Got past the video driver issue only to run smack into another one: the modem. It's a GVC SF1156I/R2F. I found a driver that someone had uploaded to the net, and tried installing it, but that didn't help, and there's no driver available directly from Dell or GVC.
Dell gets its low prices through sleazy accounting tricks like refusing to pay for something that's in their warehouse until it's actually installed in a system, thereby making their suppliers eat the cost of inventory, and by switching suppliers and components in a particular system model whenever the mood strikes them. They also do no product engineering of their own; they simply buy components from other vendors and slap them together into a system. The result is that you don't know what you're getting when you buy a Dell...except that it's crap.
I disliked Dell even before I went to work for Compaq. Working there just cemented my dislike for them.
Anyway, I STILL haven't gotten my boss's system running, and it's beginning 1) to make me look bad and 2) to royally piss me off.