3 Proven Ways | How to Format a Dell Laptop from Boot Menu

How to format a Dell laptop from boot menu? This guide provides 3 feasible ways to factory reset Dell laptop easily, and you can also recover lost data from a factory reset computer.


By Lori / Updated on June 11, 2024

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Dell laptops are popular among users for their reliability and performance. However, over time, you may experience poor performance, slow operation, dealing with constant errors, and more. Formatting the Dell laptop and restoring your Dell laptop to factory settings can be effective solutions.

How to format a Dell laptop from boot menu? This guide will walk you through the 3 ways to do a Dell laptop factory reset from boot. Plus, you can learn how to recover lost data from a factory reset computer. Let's get started!

Why You Need to Format the Dell Laptop?

Before we dive into the how, let’s talk about the why. Why would you want to format your Dell laptop in the first place? There are several common reasons:

1️⃣ Improve performance: Over time, a laptop can become bogged down by unnecessary files and software. Formatting can give your laptop a new lease of life, making it run faster and more efficiently.

2️⃣ Virus removal: If your system is infected with viruses or malware, a full format can help eliminate those threats.

3️⃣ System errors: Persistent software problems and errors can often be resolved by formatting the laptop and reinstalling the operating system.

4️⃣ Starting from scratch: Sometimes, starting from scratch is the best way to customize and optimize your laptop for your specific needs.

Prepare for Formatting Dell Laptop

Before you begin the formatting process, there are a few key steps you need to take to make sure everything goes smoothly:

Backing Up Your Data

The first step is to back up all important data. Formatting your laptop will erase everything on your hard drive, so it's important to save all valuable files, photos, documents, and applications. To do this, you can use an external hard drive, cloud storage service, or free backup software for Windows like AOMEI Backupper Standard.

Gather the necessary tools

  • Windows installation media (USB drive or DVD).
  • Windows product key.
  • Driver backup or access to the Internet to download drivers after formatting.

How to Format a Dell Laptop from Boot Menu (3 Ways)

There are 3 ways to format a Dell laptop, including using Windows Reset, Dell Computer Repair Drive, using Windows installation disc, which works on Dell laptops running any version of Windows.

Method 1: Format a Dell Laptop Using Windows Reset

How to factory reset a Dell laptop from boot menu? If your Dell laptop runs Windows 10 or later, you can reset and format Dell laptop on Windows 10/11 using the built-in Windows recovery tool.

Step 1: Access recovery options

Press Win + I to open the Settings menu. Navigate to Update & Security > Recovery. Under "Reset this PC", click "Get started".

Recovery Reset This PC Get Started

Step 2: Start the reset process

Choose "Remove everything" to perform a full format. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Step 3: Reinstall Windows

Windows will reinstall itself and format your hard drive. After this process is completed, follow the instructions on the screen to set up your laptop.

Method 2: Format a Dell Laptop Using Dell Computer Repair Drive

Dell laptops are usually equipped with a built-in recovery partition that allows you to restore your system to its factory settings. This method is convenient and does not require any external media. How to reset Dell laptop with shortcut key? Follow the simple steps below.

Step 1: Access recovery environment

Restart your laptop. Once the Dell logo appears, press the corresponding key to access the recovery environment. This is usually F8 or Ctrl + F11.

Step 2: Start Dell Factory Image Restore

In the Advanced Boot Options window, select "Repair your Computer". Select your keyboard layout and click "Next".

Select a keyboard input way and language, then click "Next". In the username field, type “Administrator". Leave the password field empty, then click "OK".

Type the Administrator

Step 3: Complete recovery

Select "Dell Factory Image Restore" when prompted. This will open the Factory Image Restore window. Then click "Next". Choose Restore My Computer, then click "Next". This process will format your hard drive and reinstall the original operating system and drivers.

Select Dell Factory Image Restore

Step 4: Set up your laptop

After the recovery is completed, your laptop will be restarted. Follow the instructions on the screen to set your laptop as if it were new.

Method 3: Format a Dell Laptop from Boot Menu

Formatting Dell Laptop from boot menu requires access to BIOS (Basic Input/ Output System) and use it to start the formatting process. Here is a step-by-step guide on the format Dell laptop from BIOS:

⚠ Note: Ensure you have a Windows installation disc. With some adjustments to your computer’s settings, you can set it to boot from the installation media (USB drive or CD/DVD) instead of the main hard drive, enabling you to erase and reformat the hard drive.

If you don’t have a Windows installation disc, you can create Windows 10/11 bootable USB from ISO by downloading the Windows installation tool or using MyRecover.

Step 1: Access the BIOS

Restart your laptop. Once the Dell logo appears, press the appropriate key to enter the BIOS. This is usually F2, F12, or deleted. Check your user manual or find the correct keys on the screen.

Step 2: Change the boot order

Once you enter BIOS, use the arrow keys to navigate to the boot card. Change startup order to prioritize installation media (USB drive or CD/DVD). Move it to the top of the list. Then, save changes and exit BIOS.

Step 3: Boot from installation media

Insert the Windows installation media into the USB port or DVD drive. Restart your laptop. It should now start from the installation medium. Follow the instructions on the screen to start the Windows installation process.

