Im not familiar with the business of laptops, but isn't NORMAL that they'd stop producing batteries for a 2+ years old laptop? They continued quite long after the model was discontinued I'd say.
What Im going to do with mine is simply replace the cells. If you are careful enough when opening the casing, and buying exact replicas, you'd save quite a bundle and be able to do it over and over and over and over and over until your laptop is WAY WAY WAY obsolete
Oh and Vista drivers for the Z71v..... what do you mean? the ATK drivers for the FN functions? I cant think of other drives required specific to the Z71v. Motherboard is default, screen is plug-n-play, graphic card is Nvidia. So ya... what's the driver issue?