from irc://irc.freenode.net/#vectorlinux helped me to fine tune the process of getting VL on a laptop that didn't have any conventional method of getting something installed. So here it is, for anyone who wants to know.
The laptop must be able to boot from NIC (PXE boot) but most do this anyway.
Some computer in your network must act as a PXE server. I used my XP machine and a free tool called Tftpd32
Ofcourse options can vary for the Tftp server, but I REALLY had a hard time getting this to work so I don't know what is important. I'll just post screenshots of what worked for me. (See attachments)
Copy the isolinux folder from the installation .iso to the pxe folder.
Add this file to your pxe folder:\pxelinux.cfg\default
#append initrd=/isolinux/initrd.img load_ramdisk=1 prompt_ramdisk=0 ramdisk_size=18000 rw root=/dev/ram
append initrd=/isolinux/init.gz vga=791 splash=verbose load_ramdisk=1 prompt_ramdisk=0 ramdisk_size=75000 rw root=/dev/ram
Reboot the laptop from NIC boot (maybe add the option in the BIOS) and the installer will start but fail to load the .iso.
Drop to the console, insert a USB stick or external drive containing the .ISO and mount it, as well as a partition that you are not going to use to install root on.
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/usb
mount /dev/hda4 /mnt/hd
cp /mnt/usb/vectlinu.iso /mnt/hd
It will be found and installation will proceed. Awesome!
usbstick was not autodetected by the installer, it crashed.
external ntfsdrive cannot be mounted, fuse is not available in the installer
The manual sais rename the .iso to 8.3 format using ALL CAPS. This will make the installers fail because the extension must be lower case.
I left partitioning stuff out of this because people needing linux usually know what they are doing anyway. But I hope this helps someone.