Dell updates its Backup and Recovery app for Windows 10 and starts asking you to pay up

I like Dell. My most used products are all Dell. My laptop is an XPS 13, my tablet is a Venue 8 Pro and my monitor also bears the badge. But I don't particularly like this message which appeared today alongside an update of the company's Backup and Recovery app. The update is supposed to be for Windows 10, allowing you to backup your stuff, create a recovery image and so on. Just like you could in Windows 8.1, but for Windows 10.

Only to create a system backup for Windows 10, or as far as I can see, use most of the apps features, you'll now be asked to pay for a premium license. £33.13 to be exact.

And I don't like that.

As the message up top shows, unless you stump up you'll only be able to recover back to Windows 8.1. Then go through upgrading all over again. And you won't be able to use the app to back up any of your data. OK, you've always needed a premium account to get the most from the app, including backing up all your data. And there are other, arguably better ways to do that part.

So now I, like many others, will be left with the decision to make. Personally, I'll probably take the risk, I don't really like being held to ransom. But the box in the image up top is persistent upon rebooting after the app updates until you do something. It's a pretty crummy way to try and sell a product. After all, we bought the products with this service included. I just hope that new machines sold with Windows 10 don't try and upsell, too.

Come on Dell, I know you can do better than this.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at

  • Who needs it when you can backup to OneDrive? (Unless your data already in it)
  • OneDrive isn't much cop for recovering your system though, right?
  • No, but Windows Backup that's built-in is perfectly fine for system recovery.
  • Still doesn't excuse the upsell.
  • Agreed. I like Dell and most of my great is Dell but this is rather cheeky. That said, a complete windows backup to an external drive does the trick.
  • I never get Windows Backup to run on my System.
  • Windows 10 has an option to restore the operating system in the Settings app.  There is no need to revert back to 8.1 then upgrade again. In fact, there is no need to use the Dell utility at all, and any smart person should'nt.
  • lol......and how you will recover?
  • What's the need for Dell's app? Just use Windows Recovery or File History to backup everything! Or just manually copying important files to HDD
  • AOMEI Backupper is free and superior to any other disk imaging solution I have found. I've used and bought Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 & 15, and Acronis.
  • I like it when I don't have to look elsewhere, though. I actually don't mind Dell's built in apps since they're almost all useful in some way. I don't like being forced to pay to keep using something though :(
  • Get used to it! The thousands on thousands of Dell employees want to be paid, and Michael Dell won't mind to depose William Gates too. The money has to flow in somehow. Besides, you did not pay for Windows 10. You could use Linux or OS X, but I believe Apple is even much a scale higher than Dell at ripping people off. We'd better pray for a "Devine" intervention. Oops, I forgot you're already his holiness on WC. /S
  • You went there, LOL
  • I would love to say I have sympathy...but I don't.
    You're a tech editor, that for some reason prefers to rely on the bloatware that comes with your computer?! Just install a proper backup and recovery solution. Macrium Reflect is 100% free, and does an industry leading job of backing up and restoring. It is also updated regularly.
    Come on, start shopping around rather than sticking with the junk that comes preinstalled.
    Also, please tell me of any manufacturer that offers free disc backup/imaging stuff. These manufacturer add-ons are never *free* - the cost is borne out in higher hardware prices.
  • I second this. AOMEI backupper is a nifty program, which I am glad I discovered. It even does universal system restore (if you have a backup of one system, you can restore it to another system, even if it's hardware is entirely different). On top of that, the sofwrare is very easy to use as well.
  • Dells solution(formerly know as alienware respawn) is quite good it uses the same api pro windows uses
  • Can't stand that bloatware.
  • people don't do clean OS installs on Dells the moment they pull them out of the box anymore?
  • Dell isn't what it used to be. And no, average consumers will likely not do clean OS installs on anything. That's what nerds do.
