How to manually reinstall Windows Vista

How to manually reinstall Windows Vista

As of April 11, 2017, Windows Vista customers are no longer receiving new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft. This article will no longer be updated and remains for information only. Please visit the Microsoft site for the full end of support statement.

In certain cases, you may need to manually reinstall Windows Vista operating system on your Dell computer.

Before you begin

  • Restoring your computer to its original factory settings takes less time than reinstalling Windows Vista. Going back to factory settings could be a better solution for you. Keep in mind that after reinstalling Windows Vista, you will no longer have this option.
  • An optical drive is required to reinstall your operating system using the Windows Vista CD/DVD. If you don’t have an optical drive, you can send in your computer for repair or purchase an optical drive.
  • If your computer has more than one hard drive and a RAID configuration installed, refer to your User’s Guide for instructions on how to configure it for reinstallation.

You will need

  • Dell Operating System Reinstallation CD/DVD
  • Dell Resource CD/DVD (also available on the Dell Drivers and Downloads page)
  • Any software and/or documentation for your Internet service connection
  • Any program installation discs
  • Any installation discs for external devices (such as a printer) and internal devices added to your Dell computer after purchase
  • If you did not receive installation media with your Dell computer, access backup and recovery software without installation media.

Step 1: Back up your important files and data

It’s a good idea to back up important files and data regularly, especially before you reinstall Windows Vista. If you don’t back up your data, you could lose your personal files.

Note: If you have a Dell Inspiron, Studio or XPS System, use your DataSafe Local Backup 2.0 program. If you have a Dell OptiPlex, Latitude, Vostro or Precision, use your Backup and Recovery Manager program.
  1. Open the Backup and Restore menu by clicking Start, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Backup and Restore Center.
  2. Under Backup files or your entire computer, choose Backup files. If this is your first backup, click Set up backup, and follow the instructions.
  3. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type your password or provide your confirmation, and click Continue.
    • Choose where you want to back up your files. Click either On a hard disk, CD or DVD or On a network, and choose a location.
    • Click Next.
    • Click the check boxes next to the files you want to back up, and click Next.
    • Leave the default settings for How often do you want to create a backup?
    • Click Save settings and start backup. The backup may take several minutes.
      Note: If you back up on a disc, you may be asked to enter more CDs or DVDs to complete your backup. Remember to label the discs in order.
    • When you see Backup Complete, continue to Step 2.

Step 2: Disconnect nonessential devices from your computer.

  1. Turn off your computer.
  2. Remove the following devices connected to your computer except your keyboard, monitor and mouse:
  • Scanners
  • Printers
  • Modems and network cables
  • External hard drives
  • All USB connected devices
  • If applicable, remove your computer from the docking station.

Step 3: Reinstall Windows Vista using the Dell Operating System Reinstallation CD/DVD.

  1. Turn on your computer.
  2. Open the disc drive, insert the Windows Vista CD/DVD and close the drive.
  3. Restart your computer.
  4. When prompted, open the Install Windows page by pressing any key to boot the computer from the CD/DVD.
  5. Note: If the Install Windows page doesn’t appear and the computer doesn’t boot from the CD/DVD, try the following:
    • Restart your computer.
    • To open the Boot menu, when you see the Dell logo, press the F12 key several times.
    • On the Boot menu, click the CD/DVD drive (may appear as CDROM, CD/DVD or CD/DVD/CD-RW), and then press Enter.
  6. Under Vista Setup, select your preferred Language, Time, Currency and Keyboard Method, and then click Next.
  7. Click Install Now.
  8. Review the license terms, and click I accept the license terms to continue.
  9. Click Custom (advanced) for Which type of instillation do you want?
  10. Under Where do you want to install Windows, select the largest Primary Partition and then clickNext.
  11. If the Primary Partition has 0GB free, select the line for Unallocated Space and then click Next.
  12. Note: Your computer will restart several times during the reinstall.
    • Under Setup, type a username and password, and select a picture for your account.
    • Use the default or recommended settings on the next few screens, and then click Next.
    • Click to select your time zone, and then click Next.
    • To finish the reinstall, click Start.

Step 4: Install Dell drivers.

