Microsoft Windows Vista

If you can afford it I would recommend upgrading to Windows 7. Any system that can run Windows Vista can run Windows 7.
Note: The Windows Vista setup files are very large (~2 GB each) and require the use of high speed internet to download.
• If you have a Windows Vista DVD, instead download the correct Service 1 and Service Pack 2 file (below) and install these immediately after installing Windows Vista. Note it takes longer to install Service Pack 1 than it does Vista!
• You will however need to download the three setup files if planning on switching from 32 bit Windows Vista to 64 bit Windows Vista.
We will use these setup files to create disc images. These are the same discs Digital River would send out to customers purchasing Windows Vista and have nothing else added.
Before deciding on 32 or 64 bit check how much memory your system has. Download the 64 bit file if you have a computer with 4 GB of RAM or more or if you plan to upgrade your RAM to 4 GB or superior. If you have 2 GB of RAM or less then take the 32 bit file.
Before proceeding ensure that Dell provides 32 bit Vista drivers for use with installing 32 bit Windows Vista and likewise that Dell provides 64 bit Vista drivers for use with installing 64 bit Windows Vista. These may be found on the Dell Drivers and Downloads page. Drivers for non-Dell systems must be found elsewhere.
Note: with regards to specific versions of Windows Vista, these .isos should all contain, Business, Home Basic*, Home Premium, Ultimate, Home Basic N, Business N and Starter*.If you input a valid Windows Vista product key it will determine the version, if you don't put in a key, you will get the option to opt for the edition of Vista you wish to install.
* These might only be present in the 32 bit .iso

Windows Vista Official Setup Files (Digital River)

Note these .iso files may be used with a Dell/non-Dell OEM product Key but phone activation is required (see note at end). This key is typically found on the COA attached to the base of the system.
Retail/upgrade product keys can be used with these .iso files and activated over the internet or phone. See note at the end for phone activation.

Windows Vista (English) with Service Pack 1

Windows Vista (x86)     Windows Vista (x64)

Windows Vista (German) with Service Pack 1

Windows Vista (x86)     Windows Vista (x64)

Windows Vista (French) with Service Pack 1

Windows Vista (x86)     Windows Vista (x64)

▬ Vista setup file links derived from here. These links were found by Jan Krohn. Unfortunately we can't find the Spanish ones.

Installation Instructions (bootable USB/DVD creation)

You must download the .exe, the boot.wim and the install.wim in the same place. Run the .exe file and it will extract all the files into a folder called Vista. Windows installer will now start (cancel the installer).

To create a bootable .iso extract the files to the Vista folder and download Imgburn. Launch imgburn and select "Create Image file from files/folders"

Select the browse folder button and select your Vista folder. Next select Advanced.

To the left will be your Vista folder, to the right make sure, you have checked Make Image Bootable, changed the Developer ID: Microsoft Corporation, load segment: 07C0 and Sectors to load: 4.

Select  the browse folder button and then navigate to your Vista folder and then select the boot folder and finally select the file called etfsboot.

Select the build button.

Save your .iso

Select yes when the prompt for the Volume Label comes up and then select ok. Finally wait for it to make the .iso file.
Once one has the .iso file they may wish to use the Microsoft .iso to USB/DVD tool to create a bootable DVD or USB (requires a blank DVD or USB flash stick of at least 4 GB).
Note: You may use the HP Format Tool to format your USB stick (run it as an administrator) after the windows install so you may use it as a USB stick again. ;)
Full install instructions using this media can be found in my A Clean Install of Windows Vista on Dell Systems wiki. This guide can be used in non-Dell systems but the note at the end of the wiki must be read before proceeding.

Windows Vista Updates

Note as Service Pack 2 is not included in these, I recommend downloading the standalone Service Pack 2 along with Internet Explorer 9 and installing this immediately after installing Windows Vista.
• Service Pack 2 (x86) (select language)
• Service Pack 2 (x64) (select language)
• Internet Explorer 9 (x86) (English/Not sure if All)
• Internet Explorer 9 (x64) (English/Not sure if All)

Installation of Windows Vista

My wiki A Clean Install of Windows Vista will guide you through the install. This is a Dell based guide and some things will differ (such as the F12, location of drivers) for non-Dell systems.

Phone Activation

Press the [Windows] and [Pause|Break] button activation (or right click Computer and select properties).
At the bottom there will be some message about activation, click this link. When an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) i.e. The Product Key printed on the label stuck on the base/side of the laptop/desktop is used  you may get a screen like this:
In which case you will need to use the phone activation. It is a quick automated called, follow the onscreen instructions.

Additional note: Any ideas/suggestions for improvements are always welcome. If you have found my wikies useful please thank me by promoting my Ideas on Dell Idea Storm most of these are designed to make the installation of Windows easier/to improve Dells software services. Please promote them by logging in to IdeaStorm (using your same account as the community forums) and clicking on the promote button (please do not click demote in error).
• Better Quality Windows Vista/7 OEM Stickers - The quality of the Windows COA has went down from a plastic finish to a paper finish in going from XP to Vista/7. As a consequence they are becoming faded and illegible, this is unacceptable (some XP stickers are legible since 2001, some Vista/7 stickers are illegible in a few months. The idea suggest that a plastic/Metallic  sticker be used instead for the COA.
• Drivers and Downloads: Suggested Upgrades - Put everything together here, in the correct install order, fix the issues that crop up when inputting newer Service Tags.
• Print OEM Product Keys for Windows 7 and Office 2010 in the BIOs Setup (for new systems) - Would provide users a quick means of recovery should they lose their office product key card and reformat the system. This idea kind of links to Better Quality Windows Vista/7 OEM Stickers.
• Make Dell Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7 .iso files available to Download - These should be available for free for all Dell users, include the latest Service Packs/Internet Explorer and would overcome the need for phone activation. Idea Under Review by Dell
• One Dell Quickset for All Dell Systems - Make one single file for Dell Quickset so all systems have the latest version for each OS.
Additionally if you have found this wiki useful, I would appreciate if you rate it, the top right (on each page)

If you are experiencing any further problems, post on the correct forum (ensure that you provide basic information such as what OS you are trying to install or have installed e.g. Windows 7 64 bit and the model of the Dell e.g. Dell XPS 8300).