On a 5yr. old HP Compaq nx7010 I doubt very much you will find any Vista updates available which would be needed for the board, onboard(if used) video and sound, plus any addon devices available at the time. Yet someone managed to toss a fast 7 install on an old Pentuim II machine with only 64mb of memory to see if 7 would even run? It did for Windows with nothing else!
As for Linux you are now finally realizing support for much newer hardwares still posing nothing more then a basic install of any newer 32/64bit distro over the old 24bit releases.
(Personally I have both ubuntu 9.04 and Knoppix 5.3 installed on two usb flash drives for that option as well as live data recovery tools while leaving the main drives available for 7!