I upgraded from XP to Vista. Since I purchased my XPS 700 as soon as it came out I did not qualify for Dell’s free Vista upgrade.

My XP install had a ton of junk left on from installing apps, removing them, games I did not play etc. So I figured that I’d just boot off of the Vista upgrade DVD and do a clean install.

The idea was to

  1. Backup the data to an external USB HD
  2. Wipe out the hardrive
  3. Clean install without putting in a product key (Vista lets you run unactivated for 30 days)
  4. Boot, and install the upgrade using the upgrade activation key

Sigh. Well I did backup my data and using the Vista clean install to wipe the hard drive worked perfectly.

Vista would not accept that my hard drive as a valid place to install on. Even putting the drivers from Dell and nvidia on a CD would not work.

I ended up having my two drives separated, installing an unactivated Vista, and downloading and installing vLite.

The vLite application lets you create an install DVD image with the update drivers. It even lets you burn the DVD directly from the application. Until I got the image booted I was in a pretty foul mood since the update XPS BIOS on my machine would no longer install XP Media Center 2005 that came with my XPS 700.

Once that was done I went into the BIOS and re-established the joined drives and started from scratch.

Now steps 3 and 4 worked and I’m keeping the DVD I burned. Using vLite saved me from making a Dell support call that would have ended really badly.