How to Restore Dell Windows XP to Factory Settings

Updated February 21, 2017

Infestations of spyware and other forms of malware can leave operating systems almost inoperable. To counter this, Microsoft has equipped Windows XP with a system restore tool useful for restoring the operating system to factory settings. The tool is functional on any brand of computer including a Dell that initially retailed with XP operating system software. System restore copies and stores system and program files, and registry settings as restore settings. To use this function, you must be an logged in as an administrator.

Log on as an administrator and click "Start" in the bottom left corner of the screen.

Point cursor to "All Programs," "Accessories," and "System Tools." Click on "System Restore" to initiate restoration.

Confirm choice on the next page by selecting "Restore my computer to an earlier time" and clicking "Next" on the welcome page. This will open the "Select a restore point" page.

Choose a restore point from a list on the restore point page and click "Next." Also, click "OK" as needed in the system restore message box. The messages are of system configurations that will be made after you confirm your choice.

Confirm your restore point selection and click "Next." This will restore the selected Windows XP configuration and restart your computer automatically when the restoration is complete.


Windows XP's system restore does not restore deleted personal files unless file backups were made.

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About the Author

Sarah McLeod began writing professionally for the federal government In 1999. In 2002 she was trained by Georgetown University's Oncology Chief to abstract medical records and has since contributed to Phase I through Phase IV research around the country. McLeod holds a Bachelor of Arts in human services from George Washington University and a Master of Science in health science from Touro University.