Just wanted to register to say thanks Fenuxx and to comment on a couple of things.
First off, the guide is very good. I have a Inspiron 1720 and Vista SP1 installation DVD and followed all of the instructions, only changed a couple of things, they were:
The only driver I had a problem with was the sound card one. I downloaded the file that Fenuxx stated, but unfortunatly when I tried to install it, it complaned that it couldnt find the device. No worries, I just downloaded the 1720 one from the dell website and it was fine.
The second item was that Fenuxx points out that ACHI should be disabled, prior to installing. I didnt want to disable ACHI as I would also have to disable flash cache module. To get around this, I used the Intel Matrix Storage Driver for the 1720 (which I downloaded from the dell website), unzipped it and installed on a usb drive. When the setup process for Vista got to the point where I was choosing which partition Vista was going, you have an option to install a driver. I just navigated to the location of the driver, installed and it was fine. Be aware - you need to leave the usb drive connected as it requires it again when the computer restarts the first time I left it in for the whole process). This worked fine, no problems - ACHI is still enabled and everything works fine.
I disabled the indexing as Fenuxx points out. The two drives were completely disabled (including all subfolders and files) but when I went in to keep the "Start Menu" indexed, there was nothing in the control panel settings to remove (not even the "Start Menu". According to the indexing options, im still indexing 142 files, so maybe the indexing is still going, but the computer is working fantastically. Does anyone know how to add a location to be indexed ??
One last thing, for anyone wondering like me, using drivers which were not specified drivers for your model installed fine, apart from the sound card as above.
Thanks again Fenuxx, fantastic guide.