Before you begin, you will need a list of components in your computer to select the correct drivers.
  1. Open System Configuration by clicking Start, clicking Control Panel and then clicking System and Maintenance.
  2. Click Administrative Tools, and then double-click System Configuration.
  3. Click the Original System Configuration tab, enter your device’s Service Tag and then click Continue.
  4. You will see the list of components on your computer.
  5. Insert the Dell Resource CD/DVD or go to the Dell Drivers and Downloads page.
  6. On the Dell Drivers and Downloads page, install the drivers that match the components on your computer.
    Note: Print the list of drivers below, so you can install them in order. Some devices may not work if installed in the wrong order.
Driver or application name Category What it does
1. Dell System Software System Utilities Provides critical updates and patches for the operating system.
2. Chipset driver Chipset Helps Windows control system board components and controllers, such as USB ports and other internal components.
3. PCMCIA and/or Smartcard drivers Security Enables PCMCIA and Smartcard slot capability.
4. Intel Matrix Storage Manager Serial ATA The Intel storage driver is only applicable to Intel chipset computers.
5. Audio driver Audio Enables and enhances the audio controller.
6. Video driver Video Enhances video performance.
7. Network interface card or ethernet drivers Network Enhances the network controller for internet or network access.
8. ControlPoint System Manager, ControlPoint Security Manager, and ControlPoint Connection Manager

Note: This driver is only needed for some Latitude laptops, and depending on your system configuration, you might not need to install all three parts.
Control Point The Dell ControlPoint (DCP) controls power management for some Dell Latitude laptops. ControlPoint System Manager controls power management and ambient light sensor settings, ControlPoint Security Manager controls security features, and ControlPoint Connection Manager controls wireless connection profiles.
9. Dell Quickset Application Controls power management and ambient light sensors.
10. Wireless network drivers Network Enables and enhances the wireless network controller.
11. Bluetooth drivers

Note: If this driver is not available, then your computer doesn't have Bluetooth capability. Continue to the next driver on the list.
Network Enables and controls Bluetooth connectivity.
12. Mouse, keyboard, touchpad and input device drivers Mouse, Keyboard & Input Devices Enhances pointing device features.
13. Intel vPro or AMT (if available) Chipset Enhances system manageability.
14. Dell wireless mobile broadband card drivers (if available) Network Enables wireless broadband connectivity.
15. Modem drivers (if available) Modem/Communications Allows dial-up capability.
16. Dell Digitech touch screen driver (if available) Mouse, Keyboard & Input Devices Enables touch screen input on select Dell laptops.

Step 5: Connect your computer to the Internet or network.

Plug in all network and modem cables you disconnected in Step 2 before you reinstalled Windows Vista.

If your computer connects to the Internet with a wireless network card
If your computer connects to the Internet with a router
  1. To start the Connect to the Internet wizard, click Start and then click Control Panel.
  2. Click Network and Sharing Center, and then click Setup a connection or network.
  3. To start the wizard, click Connect to the Internet.
  4. To test your Internet connection, click and launch your web browser. If you are able to load a web page, you are connected to the Internet and can continue to Step 6.
  5. If you can’t connect to the Internet
  • Wait a few minutes and try again.
  • See the Microsoft Knowledge Base article Why can’t I find a wireless network?
  • Reinstall the connection software provided by your Internet service provider (ISP).

Step 6: Install critical and recommended Windows updates.

Once you connect to the Internet, it’s important to install recommended and critical Windows updates. These updates give your computer better security and reliability.
  1. Open Windows Update by clicking Start, pointing to All Programs and then clicking Windows Update.
  2. In the left pane, click Check for updates.
  3. If updates are found, click View available updates.
  4. Note: Optional updates aren’t installed automatically. To install optional updates, select the optional updates you want to install.
  5. Click Install.
  6. If you’re prompted for an administrator password, type your password. If you’re asked for confirmation, provide confirmation.

To turn on Automatic Updates
  1. Open Windows Update by clicking Start, pointing to All Programs and then clicking Windows Update.
  2. In the left pane, click Change settings.
  3. Choose the option you want.
  4. Under Recommended updates, select the Include recommended updates when downloading, installing or notifying me about updates check box, and then click OK.
  5. If you’re prompted for an administrator password, type your password. If you’re asked for confirmation, provide confirmation.

Step 7: Reinstall your programs.

Read and follow instructions for all programs you wish to install on your computer.

Step 8: Reinstall your third-party devices.

Some devices such as scanners or printers require you to reinstall their software before you reattach the device. Read and follow the instructions for each third-party device.

Step 9: Restore your personal files and data from backups

  1. Open the Backup and Restore menu by clicking Start, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and clicking Backup and Restore Center.
  2. Click Advanced Restore.
  3. Click Files from a backup made on a different computer, and then click Next.
  4. If you backed up to an external hard drive, make sure it’s connected, and click Next. If you backed up to a CD or DVD, insert it, and click Next.
  5. Click the check box next to Restore everything in this backup, and click Next. The restore may take several minutes.
  6. Note: If you backed up to more than one disc, the restore will prompt you to enter more discs. Remember to insert the discs in order.
  7. When you see Restore Complete, your personal files are restored to your computer.

Article ID: SLN130023

Last Date Modified: 05/14/2020 09:11 AM

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