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I want Vista out of my PC and XP back in, but how?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / April 19, 2007 7:44 AM PDT
Question:
I recently purchased a new desktop preloaded with Windows Vista Home. But after some frustrating moments of attempting to install and run a few of my favorite programs, I've realized that Vista just isn't playing nice and simply just won't run them! On top of that I even have a couple of peripherals left out in the cold because of a driver incompatibility issue with Vista. This is so irritating! I've decided that the best thing to do is go back to Windows XP because everything worked flawlessly on my old system--but how do I go about it? What are all the necessary steps I need to take to get me going on my new machine with XP loaded on it? Can I use the system recovery disk from my old XP computer to replace Vista with XP on my new computer? Or will I have to buy another copy of Windows XP? Thank you for any help you can provide.

--Submitted by Franklin S.

Answer voted most helpful by our members:

Title: Downgrading a new Vista system to XP
Franklin,

Well, your question (which I?ve seen several times now in a number of contexts) raises quite a few issues, and not all of them are technical ... in some cases, there are some legal and even ?moral? issues as well. In responding, there?s a question with all of the responders face, which is whether to discuss options that might be physically possible but not legal. I?m going to take the approach of disclosing what is possible. I?ll leave the legal and moral issues to the attorneys and your conscience.

Also, before going further, some people who get a new PC with Vista are reverting back to XP because they simply don?t like Vista, or can?t get something to work. So, before going to the heart of your problem, let me offer two suggestions to those people, although this is not your situation, and your reasons for wanting to go back to XP are far from cosmetic. But, for those who think that they don?t like Vista, or can?t get it to network properly with their other machines (especially XP machines), let me make these two suggestions:

1. Before giving up on Vista, right click the Vista start button and select the ?Classic? start menu (which will also give you the ?Classic? desktop). Vista will become DRAMATICALLY more friendly and more like what you are used to. You will still have (if you had it before) access to ?Aero (Glass)? and all of the other Vista ?eye candy?. But the system will behave much more ?XP-like? (and, indeed, even ?Windows 98-like? ... I actually recommend this for XP as well, which also as a ?classic mode? that is turned off by default). By the way, if you don?t like it, it?s a simple mouse click to go back as well.

2. If you can?t get Vista networking working, especially if you can?t get your XP computers to see drives, files or folders on your Vista system:

a. first, read the Microsoft document at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/network/evaluate/vista_fp.mspx

b. Even after reading this and using it?s recommendations and procedures, you may find that sharing still doesn't work unless you turn off all security (passwords). In many cases, this is caused by a "feature" that exists in both XP and Vista involving zero-length passwords. XP Pro, Media Center and Vista will not allow network access to network computers that have zero-length passwords. You may see the computer, but will get a "you do not have permission ...." message if you actually try to access it.

To fix this:
Start / run / gpedit.msc (start the group policy editor)

Open the tree:
Computer configuration / Windows Settings / Security Settings / Local Policies / Security Options

Find the item:
Accounts: Limit local account use of blank passwords to console login only

If this item is enabled, you will not be able to logon to other computers on the network that have blank (zero-length) passwords. IT IS ENABLED BY DEFAULT

Change it to disabled

This will fix a ton of network access problems on many home networks where no user account passwords are implemented

3. Some things that seem not to install under Vista on a first attempt can be installed if you use a ?compatibility mode?, and/or if you set the installation program and/or the installed .exe program to ?run as administrator?. For example, HP says that the software for the model 5470C and 5490C scanners is not and will never be Vista compatible (literally, their answer is ?buy a new scanner?). But, in fact I was able to get it installed and working at least seemingly perfectly simply by setting the scanner software?s .exe file to ?run as administrator? after it was installed.

4. The availability and quality of Vista drivers will improve over time. The tuner on my ATI ?All-in-Wonder 2006? Card does not currently work under Vista, but ATI has indicated that they do expect it to be supported at a later time, although that point may still be a number of months in the future. HP has made similar comments about some models of printers, scanners and multi-function devices which currently either have no drivers or only partially functional ?interim? drivers (while, at the same time, both ATI and HP as well as other firms will also tell you that many older products simply will never have Vista drivers (for example, my HP 5470C scanner .... but sometimes, the XP drivers can be made to work under Vista anyway)).

