Steps to restore MSI laptop to factory settings without F3 recovery.


New member
Mar 4, 2023
Recently I decided to wipe windows from my laptop and clean install it again. When I did this, I lost access to all the default drivers that come installed with the laptop. It was absolutely awful trying to get everything like keyboard backlighting control to correctly work. Luckily I had not deleted the hidden recovery partition during the wipe. So I set about trying to restore it.

However, I could not do it because, the default windows recovery would not recognise this recovery partition and simply restore the device to a clean windows install. I could not get the factory installed MSI F3 recovery to work at all. So I decided to try and do it on my own. The steps I followed are as follows.

A bootable USB
Factory image files (wim or swm) ( usually found in the BIOS_R

Prepare a bootable USB. You can use the latest win 11 image.

Assign a letter to the hidden recovery partition. This partition is usually > 10G in size. Copy over everything to an external SSD or to a second internal SSD if available. Alternatively, you can also copy it to the USB itself if you have the space.

Now, reboot and boot into the USB and on the windows install screen, donot click on start, instead press shift + f10 to start cmd. This is where you will perform all further actions. You will not actually install windows from the USB at all.

The items you copied are actually parts of a DISM image. They basically have everything needed to create a fresh factory install. Follow the steps from Apply image in the link below:

Important: If you have multiple swm files rather than a wim file, the apply command needs minor changes. Refer this below:

The commands I used:

In my case, I created 4 partitions. EFI, MSR, Windows(W), Recovery(R). I had the my split swm files in my second ssd under the folder RecoveryImage.

Dism /Get-ImageInfo /imagefile: D:\RecoveryImage\Install.swm

I had two partition in my recovery image. Index 1 was the Windows drive. 2 was the recovery drive.

Applied the first image to windows partition W:\

dism /Apply-Image /ImageFile:D:\RecoveryImage\Install.swm /SWMFile:D:\RecoveryImage\Install*.swm /Index:1 /ApplyDir:W:\

Applied the second image to recovery partition R:\

dism /Apply-Image /ImageFile:D:\RecoveryImage\Install.swm /SWMFile:D:\RecoveryImage\Install*.swm /Index:2 /ApplyDir:R:\

Now make the Windows partition bootable with the following command:

W:\Windows\System32\bcdboot W:\Windows

You are done. Cancel the setup, plug out the USB and windows will perform first time setup and ask you to set up your PC as if you took it OOB. You’ll have all factory drivers installed. This resolved my keyboard issues as well.
All steps performed in a GT77 with Win 11.