Re-installing Vista

Hi everyone I need some expert advice please.

We have had Vista since the beginning and for various reasons I need to do a re-install but it appears my Dell re-installation disc can not be read. I have had issues for ages with the DVD reader, it will read some but not others. Worked out it can be done with a USB key but now discovered that is only possible with a purchased disc not a OEM one. So back to square one, does anyone have suggestions?

Am thinking about trying Ubuntu but really have no idea how to do it and I need to empty the computer first as we have a virus on it. So how do I do that - I have backed up all file to a hard disc? My main concern is that all the peripherals we have are for Vista, will they still work with Ubuntu? It is also the main computer for my husband who would prefer to roll back to XP rather than learn anything new.

Thanks for any suggestions as I am going potty and no one to ask in English.

Reformating the disk and a clean install will probably speed things up. More memory might help, go to and run their scanner. It will tell you what memory is installed and what can be added.

Hi Steve, That's fantastic news, I've sent you a PM but wanted to say thank you again as I really appreciate it.

The computer is dreadfully slow and locks all the time, sometimes I feel the only thing to do is throw it against the wall but that wont solve anything.

We really need to buy a new PC - this one is nearly 6 years old but with 2 kids and Christmas coming up there is always something more urgent, so while ever this one comes limping along, we manage. I do keep backing everything up though, to be on the safe side.



Good morning Tracy

I've successfully created a bootable USB disk from a Dell Vista Business (32bit) DVD using "ISO to USB" ( and tested it on a PC. I didn't go as far as installing Vista but it was ready to go. Not sure which version of Vista your licence is for but if you want me to post you the USB key send me your address by PM


I thought the PC was essentially b****d already so whatever you do won't make it worse

I am still looking for my Dell Vista CD

Just checked on the laptop and the disc works fine. Can't find the info about not using the OEM discs but have found this which seems to think it will work - do you think it makes sense? I'm just so worried I will really b---r it up totally, though to be fair the machine couldn't go much slower. Thanks for your help.

Opening the DVD on your laptop won't install Vista, it will just display the contents. That would identify whether its the disk or the drive

I don't understand why an OEM version of the Vista CD couldn't be burned to a USB key, if I have time tomorrow I will give it a try.

Hi Steve, I believe it is with the DVD drive as it's kind of been an ongoing issue that it will not play all the discs I put in. I have run the Microsoft Fixit programme and it can not fix it - it tells me the issue is still there and will send the info to Microsoft but then fails each time.

I have a laptop with Windows 7 that I could try the reinstallation disc on but I'm scared to do it as I don't want Windows 7 to disappear and be replaced by crappy Vista? i don't have an external drive to try.

I can get into the BIOS but the instructions I found for burning to a USB key said it would not work with a Dell supplied copy of Vista, it has to be a purchased separately from Microsoft and mine came direct from Dell with the machine?



Is the problem with your VISTA disk with the actual disk or your DVD drive ? Have you tried reading it in a friend's PC ? If it is the drive, do you have access to an external DVD drive ?

There are ways of copying the files to a USB key and making that key bootable, I can send you the links if you'd like. You would need to get into the BIOS.

I happen to have an Dell XP Pro disk that I bought on Ebay for 20€ but couldn't use, you could have that if you wanted.

Good thing about Dell PCs is that you can easily track down the drivers using the Service Tag.

If you want to go the Ubuntu route then unless you have any special hardware/peripherals, you shouldn't have any problems. Just burn the ISO file to a DVD or USB key.


Our daughters have an old PC from my wife, it is Vista too. They naturally caught a nice fat virus and whacked the HDD. We took it to the local geeks who completely cleaned the hard disc, which they said was necessary with a virus on board, loaded XP, then using the original DVD upgraded it back to Vista. Fortunately nothing important was lost because OH had cleared all of her old files away and what the girls had in was probably mainly of little value to them even. I don't know if that is of any use, but thank our young ones it is all we know.