Now, on to your problem: How to install Windows XP on a system that came with Vista.

First, you need a copy of XP. To be legal, and to be certain of activating and passing all WGA tests, this needs to be either an ?OEM Copy? bought new for this machine (never previously installed on any other computer), or a retail copy (full product, not upgrade) that either was never installed on any other computer, or that at least is not currently installed on any other computer.

You specifically asked ?Can I use the system recovery disk from my old XP computer to replace Vista with XP on my new computer??; the answer is that you can?t do it legally. But in some cases it may be physically possible if you don?t care about the legalities, particularly if the two computers were made by the same OEM (e.g. Dell, for example). Also, SOME Vista licenses, but not all of them, actually allow the Vista license to be ?downgraded? and used to make XP installation legal, but even in these cases, they do not (and will not) supply either the XP install media or the XP product key. And, finally, most computer technicians would know how to use an ?upgrade? copy of XP, although in the situation that you describe, it would NOT be legal under the terms of the license agreement.

But, all that said, the first task at hand is to obtain a suitable copy of Windows XP that will allow installation, activation and passing all ?WGA? tests. And now that Vista has replaced XP in stores and at many computer dealers, that in and of itself is becoming increasingly difficult, unfortunately.

The next task is to find all of the necessary suitable drivers for XP. This is usually possible, but can be difficult, and it?s most difficult with a notebook computer. [As an example of this, in 2003 I needed to install Windows 98 on a Toshiba 1415, which had never been supported by Toshiba for Windows 98. I did manage to find all of the necessary drivers, but the effort required was tremendous, taking almost 100 hours of research, downloading and testing.] Fortunately, at this time, I don?t believe that there are any major chips (e.g. CPU chipsets, video, audio, LAN, etc.) for which XP drivers actually do not exist, but finding the ?right? compatible drivers can be very difficult, since they may well not be conveniently available from the computer?s manufacturer, and the chip maker?s ?generic? drivers don?t always work, especially when the chip is installed in a laptop. The best case is a model which, while now supplied with Vista, was at one time offered with XP. In those cases, the necessary drivers are probably on the manufacturer?s web site, and you might even be able to find a source of an XP OEM install CD (you will still need a valid license and product key). In the worst case, expect to do a lot of research, downloading and experimenting. It helps a lot to do this on a spare ?scrap? hard drive, indeed I?d recommend that you remove the drive that came with your machine (your ?Vista? drive), save it, and get a new drive for the XP installation. Also, do not connect to the internet and do not even attempt to activate Windows (XP) until you have the entire configuration fully working. You may end up installing Windows on a ?trial? basis a dozen or more times while experimenting and attempting to find all of the necessary pieces and get the all integrated correctly. You definitely do not want to hit the Microsoft activation servers each of those times, as they will almost certainly come to the conclusion that you are trying to ?pirate? windows and will ultimately deny activation to your product key. Don?t activate Windows until everything is working to your satisfaction.

The drivers that you will typically need, and the order in which you will need them, are:

-An ?F6 Driver? for Windows installation (MAYBE, but not in all cases)(get this from the motherboard manufacturer if needed)
-CPU Chipset
-SATA and/or RAID driver (possibly required if the hard drive is not conventional IDE)
-Video
-Audio
-LAN
-External peripherals (printer, scanner, webcam, etc.)

How difficult installing XP becomes is hard to say and will vary on a model-by-model basis, but at this time, my guess is that all of the necessary drivers are generally available in almost all cases. Consequently, it will generally become a matter of getting a copy of Windows and then of tracking down the necessary drivers.

I hope that this is helpful,

Sincerely,
Barry Watzman
--Submitted by Barry (CNET member Watzman

If you have any additional advice or recommendations for Franklin, let's hear them. Click on the "Reply" link to post. Thanks!
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New Vista Computer Problems
by drjoebdavis / April 20, 2007 12:23 PM PDT

Franklin,

I fear that you must understand that Vista is not just an upgrade to XP. It has many more changes than just a fancy Service Pack and many of the internal parts are significantly different.

