We have quite a number of Dell desktop and laptop systems deployed in our environment.
We use a number of imaging/cloning methods to manage them.
When a Dell system leaves the factory, it contains a specialized partition that contains Dell diagnostic tools and utilities. This can be accessed via the boot menu (F12) when booting a system. These can come in handy for the sysadmin or desktop technician when trying to decide if the problem is hardware or software related.
However, if the system has been securely disk-wiped or images restored in some circumstances, that specialized Dell Utility partition can be destroyed. The restored windows partition works just fine, and the Dell diagnostics are still listed in the boot menu but they are no longer actually there.
So what options do you have?
Option One – Rebuild it from Scratch
Recreating the Dell Utility Partition - Not for the feint of heart. Partition Table editing required!
Basically you have to create a new partition, make it active, copy the Dell Diagnostic program to it, add a reboot program, make your config.sys and autoexec.bat files, change the partition type, the set your Windows partition back to be the active partition. Lots of work.
Option Two - Skip It and go with a Dell Utility Boot CD
Dell ships most all its systems with a boot-CD that can be used to bring up the system and then run the same diagnostics package elements from the CD instead. Yes you are not putting it on the system, but for most folks, this will be the easiest solution.
Getting the Dell Diagnostics Utility - Dell.com
If you look up your specific Dell system based on the Service Tag number, you will often find a number of additional downloads that will allow you to not only build your Dell Diagnostics Utility CD, but also packages to update the files on your Dell Utility partition if you so desire.
No software is know to exist in the wild (that I am aware of) to "automagically" create and restore that Dell Utility partition via point-and-click. Option One is the only way I know of to put one back in service once a system has been set up.
Option Three - For ZENWorks Imaging Fans only
Novell Doc: Novell ZENworks 7.2 Linux Management Administration Guide - Using Dell Configuration Bundles - Help for ZENworks fans.
Dell - Support - Using the Dell™ MediaDirect Repair Utility to Fix a Corrupt Master Boot Record (MBR) in Microsoft Windows XP
Inside the Dell PC Restore Partition - Dan Goodell
What About Microsoft Vista? - Things are a bit different when dealing with Vista Dell systems.
Special thanks to the D-Man for hunting many of these solutions up for us!
Happy Dell Fixing!