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I just acquired a old box without a hard drive, although it has a product key certificate for Windows Vista on it. I know it is possible to download ISOs for Windows 8, but is it possible to get one for Windows Vista, or do I have to track down a copy of Windows 7?

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You may be able to get MS to mail you a CD... I dont know. However, you should be able to get an OEM Win 7 DVD & key fairly cheap. And to be honest, Windows 7 is better than Vista. – Keltari May 2 '13 at 23:19
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Its not worth the extra money though, $10 from Dell for a new disk is better than $100+ for OEM from newegg. – AthomSfere May 3 '13 at 1:15
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If the old box is manufactured by DELL or any other large manufacturer, you can get hard copies of the software installed by contacting them and quoting the serial number. It will cost but not a great amount.

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When I have ordered Dell Windows disks they cost ~$10 with shipping. – AthomSfere May 3 '13 at 1:15
    
Perfect! The box is manufactured by Dell themselves, so that helps tremendously. Thanks! – Nathan2055 May 3 '13 at 1:15

Windows Vista can be downloaded from Digital River, not as ISO though, but as a WIM image, which you can convert to ISO using Windows Vista WAIK. You can find details here: http://www.heidoc.net/joomla/technology-science/microsoft/57-windows-vista-direct-download-links

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