The Vista drivers should work. However, if Dell does issue Windows 7 drivers, it will probably be closer to the full Retail release of Windows 7 or even after the official release for some models that they will support, from what I remember about drivers being released when Vista came out. However, don't look for Dell to support all models with Windows 7 drivers; keep in mind Dell is in the business of selling new PC's.
Dell forum member since 2002
Dell Inspiron 15 - 5577 Laptop
Home Built Desktop PC with ASUS ROG Z170, i7 6700K CPU
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I am using Windows 7 64bit on my Inspiron 1520 right now, without any problems. Most of the drivers are included with Windows 7. Only a few others are needed, 1) graphics card, 2) Ricoh R5C833 media card reader, 3) Synaptics TouchPad
If you have Intel graphics, the drivers are found here: Intel Download Center
Product Family: Graphics
Product Line: Laptop Graphics Controllers
Product Name: Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family
Operating System: Windows 7, 64-bit
If you have nVidia graphics, the drivers are found here: nVidia Drivers
Product Type: GeForce
Product Series: GeForce 8M Series (Notebooks)
Operating System: Windows 7 64-bit
If you clean install Windows 7, you'll notice that there are some unknown devices in the Device Manager (Other Devices with a yellow question mark next to them). These are for the the Ricoh Media R5C833 card reader built into the side of the laptop. Drivers can be found straight from Dell (listed for another laptop): Dell Search for R234107 (or search dell yourself for R234107).
The file is R234107. When you run it, it will extract the driver to a directory of your choosing. You can either continue with graphical installation (I did not try this), or install the drivers manually in the device manager (this works well).
You can download official Synaptics TouchPad drivers directly from the Synaptics Download Page. I had some trouble with the tap-zones in driver version 14.0.3, so if this is still the latest version posted, you might try some beta drivers from the LaptopVideo2Go forums.
mdmower, here's the link <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell> to obtain the R234107 Ricoh Vista/Win7 drivers.
about the Synaptics touchpad drivers, if you get them from the Synaptics web site, they are generic drivers while the ones from the Dell support site are Dell-OEM specific touchpad drivers careful with that one or you may lose some customizations with these drivers.
I prefer the search for R234107 since it brings up one result with "Ricoh Card Reader R5C833" in the title, whereas the direct link leads to a download page where the user hasn't a clue what they're getting (this is Dell's fault for not properly titling download pages).
While Synaptic's drivers are generic, I find there are FAR more options available in them than in the Dell OEM specific drivers. Also, all of the options work correctly. Frankly, the word "generic" is misleading (albeit technically correct) in the sense that Dell's drivers actually cripple Synaptics drivers to reduce their functionality. The only hurdle that needs to be overcome in switching to Synaptic's generic drivers is that middle click needs to be done with tap-zones now, rather than simultaneously pressing the left and right mouse buttons.
Can't do a fresh Win7 install on my 1520. It will not let me past the driver install section without the cirrect drivers.
I can't imagine what "driver install section" you're referring to. Are you using a legitimate copy of Windows 7? Are you trying to install RAID drivers, and if so why?