You should have just run the Vista install that came with the machine. Vista gets much more flack than it deserves, a large portion of it from people trying to run it on excessively old hardware. It runs just fine on every system I've installed it on that is less than 5-6 years old.
How many Unix hacks does it take to change a light bulb? Let's see, can you use a shell script for that or does it need a C program?