I realize this question has been somewhat addressed in the following topics:
How to reinstall Vista without the installation disk
How do I reset my WinXP installation without having to reinstall the OS
However, neither of these fully answered the question as far as I'm concerned. People suggest using System Restore, which only affects the registry and NOT programs added after a restore point is created. Then someone says you need the DVD, which, as described in the question, is not available.
So I have the Vista OEM key, as provided on the bottom of my Gateway laptop. I just don't know where my Vista installation disc is, or whether I even received one.
So, some bonus questions:
Is my only option just to borrow a Vista CD from somebody else?
And if I do that, will the installation work with my Gateway-provided Vista OEM key?