If you're in the US or Canada, you can ask Dell to provide the disk by completing this form. I don't know if Vista disks are still available or if Dell will charge you for it.
Otherwise, you can always look on eBay, etc for a disk. If you buy a disk, it must be the exact same version of Vista that Dell installed (eg Home Premium, 32-bit) in order for your current product key to work.
But if you're going to reinstall, you might want to consider buying a Win 7 disk with its own valid product key. Run the Win 7 upgrade advisor, free from Microsoft first to see what issues you might have going to Win 7
Forum Member since 2004
I am not a Dell employee
Thanks for the help. I did the form and it responded and provided a phone number. I might be out of luck. I can't believe I threw away that Vista disc!!!!! What an idiot.
Its a bit convoluted however you can also download a Windows Vista .iso:
As Microsoft are going to stop supporting Windows Vista soon and some can argue that they already have (no Office 2013 support or IE10/11), you might also be better using the Windows 10 Technical Preview. You can evaluate it until Windows 10 is released and then take advantage of a promotional price.
If you are still using the original HDD, and haven't reformatted it, the recovery partition contains the same image as the original installation disk.
XPS M1530, Win 10 CU Pro 32-bit
Inspiron E1705, Win 10 CU Pro 32-bit
Dimension 9100, Win 10 AU Pro 32 bit
Inspiron 660, Win 10 CU 64 bit
Inspiron 3668, Win 10 CU 64 bit
Asus T100 Tablet, Windows 10 CU 32 bit
Thanks KirkD, but the recovery partition is long gone. It went away a couple years ago when I reinstalled Vista on the then new SSD. Unfortunately for me, I lost/disposed of my original Vista DVD.
I did manage to install Win 10 Tech Preview on the new 500 Gb Samsung SSD a couple days ago. But not before visiting MBR GBT EFI hell.