Please follow this this thread. Its for the Inspiron 1000 but the steps are all the same for the inspiron 1501. http://www.fixya.com/support/t1498433-dell_laptop_inspiron_1000
To reinstall the drivers please read the driver reinstallation guide and this will help you as well. Step by step instructions on how to install the OS and then install the drivers as well. http://tinyurl.com/636evy Post back if you still need help.
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No laptop is trashed when a password is lost. It just takes a little time to find out how to get into the system. I'll assume it is running XP Home that was originally installed on it from the specs I saw when researching. I'll also assume the password is not the one necessary to get into the BIOS CMOS setup- that one can normally be cleared by removing the CMOS battery and letting it set for a few hours or longer so the information is lost. The OS password can be cleared by making a bootable disk for that purpose. I have a Unix CD program that I made from information I downloaded from the Internet. You can do the same if you have access to a CD burner on another computer, say a friend's or one at work. I can get you the program's name if that's the route you want to take.
Step 1: The Dell Inspiron 1501 is a laptop computer which ships with the Windows Vista operating system. Recovering a lost password can seem difficult, as you will be locked out of the passworded account until remedial measures are taken, but it is not impossible. Recover from a lost password on your Dell Vista system by using the password-recovery features of your operating system.
Restart your Dell 1501 and tap "F8" as the computer is booting. Choose the "Safe Mode" option and press "Enter." Select the "Administrator" account to log in to the computer in Safe Mode. Click "Start," type "control userpasswords2" in the "Search" box and press "Enter." Click on the locked account and press "Reset Password." This resets and recovers the password on your Dell computer.
Dell Laptop with bios or hard drive password set ? Unlock your dell laptop using the link below if it display a message that says "this computer system is protected by a password authentication system, you cannot access the data on this computer without the primary or administrator password, when you turn on the computer. This message is what you get if the BIOS is protected by a password. or you get system disabled