You can check out the Microsoft website for compatible software. If your's isn't listed, it may or may not function with Vista. The same thing goes for peripherals, unless the manufacturer has a new driver for Vista. You can the manufacturer's website if the peripheral isn't functioning correctly. Lots of luck on this, as many manufacturers are either behind on updating drivers or have chosen to not update at all.

Going back to Windows XP sounds like your best solution for now. However, you probably won't find that quite as simple as you'd like. Microsoft has made it impossible, without doing a lot of hacking, to use XP on two machines at once. The bottom line is that you will need to buy another copy of Windows XP. You can soften the blow somewhat by shopping around for an OEM copy of XP. Be sure you're dealing with a reputable reseller and that you get a copy which includes the Service Pack 2 upgrade.

If you have the original Windows Vista recovery disks, hold on to them. If not, use the Vista utility to make yourself a set of recovery disks and store them in a safe place. You just may change your mind later. Best of luck.

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my vista wont work on mu pc
by lew ,man / July 29, 2007 2:00 AM PDT

i bought the vists home premium cd it wont worm on my pc it any way i can get refunded i no it a cd if i cant use iton my cp it should be refinded as not my fault it wont work on my cp necwe had no proublem with all other windowers upgrade thanks for u help

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"XP Recovery CD" suggests the answer
by Jim Johnson / April 20, 2007 12:35 PM PDT

Dear Franklin:
When you use the term 'Recovery CD', I am assuming you bought a PC with XP pre-installed and the manufacturer provided a CD specific to your PC. If so, the answer [which you undoubtedly prefer not to hear] is that your XP license is tied to a specific machine and not transferable to your new PC.

Even if it were legal to transfer your license, attempting to install XP from most manufacturers' recovery CD will cause you more grief than it is worth. Most recovery CDs include not only Windows XP, but the entire hardware configuration of the PC you purchased. XP will be mightily confused by 'waking up' in a different 'body'.

As you will likely have to purchase a new license to run XP anyhow, perhaps there is a way to avoid removing Vista and run your old programs.

1st- investigate Vista's compatibility mode. It won't work every time, but some applications that won't run under Vista will run under Vista pretending to be XP.

2nd- consider using Microsoft's free Virtual PC tool. In this scenario, Vista hosts another OS or OSes running simultaneously with Vista. You can switch on the fly between these virtual computers. Software has no idea that it isn't running on a 'applied to the bare metal' OS. The chief downside is not all hardware will work through a virtual PC - most notible in this category are USB based printers.

I remember some of these same pains you describe moving from a Windows 9x environment to Windows XP. I still have a favored printer in my attic that will not run under XP. You purchased a new computer for a reason. I urge you to stick with Vista. You may have to abandon some old favorites and find new favorites, but over the long haul you will be better off.

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you are partially right
by knight2448 / April 27, 2007 11:07 AM PDT

Well, first of all the license is for using it on one computer. I agree with that. The exception is that if you no longer use the older computer, and only have it installed on one computer at a time. You must also destroy any copies of the windows software that you may have made. I don't know about anybody else but that is the first thing I do is make a backup copy anytime I buy software.

The thing with the software that came with your old computer is that if the 2 machines are not the same brand then it probably will not work. My wife and I both have DELL computers. So the oem xp media center edition I have will work on her computer as well as mine. Hers did not come with media center edition just xp sp2. I bought windosw Vista when it first came out. That is what I am running on my computer and she runs xp mce sp2.

The only way I could see for anyone to go back to windows xp is to buy a full version of the software, at Best Buy or some other store that sells full versions. Stay away from WAL MART they only have upgrades, which are useless unless you are using windows 98.

It is really not that hard to go back to xp. The first thing I would do is get a set of drivers for your hardware from the manufacturer of your computer. Then burn the drivers to a cd or dvd.

insert your full version of windows xp, restart and boot from the cd. Then from there the process is fairly automated, except for formatting the hard drive is the first step. I hope this helps.

