If you have a Dell notebook (or Notebook from any other Manufacturer that provides a recovery partition with Original System Image) and wondering why you are not able to use the System Image restore, the bad news is that you will NOT have the option to use the Image restore once you Upgraded (or just changed) your OS from the one that came pre installed.
This is evident from my personal experience, when I tried to restore the Original System image (Vista) since my Windows 7 install has become very Buggy of late. The Dell instructions provided on its support site doesn’t help as the process (Advance Boot options after pressing F8 at Start up) cannot locate the System Image, even though I can clearly see it in the Recovery Partition inside the Dell folder. I tried transferring the Whole Dell folder to an external hard drive, but had no success.
My only option was to do a fresh custom OS install.
I backed up everything to an external HDD and formatted both the partitions, C (Boot, System and files) and D (Recovery), yes even D, since it is pretty useless now.
Not much difficulty to do a fresh install but the only difficulty was to do download and install all the Apps that were there before.
Tip: If you don’t have a back up drive to back up important files from C partition (assuming that holds the Windows installs and all other Personal files and folders), you can simply format the Recovery partition and install your OS there. Most Recovery partitions have 15GB space which IS enough for even Window 7 Ultimate OS install. Later you can extend primary partition using something like EASEUS Partition Master to cut out some Gigs from other partitions and add them to the recovery partition in which you just installed a fresh OS.