "system Restore - format and recover: all files, including data files, on the user partition will be lost and the original factory-shipped files will be recovered to the user partition. Do you want to continue? ok box is the only option......so what do I do here, do i say "ok"? What do I loose? Was is the user partition?

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If you Click OK on the system restore, the system will be re-imaged from a hidden partition on the hard drive and will be restored to the way the system was when it came out of the box. Anything you saved or stored on the hard drive, (Pictures, files, games email, resume etc) will all be gone.

Because the system will not boot into the normal mode, it is assumed that the current Windows installation is at a minimum damaged. The damage could be caused by:

  1. Virus/spyware
  2. Hard drive failure
  3. various unkown issues
If you are wanting to save data off this hard drive, just power it off at the system restore screen.

If you can, run diagnostics on the hard drive (Dell has F12 at boot to access diagnostics) If the hard drive fails, your data recovery options are limited.

Data recovery is expensive, so you have to weigh the value of the data versus the cost of getting it back.

Posted on May 20, 2008

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