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New Vista Computer Problems - Addendum
by drjoebdavis / April 20, 2007 12:43 PM PDT

Franklin,

I forgot to mention a couple of things.

I've looked around for Windows XP OEM versions. You'll find both XP Home and XP Professional. But BE CAREFUL. You'll find XP Professional in 64 Bit version at lower prices. Unless you really want XP 64 Bit, steer clear of the lower price version.

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Franklin,
by midoman / April 20, 2007 1:00 PM PDT

I have recently been through the Vista road of hell and I must say that I completley comprehend your frustration with that particular OS.
The lack of support of software to undevellopped or experimental drivers have foreced me to go back to my old windows Xp professional os.

To respond to your question:

-The copy of windows xp that came with your older computer will not be enough to rollback from Vista. You will have to purchase or obtain in any other manner a full version of the Windows Xp OS. In order to rid your computer of windows vista you will have to perform a complete format of the drive and then do a clean install of windows xp. I would also recommend that you get the professional version of xp as my experience with it has left me more satisfied than its home edition counterpart.

Here are some tips for the installation:

-Make sure that your computer is set to boot from cd: this can be achieved by pressing the delete key while your computer is booting and acessing its BIOS. Set the first boot device to CD-ROM

-Restart your computer and press any key when asked to do so.

-press F8 to accept the windows Liscence and terms of agreement

-follow the rest of the instructions on the screen

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Bad news
by mlambert890 / April 20, 2007 1:06 PM PDT

Unfortunately, Vista Home OEM does not grant downgrade rights. You can look here for more detail:

http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/resources/volbrief.mspx

One thing you might consider is running some of the applications in Windows XP SP2 compatibility mode. If you right click on the application shortcut and choose properties, select the Compatibility tab and you will see the checkbox for this option.

Also, keep in mind that Vista is still fairly new. I would expect that most of the peripherals should end up being supported even though some OEMs are definitely dragging their feet.

Barring any of this, you *may* be able to get some satisfaction if you lean on the OEM a bit. WORST case, tell them you want to exchange the machine because things arent working and request a machine preloaded with XP.

Using a recovery disk from a different machine isnt a good way to go from a technical standpoint (you will be imaging the new machine with an image configured for the old one - so you will get a host of drivers and potentially added apps that you dont need and that may not work). From a licensing standpoint, it would not be allowed. OEM licenses arent transferable, so they live and die with the machine. If you had a retail copy of XP, that would be ok to install.

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What to do about your new system - XP vs. Vista
by 1stRepent / April 20, 2007 1:18 PM PDT

Howdy,
If I were you, I would first call Microsoft with 'your legal genuine' product key(COA) that is associated with your XP and request a "New Product Key" for it, i.e., XP, so that you may reinstall it on your 'New' system that currently is running Vista.

I would not forget to remind Microsoft that you have 'purchased' the right to use both operating systems and wish to install XP in place of Vista. Don't let them baffle you with bs, you bought the rights to 'use' your copy of XP on one and only one machine.

I've done this, though not to replace Vista; be curtious, patient, firm, and don't take 'no' for an answer.

Two things will happen. You will be happy with your new system running XP and Microsoft will realize again, they goofed up big time, because there are quite a few owners of both Vista AND XP out here ... good luck and have a nice day, Jeff R

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obtaining new prduct key numbers for microsoft
by kls75 / April 21, 2007 7:04 PM PDT

Hi just wondering if you are able to obtain new product keys for other micrsoft programs like office 2003.I currently bought a new laptop for my daughter and she needs microsoft office programs for school. I have a genuine copy that i bought for my desktop and i was not sure if i was able to use it legally on the new laptop aswell. I dont want to void my warranty in any way on the laptop.

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No
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / April 21, 2007 7:16 PM PDT

This isn't really the right place to ask your own questions. You should try one of the forums on the left.

But the answer is no. That genuine copy of Office 2003 you have on your own computer is valid only for your computer.

