Is there no way to put a bootable instance of linux onto the hard drive?
I had forgotten that the first part of the Vector Linux install is the basic console stuff. X is added 2nd. The couple times I have tried it, moving a hard drive from one PC to another if fine with console stuff. I don't think moving video and sound is as forgiving, unless the PCs have the same hardware.
You should be able to do the first part of the install from your desktop and finish the install with X and stuff on the libretto (make sure the needed files are on the hard drive before reinstalling).
When I have an odd install to do I just read some docs and try what sounds like is workable.
Zipslack is another possible starting place.