  • I must be a nerd since I do clean installs on every thing
  • And I'm a lazy consumer who can't be bothered even thinking about something like that ;-) I buy it, open it, start using it. Nothing wrong with that.
  • Except bloatware and mismanaged optimization.
  • To avoid bloatware and crapware purchase the business line of products. You pay a few hundred dollars more, but you get better equipment and service, on-site service.
  • The crapware is still there on the business line.  We put our own image on all of our machines because of it.  Generally if you are purchasing more than a handful at a time they will be cheaper than the consumer equivilant if you use an account rep rather than just ordering online.
  • or what people at enterprise locations do as dell software can't be trusted in an enterprise environment? i've done thousands over 10+ years.
  • I'm using a clean install in my old Inspiron 15 mid 2010 and i wish i could go back to the original setup ( i did my system backup but back then was a 320 GB HDD, hard and bad way to figure out that i can't roll back with my smaller but faster 128 GB SSD ) because some utility were usefull like the camera, back then i was able to adjust brightness and contrast, also it had face tracking and God knows how much i have tried to install it back with no sucess :( Also it came with all the Office i've ever needed Word and Excel 2010 starter, but the OEM license was built in. Before upgrading to Windows 10 i'll get a bigger SSD so i can restore my Original system and take all the goodies with me to 10, the unuseful bloatware won't do it.
  • Haha, right!
  • I don't do clean OS installs, too boring finding drivers and so on...I m too old for that :)
    One of my old notebook now carrying win10 is a an upgrade over upgrade since I think Vista. Works like a pro.
    I never installed bloatware anyway, only Office and some other Microsoft applications.
    I m confortable with rolling back to a prev Restore Point in case of troubles.
  • it's not always as easy - on my Sony Vaio, you can't get your battery to charge properly (with care limiting etc.) if you clean install. I tried and battery is border-line usable in that case. And battery control center is tied to the 'care' product, tied to updates and so on - there's a narrowed down list of utils (from Sony) that pretty much have to be installed (and include running services, startup utils and so on - a bloatware). Battery is tricky because no 3rd party apps can do that (it similar to a driver pretty much, connected to the h/w) So you can clean install, but there's a price. I could do it on HP, but not on Sony. Not sure of Dell though.
  • dell puts so little junkware on your PC any more that you don't have to do a clean wipe like you do with HP and others.
  • I bought my Dell Inspiron 5548 at the Microsoft Store, so a clean install wasn't necessary. I did replace the 1TB HDD with a 512GB SSD that already had Windows 10 on it.
  • Lol since I had a better version of w7 that I bought separately I installed that instead
  • I just downloaded all the drivers for Windows 10 for my Lenovo, and used Windows 10 to make my own recovery USB drive. I also do a full image backup periodically to an external HDD.  Since I've successfully restores several times, I see no need for OEM software to do it for me, nor do I see the need to pay for it. Obviously, this is targeted at people who don't know how to do simple tasks on a computer in order to take advantage of the uninformed masses and to make money off of people's ignorance. I have zero respect for that sort of tactic. Kind of like Stardock saying the Windows 10 start menu is useless, so you better purchase theirs. LOL
  • I have used that native Windows 10 backup/restore feature once. Works fine. Backup // Reset (through Settings) and then Restore. But I didn't like this attitude from Dell.
  • Just do a clean install, and then all of your recovery will be Windows 10. Easy.
  • As long as the service is free on the W10 Dells, I don't see anything wrong with Dell looking for residual income from clients who probably won't be upgrading for 2-5 years. My main computer is 6 years old. HP won't be seeing me as long as this machine works. If they ask me for $14, I'll give it. Outside of toner cartridges, the $14 is the most they have seen from me since 2009.
  • Well, this is not the right way to do that.
  • I could see that if it was only for older Dells, but I have a Dell that is less than a year old and still under warranty.
  • Hey Richard. Could you just reinstal your computer with fresh ISO so dell bloatware wouldn't get preinstalled