Microsoft may sell you a license but I doubt t. They will probably say you must purchase the full Office program yourself.

If your daughter needs Office for school, what does the school say about providing it? There are student licenses available but I am sure that they have to be obtained through the school itself. You could check that at Microsoft.com though.

Alternatively, you could try OpenOffice from http://www.openoffice.org/ . It's an open source office suite that is free to download and is fully compatible with all Microsoft Office products. It's latest version is Office 2007 compatible, (Windows Vista). Anything saved using Microsoft Office can be loaded, edited, and re-saved using OpenOffice.

I hope that helps.

Mark

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MS Office license
by sunbirdsw / April 27, 2007 10:55 AM PDT
In reply to: No

Actually, if you read the license for the MS Office products, you are given a license to install it on both a desktop and a notebook. An unexpected goody from Microsoft.... I'd buy more if they did it with more products.

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But in this case...
by John.Wilkinson / April 27, 2007 1:59 PM PDT
In reply to: MS Office license

The Office 2003 EULA states that you can install it on one desktop and one laptop, provided that they are both your computers and used primarily by you. In this case one computer is owned/used by the parent while the other is primarily used, if not owned, by the daughter, meaning the installation on both devices would technically be prohibited. It may not sound fair, but those are the terms.

John

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Office 2007 vs OpenOffice 2.x
by john3347 / April 27, 2007 1:00 PM PDT
In reply to: No

I was under the understanding that MS Office was able to fully interact with OpenOffice. That is not true. I have seen Office XP, Office 2003, and Office 2007 attempt to open a text file created by OpenOffice. Ain't gonna happen! Wish they were compatable with each other, but they are not.

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Works one way, if document format is saved properly
by thomasaddley / April 28, 2007 9:11 AM PDT

any document created with MSOffice 2003 or 2007 will be accessible with OpenOffice. However thw same may not be said about it working the other way. In order for MSOffice 2003-7 to open a document created in OpenOffice, it has to be saved in a format that that MSOffice recognizes, which OpenOffice will allow and still be able to open them, Unlike MSOffice.

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Micro Office 2003?
by spadell / May 4, 2007 4:02 PM PDT

I've been afraid to install it (really don't know how, I'm a Newbie) was told by Best Buy that it would be compatible, but I have grave doubts, nothing that came with it has been.
So what are my odds that it would be with a Hp m7750n Vista Home Prem.?

ShellP

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Office 2003 vs. Office 2007
by Vagabundus I / May 6, 2007 9:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Micro Office 2003?

Office 2003 is the version that has been around for several years. You should have no special problems with that version.

The version with kinks still in it is the new Office 2007 version. To my knowledge (which is not that deep, I fear) it is not likely you would even have many problems with the 2007 version.

Most of the concerns raised here have to do with the major changes from Office 2003 to 2007, especially in the new interface (2007 is a major rewrite of the 2003 and earlier versions)and with the 2007's use of a brand new format.

Your version should not have these problems. Almost everyone will be able to read the documents you create with Office 2003.

Hope this helps.

(PS: I would add my small voice in support of the notion that it would be a smart move to switch to the free OpenOffice suite, or for those wanting to have a major corporation backing their software, the StarOffice version from Sun Microsystems.
Last time I looked, StarOffice was being sold in a box at CompUSA--for $70 rather than the $500 or so that you need to pay for Microsoft's version. )

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Academic software
by DH950 / April 27, 2007 5:35 PM PDT
In reply to: No

If you have a student who needs software, there are several sources of acedemic software you can find by doing a google type search on the phrase ACEDEMIC SOFTWARE. Using CNET's compare prices with that phrase, pops up 5 sponsored links. Prices for the same software can vary quite a bit between vendors. When available, I've found that schools that offer the needed software are usually the least expensive. I used 2 sources to outfit my son's computer.

This also usually available for part-time college students, check each site's conditions.

Be prepared to submit a copy of a current student ID or recent report card. I had one request a copy of the birth certificate to accompany the report card, which I sent with DOB and other reusable info for ID theft blacked out. It was accepted.

