New HD, no OS, what do I do?


I reckon I'm a rank newbie compared to many of the postings I have browsed.

My daughter's laptop is a Sony VGN-NS20E and her HD graunchingly stopped before she/we could extract useful data. She did not do a backup or make a recovery disk like she should have done (tut, tut, I hear you say!) so she has a new clean HD now, a Microsoft label with her authorization code, and a father (me!) running Windows XP but with little useful software or knowledge to do much more.

Can I download some sort of recovery program which I can then burn to CD to reinstate her Vista Home Premium? I'm clearly out of my depth and would be grateful for someone to point me in the right direction.
Hi Ulf, welcome to NST.
You'll need to find a friend/acquaintance with a Vista DVD if you want a no-cost option.
If you can find one and borrow it, just do a clean install of Vista to the new HDD quoting your daughter's Vista key not the one on the DVD.
If you can't do that, your next cheapest option will be to get a set of recovery media from Sony, appropriate for your daughter's PC model. They will make a charge, but it should be less costly than forking out for a new copy of Vista. (Probably better to buy Windows 7 than go the last route anyway. It's a nicer OS generally, and will run on any PC that can run Vista)
Thanks very much, Terry60, for your clear advice. It is reassuring to have such a plan to follow rather than my previous, time-wasting, frustrating floundering.