First up - Retain the ultra-cool, don't-have-to-activate OEM Vista.
Important note - I am not doing anything that I believe to be against the License Terms of Microsoft's Vista. As far as I know, if you are licensed for a version of Vista, you are additionally licensed for the 64bit flavor of that version. You cannot run both at the same time (i.e. running 64bit Home Premium on your laptop and using the same license to run 32bit on another system). I will not assist anyone in violating Microsoft's licensing . I also assume no liability if your computer stops working, or starts ejecting toasted human hands from the DVD drive. Oh yeah - back up your data first. You're gonna wipe it before we're done here!
- Your original Gateway Vista DVD.
- A copy of 64bit Vista (I used my Technet subscription)
- A 4GB flash drive of some kind
- Create a folder on your system called "New Gateway Vista".
- Copy EVERYTHING from the root of your 64bit Vista DVD into the folder created in step 1.
- Copy \sources\pid.txt from your original Gateway Vista DVD to \Sources in the folder created in step 1.
- Copy the entire folder \sources\$OEM$ from your original Gateway Vista DVD to \Sources in the folder created in step 1.
- Insert your flash drive into your system and follow these steps (from Kurt Shintaku's blog posting):
Run CMD.EXE and type the following. (Note: This set of commands assumes that the USB flash drive is addressed as "disk 1". you should double check that by doing a list of the disks (type "list disk") before cleaning it. If you have multiple hard drives, like an SDFlash drive or a Multibay drive, you could end up wiping your second drive using this command.)
2. select disk 1
4. create partition primary
5. select partition 1
7. format fs=fat32
- Copy everything from the folder created in step 1 to the root onto your flash drive.
- Boot from your flash drive and Vista will install happily (and quite speedily).
Once you get through this procedure, you'll have a base install of Windows Vista Home Premium, 64bit. Congrats - now you can start dealing with the drivers.