There are even acdemic version of various operating systems.

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Free Option
by irlandes / April 28, 2007 12:20 PM PDT

kls75, go to openoffice.org and download a FREE copy of Open Office 2.x for Windows. It is free, and unless you are a heavy duty user (such as very complex macros) it will open, modify, and save the same files as MS OFFICE. Free for download. No licensing worries.

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dealing with MS
by Borsia / April 28, 2007 10:03 AM PDT

Actually I have always had very good experiances dealing with MS. I doubt that you will have any problems so long as you make it clear that you aren't trying to use your single issue license on 2 computers.
As I understand the original question you have only 1 box and want to revert back to XP and are not wanting to run multiple boxes on a single License. There shouldn't be any problems. BUT you will need to have an XP disc. If it was an OEM XP box upgraded to Vista then you will have to buy the XP disc.

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Vista Problems
by michaelsharp / April 20, 2007 1:36 PM PDT

Franklin,
Before you give up on Vista try going to the websites of the programs and peripherals you're having the issues with. A good many of them now have downloads to solve the incompatibility problems. Also the Microsoft website is a good source of "patches".
Vista is a powerhouse of an operating system once you get these annoying little problems solved.

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Place the vista on hold for now
by aussieGus / April 20, 2007 1:46 PM PDT

You don't have to purchase another Windows... You have the rights to your old one. Just load it into the new computer. They haven't worked out all the bugs yet in Vista so hold onto it for awhile. Probably after Chrismas reinstall it then go to downloads for it... This will take out most of the bugs you are experiencing...

Hope this helps...
JO

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I want vista out of my PC
by Tcko / April 27, 2007 9:32 AM PDT

My advice is forget about vista, I believe Gates overstepped the boundary this time and it was totally intentional....new OP....new software = moolah.
And another reason to not use it.....Vista was designed by Gates AND the Government....hard telling what is hidden in it, if you know what I mean.....I think we are watched by big brother enough already...my suggestion is look into Linux open source...it gets better everyday and even adobe is working on programs to run on Linux.
That's what I'll be using soon

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I want vista out of my pc
by Arthur1591 / April 27, 2007 4:50 PM PDT

Your right it looks like windows 98, all over agen, when I frist starde hade a small hard drive very little mb no video card, would not let me install all softwer I want to very little games ony realarcade. Hard to find your way around windows,could not downloads thins I want to, Now I have it 160 hard drive 2mb ati graphics and so on, can run this some time can download that, now its like starding all over agen.

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I want vista out
by Arthur1591 / April 27, 2007 5:03 PM PDT

Some one call me a vista racis that hurt.

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You do NOT have the right to move an OEM XP copy
by enovikoff / April 27, 2007 10:02 AM PDT

I've read the EULA: you do not have the right to move a copy of XP that came with a piece of hardware to a different piece of hardware. This may not stop you from being *able* to do it, but Microsoft specifically had you agree not to. I've run into this more than once when I replaced a motherboard in my home-built machine and XP failed to reinstall. Each time, I've ignored and worked around it, since the EULA assumes that you are trading one store-bought computer for another. However, don't expect XP to "go willingly" from one piece of hardware to another (like, if you move the C: drive) unless you reinstall it.

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should i replace my computer
by frank klatt / April 20, 2007 1:47 PM PDT

I HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT REPLACING MY COMPUTER MANY TIMES WHEN IT GIVES ME TROUBLE. MY PC IS OLD BUT I HAVE HAD IT REBUILT WHEN IT GETS LOADED WITH GARBAGE I USE A PROGRAM CALLED REGISTRY HELPER AND IT CLEANS UP ALL IN VALID ENTRIES YOU CAN DOWNLOAD IT THE FULL PROGRAM COSTS $50.00 BUT IT PAYS FOR ITSELF IN NO TIME. I SET IT TO CLEAN UP EVERY DAY BUT I STILL GO INTO IT AT NIGHT AND FIND GARBAGE
faklatt@yahoo.ca

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Answer for Franklin S: Downgrading a new Vista system to XP
by Watzman / April 20, 2007 1:49 PM PDT

Franklin,

Well, your question (which I?ve seen several times now in a number of contexts) raises quite a few issues, and not all of them are technical ... in some cases, there are some legal and even ?moral? issues as well. In responding, there?s a question with all of the responders face, which is whether to discuss options that might be physically possible but not legal. I?m going to take the approach of disclosing what is possible. I?ll leave the legal and moral issues to the attorneys and your conscience.

