By default the Inspiron comes with 4 partitions - EISA Configuration Partition, Recovery Partition, Vista Partition and Media Direct Partition (http://www.goodells.net/dellrestore/vista.htm)
As far as I can make out Media Direct is Dell's facility to allow access to multimedia without booting the full Vista OS. I can't see much use for that - Has anyone found this a useful feature? If so, why?
The EISA Configuration Partition is used to run Dell Diagnostics and to reinstall the recovery partition. Is this correct? I plan to have my own disk images for Vista (using Acronis TrueImage Home) so don't really need the recovery partition. The recovery disk image will come with McAfee and various other bloatware that I don't want anyway.
By pressing F8 on boot up you get a screen called "Advanced Boot Options" - which allows you to do a number of things including "Repair your computer", "Safe Mode", "Safe Mode with Networking", etc. Would this screen become unusable if the EISA partition was deleted?
By pressing F5 on boot up you get a screen entitled "Windows Boot Manager". By default on this screen you have 2 options "Vista" or "Windows memory diagnostic". If I deleted the EISA partition would this "Windows Memory Diagnostic" tool not be available?
It appears that this "Windows Memory Diagnostic" tool is not as comprehensive as those tools supplied on the Dell Diagnostics CD. Would this be a safe assumption?
Are there any other diagnostics on the EISA partition? If so how do you access them?
Ideally I'd like to wipe out the hard drive of all factory defaults and just have one partition for Vista. What major reasons are there for not doing this?
If the advice received is that it is best to keep the EISA, Recovery and MediaDirect partitions - is it possible to back up and restore these to disk images using Acronis True Image just as you would the Vista partiton? Do all these partitions interfere if you want to have a multiboot OS (maybe linux and xp) system?
What are the steps to install Vista if you want to keep EISA but delete MediaDirect and Recovery partitions?
What are the steps to install Vista if you want to delete EISA, MediaDirect and Recovery partitions?
In both cases I understand that you have to supply the Dell Drivers CD when Vista asks "Do you want to load a driver?" as the 1720 uses SATA and not IDE hard drives - is that correct?
Any other tips for installing Vista would be much appreciated.