The Vostro ended up with a very nasty root kit and a large number of and variety of trojans so was forced to kill all bootable partitions including the recovery partition. I am now trying to install the Windows 7 that came with the laptop but it does not see the hard drive. Down loaded the latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver and Windows recognizes it as the correct driver for the device, looks like it goes through the process of installing it but still indicates that there is no hard drive to install to. Even tried downloading the Pre-OS version of the driver from another laptops downloadable files but get exactly the same result.
Does anyone know what drivers I actually need and where to get them?
Have a look at my wiki A Clean Install of Windows 7 it will guide you through the Windows Installation. I would advise you to use a Windows 7 DVD with Service Pack 1 included, this may overcome the issues with the SATA driver.
As for the SATA driver, download R271949 and 7zip. Extract the driver and from downloads you will have:
The contents should look like the following.
If installing a 32 bit version of windows 7 copy the f6flpy-x86 to a USB stick, if the 64 bit copy the f6flpy-x64 to the USB stick. See my wiki for more details on extracting with 7zip and where to load the driver.
Edit, noted that your tags are for the 32 bit.
Is the 25 digit product key on your COA readable, if so you can use Windows 7 Professional (x86). Alternatively you can use Windows 7 Professional (x64), if you want to switch to the 64 bit version. Follow the instructions here, to make a bootable USB or DVD.