Also, before going further, some people who get a new PC with Vista are reverting back to XP because they simply don?t like Vista, or can?t get something to work. So, before going to the heart of your problem, let me offer two suggestions to those people, although this is not your situation, and your reasons for wanting to go back to XP are far from cosmetic. But, for those who think that they don?t like Vista, or can?t get it to network properly with their other machines (especially XP machines), let me make these two suggestions:

1. Before giving up on Vista, right click the Vista start button and select the ?Classic? start menu (which will also give you the ?Classic? desktop). Vista will become DRAMATICALLY more friendly and more like what you are used to. You will still have (if you had it before) access to ?Aero (Glass)? and all of the other Vista ?eye candy?. But the system will behave much more ?XP-like? (and, indeed, even ?Windows 98-like? ... I actually recommend this for XP as well, which also as a ?classic mode? that is turned off by default). By the way, if you don?t like it, it?s a simple mouse click to go back as well.

2. If you can?t get Vista networking working, especially if you can?t get your XP computers to see drives, files or folders on your Vista system:

a. first, read the Microsoft document at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/network/evaluate/vista_fp.mspx

b. Even after reading this and using it?s recommendations and procedures, you may find that sharing still doesn't work unless you turn off all security (passwords). In many cases, this is caused by a "feature" that exists in both XP and Vista involving zero-length passwords. XP Pro, Media Center and Vista will not allow network access to network computers that have zero-length passwords. You may see the computer, but will get a "you do not have permission ...." message if you actually try to access it.

To fix this:
Start / run / gpedit.msc (start the group policy editor)

Open the tree:
Computer configuration / Windows Settings / Security Settings / Local Policies / Security Options

Find the item:
Accounts: Limit local account use of blank passwords to console login only

If this item is enabled, you will not be able to logon to other computers on the network that have blank (zero-length) passwords. IT IS ENABLED BY DEFAULT

Change it to disabled

This will fix a ton of network access problems on many home networks where no user account passwords are implemented

3. Some things that seem not to install under Vista on a first attempt can be installed if you use a ?compatibility mode?, and/or if you set the installation program and/or the installed .exe program to ?run as administrator?. For example, HP says that the software for the model 5470C and 5490C scanners is not and will never be Vista compatible (literally, their answer is ?buy a new scanner?). But, in fact I was able to get it installed and working at least seemingly perfectly simply by setting the scanner software?s .exe file to ?run as administrator? after it was installed.

4. The availability and quality of Vista drivers will improve over time. The tuner on my ATI ?All-in-Wonder 2006? Card does not currently work under Vista, but ATI has indicated that they do expect it to be supported at a later time, although that point may still be a number of months in the future. HP has made similar comments about some models of printers, scanners and multi-function devices which currently either have no drivers or only partially functional ?interim? drivers (while, at the same time, both ATI and HP as well as other firms will also tell you that many older products simply will never have Vista drivers (for example, my HP 5470C scanner .... but sometimes, the XP drivers can be made to work under Vista anyway)).

Now, on to your problem: How to install Windows XP on a system that came with Vista.

First, you need a copy of XP. To be legal, and to be certain of activating and passing all WGA tests, this needs to be either an ?OEM Copy? bought new for this machine (never previously installed on any other computer), or a retail copy (full product, not upgrade) that either was never installed on any other computer, or that at least is not currently installed on any other computer.