Step 4: Formatting the hard drive

When you arrive in the installation process, select the part where you want to install Windows.

Click "Format" to delete existing data. Follow the instructions to install Windows.

Step 5: Install Windows

Complete the Windows installation process. Follow the instructions on the screen to set up the new Windows environment. After installing Windows, you will need to reinstall your drivers and applications.

How to Recover Data Lost During a Dell Laptop Factory Reset

Despite taking all necessary precautions before resetting your Dell laptop to factory settings, there is a chance that you may still lose some data. If you don't have a backup, use a reliable data recovery program like MyRecover to help you recover data easily. It has a high data recovery rate and can recover data no matter what the reason for data loss is.

Features of MyRecover:

  • It allows you to recover lost or deleted data in Windows 10/11/8/7/Server quickly and easily with 3 clicks.
  • It recovers lost or deleted files, including recover permanently deleted photos, audio, music, documents, emails, and up to 200 other types of data.
  • It quickly scans the Dell PC or drive for recoverable files, allowing you to filter, preview, and recover the files you want.
  • Whether data was lost due to accidental deletion, formatting, lost partition, system crash, or virus/malware attacks, MyRecover can also create a recovery drive.

How to recover data from Dell laptop hard drive? Please free download and install MyRecover on Dell computer as soon as possible after the data loss. The free edition allows you to recover up to 500MB of data on any drive for free. Have a try!

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1: Choose the drive and start the scan

Run MyRecover on your Dell computer. Hover the mouse over the location where your user profile resided before it got deleted. Then, click Scan.

Select SD Card

🤞 Tip: If you want to recover files of more than 500MB, you may need to upgrade to MyRecover Pro or Technician to enjoy unlimited file recovery.

Step 2: Scan the Drive and preview files

MyRecover will begin a Quick & Deep Scan of your drive to locate all the recoverable data automatically and thoroughly. In this process, you can use the Filter feature to locate your desired files quickly.

Scanning SD Card

Tip: Preview or filter your wanted file based on Files Type, Size, Date, etc.

  • Type: Select the file type (Documents, Images, Videos, Audios, Mails, Webpages, Compressed files, etc.)
  • Date modified: Set the date (today, yesterday, last 7/30 days, etc.)
  • Size: Filter the file size (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~ 512MB, 512MB above, etc.)

Step 3: Recover Data

Once you’re certain you’ve found the files you want to recover, click Recover X Files and save them to a new location.

Select Videos to Restore from SD Card

Post-Format Dell Laptop Steps

After formatting your Dell laptop, there are several important steps you need to take to ensure that the system runs smoothly and efficiently.

Install Basic Drivers: Laptops require various drivers to run properly. These include drivers for graphics, sound, network adapters, and more. Visit Dell's official website to download and install the latest drivers for your specific laptop model.

Update Windows: Make sure your Windows operating system is up to date. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and check for updates. Keeping your operating system updated is essential for security and performance.

Install Necessary Software: Reinstall any applications you need, such as web browsers, office suites, and any other software you use regularly. This is also a good time to install any security software to protect your freshly formatted laptop from malware and viruses.

Recover Data: If you backed up your data before formatting, now is the time to recover it using MyRecover. Then, transfer your files from an external hard drive or cloud storage back to your laptop.


There are multiple benefits to formatting and resetting a Dell laptop. We hope these 3 proven methods on how to format a Dell laptop from boot menu can help you format and reset your Dell computer easily. Also, if you lose data during the process, try using professional data recovery software like MyRecover to easily recover files after factory reset on Windows 10/11 quickly.

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

FAQs About Dell Laptop Factory Reset from Boot

1. How to factory reset a Dell laptop without password?

To reset a Dell laptop without a password, follow these steps:

  • Click the "Power" icon on the login screen.
  • While holding the "Shift" key, select "Restart".
  • After your computer restarts, select the "Troubleshoot" option.
  • Choose "Reset your PC" and proceed by clicking "Next".
  • Select "Just remove my files".
  • Complete the process by selecting the "Reset" button.

2. Can I format my Dell laptop without losing data?

No, formatting your laptop will erase all data on the hard drive. It's essential to back up your data before starting the formatting process. You can use free Windows backup software like AOMEI Backupper Standard to create a file backup.

3. Is factory reset bad for your Dell laptop?

Factory resetting can help remove bloatware and free up valuable drive space. However, some bloatware may pose security risks, as seen in 2014 when Lenovo laptops were found to contain malware. While factory resetting your Dell laptop will clear all data and stored information, it's not always the ideal method.

4. What will happen if I factory reset my Dell laptop?

Factory resetting your Dell laptop will erase all programs and applications you have installed. Your laptop will return to its original state, as it was when it left the factory.

5. How to reinstall Windows 10 on your Dell computer?

There are two ways to reinstall Windows 10 on your Dell computer:

  • Use the Windows Recovery Environment to reinstall Windows 10 to the Dell factory image.
  • Use recovery media to reinstall Windows 10 to the Dell factory image.
Lori · Editor
Lori has received professional technical training since joining AOMEI and aims to help users troubleshoot problems with data recovery and protection. She focuses on simple, efficient, and practical methods, and provides professional advice. Being able to help readers and users is her ultimate goal.