Just spent 1h changing BIOS setting, everything from SATA-AHCI to ACPI settings, then to a full bios update.... with no avail.
My retail VISTA SP1 disk would boot but and get stuck forever right after it displayed the setup screen. I could move the mouse but the menus to click on would never load.
THE SOLUTION: Believe it or not... ALL BIOSes come by default enabled to display a 1.44 floppy (you know, the one nobody uses anymore)... I do not have a floppy disk but the BIOS has it enabled by default anyway. The quick fix was to set the setting to DISABLED ... and voila Vista SP1 installed right along.