Vista does not come with a reinstall disk. Your only option after a crash is to restore to a snapshot point, a backup image point, or to put things back to factory conditions with empty disks (other than Windows and factory-installed software.)
You can’t take a backup of the registry and just restore it. Yet if even one entry in the registry is wrong, your entire machine will not work. You can use regedit.exe to save the registry, or parts of the registry in text form. You can restore these snippets, but the registry as a whole must work working ok with no ruined crucial pieces, before you can do that. It also require some technical skill to find the various places your apps hide information in the registry. At least if you have a copy of the entire registry in text form that you have a chance of doing a manual repair with help from an expert.
Before you try a complete reinstall, try booting to the install CD and selecting repair. If that does not work, boot to windows (if it is still semi-functional) and run setup on CD and select upgrade. A complete install will leave your old files in C:\Windows.old\. You will need a fair chunk of room for that, roughly double what windows is using now. You may need to temporarily grow your C: partition with a tool like Boot-It Bare Metal.
After you get windows working, get your SET environment variables reinstalled. I do this with a TCC (Take Command Command line) btm file with
Restore your C:\users\userid\.keystore file. It contains your certificates. You don’t need to do this when you install a new version of Java. It preserves it.
Find the files for a given app in C:\Windows.old\, and move them into C:\Users\ where they belong then install the corresponding app.
Make a list of all the apps you want to install and tick them off as you install them. You can build it from the names of the various Program Files and Program Files (x86) directories. Look in your CD case. Look at the desktop directory in C:\Windows.old\
This is a good time to fetch the latest upgrades of all the software. Check VerCheck to find out what the latest version is. For apps you decide to drop, you can simply delete their Progam Files and C:\users files.
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