  • Why would I do that, though? I have a lot of stuff on this computer, I'm already on Windows 10 and I don't mind using Dell's "bloatware." I'm happy enough with my laptop the way it is. Having to go through all that is an unnecessary exertion in my opinion.
  • That's the point though.
    Pay up or keep getting the message. Cant you find the program that's causing the pop up and uninstall it
  • Or disable the service completely.
  • Just make sure you rake good care of your system
  • Please post an update when you learn how to get rid of this ransomware.
  • That's beyond crummy.
  • Surely this app is now redundant with windows no longer relying on a recovery partition to do a reset? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • First thing I did when I got my venue was to uninstall all dell garbage and kept essential stuff. Why would even use dell's bloatware?
  • which is why I love microsoft's "Signature" initiative. no bloat at all :)
  • +1 on Aomei  awsome stuff
  • Cool. Never again a Dell product. Thanks for the warning.
  • Wasn't the non-premium version of their cloud backup service just kind of like a "restore to factory original" thing instead of a restore partition on the local drive? If so, this really isn't anything different than they have always done.
  • Well, if you got a machine that was Pre-installed with WIndows 10 from the OEM,  could see havning an issue with it. The Product was sold with a 8.1 machine, you upgraded to a OS that was not available when that machine came out, they had to update software so they can be sure it will back it up. New version is a new version and is not a upgrade, costing money. I can see you being disapointed but, no justifcation of being ticked off, or bashing them on a public web site like this.. It's how software works. You did after all buy a 8.1 laptop NOT a 10 laptop... After this post, if I was selling proudcts and you wanted to buy one, I would not even make it available for you.   WIth this being said, I alwasy have used Acronis, as I think it works better than most 3rd party packages and I have worked with it tons of times.
  • I didn't realize the Dell backup solution was for a running backup--I just used it to enable me to restore my tablet to factory state, which is not Windows 10, so I guess I'm not offended. If they do require a purchase to generate factory restore media for PCs that were sold with Windows 10 that would be a different thing, as Richard said.
  • everything labeled "Dell" in programs and features is removed after startup for the first time. Or I just use the windows disk from Dell to do a clean install. Windows Backup is easy enough to use and does a good job.
  • Actually Dell cannot do better than that, but Hey- you gotta Dell!
  • Who uses dell. I have always build my computer. Dell does not make computer they build computer.
  • Tell me how you get on when you try building your next XPS 13 ;).
    Anyone can build a big lump of a desktop computer.
  • "OEM"... I never get these problems, I'm a Retail guy :P
  • Windows backup? Why would anyone not use windows backup?
  • I always do a fresh install - the Dell folder, on the c drive, contains all the drivers you need so just wipe, install and windows backup to an external drive or blu ray. No need for this bloat. Shame they're charging for what is an essential function and something one can do for free. Frankly being a lazy consumer is no excuse. Knowledge is power, better yourselves and be free of all this nonsense.
  • I just use the real-tmie backup that came with my WD Passport.. I hope I never have to use it!
  • I have had a Dell 3542 with 8.1 for 3 months now, and 1 month after purchasing, it asked me to pay to keep using Backup and Recovery. I have since uninstalled the software.
    I've been on Windows 10 for about 2 weeks now, and apart from missing Bluetooth and graphics drivers, which I have reinstalled, everything is perfect.
  • Isn't the included backup in Windows fine? Haven't used it yet but read somewhere it can make an image with all included.
  • Why do vendors still continue to merge those separate expertises and responsibilities and thus try to get a hand on my private data as well? Software is complementary to hardware. And data is maintained by software, not part of it.
    If you want to lose all control, or if you don't feel any responsibility, hand yourself over to those kind of vendors that promise one shop solutions. Hardware is one shop, software a different one and my private data is mine!
    Thus I bought a new Dell computer, wiped it and did a clean Windows install (and kept the install media) and I backup my private data to an external usb-drive (which is as cheap as this Dell offer).
