I'm thinking that the computer may need a factory re-install of the OS because 1. its not my laptop and 2. the user of the laptop has little regard for security or updating.
Does anyone else have any ideas before I commit to a factory reinstall?
Well, you may be answering your own question. If the user has such little regard for network security they hold their files in a similar regard. In a larger context Vista has always been problematic, it's probably a driver issue, but impossible to say without a boatload of info.