You specifically asked ?Can I use the system recovery disk from my old XP computer to replace Vista with XP on my new computer??; the answer is that you can?t do it legally. But in some cases it may be physically possible if you don?t care about the legalities, particularly if the two computers were made by the same OEM (e.g. Dell, for example). Also, SOME Vista licenses, but not all of them, actually allow the Vista license to be ?downgraded? and used to make XP installation legal, but even in these cases, they do not (and will not) supply either the XP install media or the XP product key. And, finally, most computer technicians would know how to use an ?upgrade? copy of XP, although in the situation that you describe, it would NOT be legal under the terms of the license agreement.

But, all that said, the first task at hand is to obtain a suitable copy of Windows XP that will allow installation, activation and passing all ?WGA? tests. And now that Vista has replaced XP in stores and at many computer dealers, that in and of itself is becoming increasingly difficult, unfortunately.

The next task is to find all of the necessary suitable drivers for XP. This is usually possible, but can be difficult, and it?s most difficult with a notebook computer. [As an example of this, in 2003 I needed to install Windows 98 on a Toshiba 1415, which had never been supported by Toshiba for Windows 98. I did manage to find all of the necessary drivers, but the effort required was tremendous, taking almost 100 hours of research, downloading and testing.] Fortunately, at this time, I don?t believe that there are any major chips (e.g. CPU chipsets, video, audio, LAN, etc.) for which XP drivers actually do not exist, but finding the ?right? compatible drivers can be very difficult, since they may well not be conveniently available from the computer?s manufacturer, and the chip maker?s ?generic? drivers don?t always work, especially when the chip is installed in a laptop. The best case is a model which, while now supplied with Vista, was at one time offered with XP. In those cases, the necessary drivers are probably on the manufacturer?s web site, and you might even be able to find a source of an XP OEM install CD (you will still need a valid license and product key). In the worst case, expect to do a lot of research, downloading and experimenting. It helps a lot to do this on a spare ?scrap? hard drive, indeed I?d recommend that you remove the drive that came with your machine (your ?Vista? drive), save it, and get a new drive for the XP installation. Also, do not connect to the internet and do not even attempt to activate Windows (XP) until you have the entire configuration fully working. You may end up installing Windows on a ?trial? basis a dozen or more times while experimenting and attempting to find all of the necessary pieces and get the all integrated correctly. You definitely do not want to hit the Microsoft activation servers each of those times, as they will almost certainly come to the conclusion that you are trying to ?pirate? windows and will ultimately deny activation to your product key. Don?t activate Windows until everything is working to your satisfaction.

The drivers that you will typically need, and the order in which you will need them, are:

-An ?F6 Driver? for Windows installation (MAYBE, but not in all cases)(get this from the motherboard manufacturer if needed)
-CPU Chipset
-SATA and/or RAID driver (possibly required if the hard drive is not conventional IDE)
-Video
-Audio
-LAN
-External peripherals (printer, scanner, webcam, etc.)

How difficult installing XP becomes is hard to say and will vary on a model-by-model basis, but at this time, my guess is that all of the necessary drivers are generally available in almost all cases. Consequently, it will generally become a matter of getting a copy of Windows and then of tracking down the necessary drivers.

I hope that this is helpful,

Sincerely,
Barry Watzman

Message was edited by: admin

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Typo correction .....
by Watzman / April 27, 2007 9:01 AM PDT

There were a few typos in my response. Most were grammatical and obvious, but this one is significant. I typed:

"And, finally, most computer technicians would know how to use an ?upgrade? copy of XP, although in the situation that you describe, it would be legal under the terms of the license agreement."

But that should read:

"And, finally, most computer technicians would know how to use an ?upgrade? copy of XP, although in the situation that you describe, it would ***NOT*** be legal under the terms of the license agreement."

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How do I set the program to 'run as administrator'?
by Quick Learner / April 27, 2007 4:47 PM PDT

Dear Watzman,

It was a delight to read such a helpful reply to the Vista problem. I'm sure you're swamped with queries about the points you've raised, but I do hope you'll take a moment to anwer my question, as I too am having that scanner difficulty.

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Vista HP
by no5 / April 27, 2007 5:28 PM PDT

Many thanks for that "Change to Classic Start menu"- Terrific.

R G Wynne
Ireland

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