  • Just upgraded a co-workers brand new Dell PC to Windows 10 this morning. I was sure to uninstall Dell Backup, along with the other crap that comes pre-loaded.
  • Windwos 10 has good recovery options to do a fresh install and backup your data or a full wipe with you backing up your own data. Total money grab on dells part.
  • Despite the force upgrade to premium, it's a really good backup software from Dell. Wouldn't really consider it a bloatware, this thing is a time saver. People really should start trying out things first before putting labels on them. That aside, you can turn the damn popup off by disabling the SoftThinks Agent service (I think it's the same with other Dell products, I have AlienRespawn).
  • £33 though, for something that is done equally well (or better) for free via Acronis or Macrium?!
    If you've more money than sense, cough up.
  • Dell. My wife just bought a shiny new XPS 13 with Win 10 preinstalled. Lovely piece of kit and the new OS is quite a step up from OSX on her Mac. Problem though, half an hour after start up and having downloaded "FastAccess Facial Recognition 4", as per Dells update software, we now have a lovely shiny paperweight. It gets to the log in screen and sits flashing at us. Dell support couldn't fix it and we are now waiting on a USB of Win 10 to try and fix it. The moral of the story? DON"T download anything that DELL tries to push on you. Still, the XPS 13 is a beautiful machine to look at. Maybe one day she can use it to do computery type things.   
  • You only have one laptop in your house?!!
    Why not just download a Windows 10 iso on a different computer, then stick it on a USB and do a fresh install of your XPS 13?! It is what you should have done from the very beginning. Windows 10 doesn't need Dell bloatware.
  • My Dell XPS 17 from four years ago has been asking me to buy their backup software. This isn't new for them. I just ignore it. I'm not paying them shit since my laptop is defective and I feel they owe me money.
  • This is why I either only buy from the Microsoft Store or do a complete fresh install of the OS with my own media, and don't use stuff like this. I have a Dell Laptop and Tablet, but they are both running Windows 10 fresh from Microsoft, so no ads for me.
  • So there are two options, 1. Pay Dell so that you can reinstall windows with all their bloatware. Or 2. Goto settings>update & recovery>remove everything and reinstall windows, then you'll never hear from Dell again.
  • Love my Surface Pro 3!
  • Programs-->Uninstall is how to deal with this and make your voice heard. Also recovers system resources and removes an irritant! ;)
  • Hi! My name is Laura and I work for Dell. It's always good policy to create a full system backup after major OS changes. While Microsoft does offer a backup and recovery solution,  Dell Backup & Recovery allows you to restore to this original factory image, even after upgrading. For customers who use Dell Backup and Recovery, they can continue doing so, post-Windows 10 upgrade, with no loss of functionality. It has been updated to be compatible with your Windows 10 Upgrade, providing the additional benefits of: Factory restore of the original Operating System that shipped on your device Manual backup and restore of files and folders Automatic Smart Repair and Instant Restore As many have noted, Windows 10 provides built-in tools to do this, but for customers who want additional options, features, and protection in an easy to use application, upgrading to Dell Backup and Recovery Premium could meet those needs.  
  • Does anyone know how to disable this annoying feature? it gives me the creeps. I am actually becoming paranoid that if I don't upgrade Dell might sabatoge my system. I get that it might be a good option, but frankly, I kind of liked windows 8.1 better in many ways than 10 so far. To the Dell lady, I love Dell for the most part. I have had many of your products. But if I check the don't ask me again button and you keep asking me? Smells like adware to me.  You said we would be able to upgrade at no cost when I purchased my new computer a few weeks prior to the release of 10. Then you try to hold me hostage for this upgrade? Ironically I would have been more inclined to purchase if you had not annoyed me with this pop up so. My response to a hard sell has alwas been the same... I leave. Great article. Please... anyone... tell me how to get rid of this annoying pop up. Thanks!  
  • The newest alienrespawn will make a factory restore of your clean windows 10 installation, keeping all your settings and apps too.