The hard drive crashed and I have replaced it but do not have a Vista Home Premium install disk. What is the cheapest method to reinstall using the certificate of authenticity that came with the machine. I tried to install Windows XP but it would not allow the installation even though I have a certificate of authenticity.
The "key" only works on one version of windows. Whatever came on the machine is what the key is good for. I used to do reinstalls with my vista discs provided the owner of the computer still had the key sticker on the machine. If you ask around repair shops you might find a kind hearted soul that would do that for a small fee. Or ask around if any of your buds or family has a vista disc you could borrow. Use that disc and the key on the machine and you should be good to go.
Remember to download all the hardware drivers after you get the OS installed.