Running Vista on an older computer can be a bit of a shock (and a lot of waiting)
at the best of times, as we're sure you've already discovered. The question
is, can Vista be easily removed and the computer reverted back to safe,
comfortable (fast & responsive) Windows XP?
Sadly, the answer is no. That's NO to easily
anyhow, you can get back to Windows XP and
PCSTATS will show you how.
As PCSTATS has already stated,
there is no 'undo' button for the Windows Vista upgrade, so once it's done,
it's done. The only way to ditch Windows Vista and go back to Windows XP is by removing Vista
and doing a clean reinstall of Windows XP. You must save your documents,
Windows Mail contacts and emails before beginning, so hopefully you've already done so
using the instructions perviously discussed.
Sadly, installed programs cannot be saved, though you can certainly port
over any data (and saved games) to Windows XP once you are done.
The first (and most obvious)
items you will need are the Windows XP CD and license key. You
will also need the drivers that correspond to your computer system's hardware.
Drivers are small programs that allow Windows (or other operating systems) to correctly identify
and use the physical hardware (video, sound, etc.) in your computer. Without them
Windows XP will work, but you will be missing many features, such
as internet access and custom screen resolutions.
If you cannot find (or never had) the driver CDs that came
with your computer, don't panic. The section above on finding drivers for
your computer system will set you right.
Once you've got the Windows CD, license key and
drivers at hand, all that remains is to boot your computer from the Windows
XP CD and install your favourite version of Windows, making sure to delete the
old Windows Vista 'C:' partition in the process. Remember to back
up all your data first, or it will be lost.
To instruct you on how to do this, we are going
to borrow a section from PCSTATS Beginner's Guide
to Installing Windows XP, slightly updated to reflect the current situation.
Installing Windows XP over an old Vista
Start the computer and insert your Windows XP CD. After a few seconds, the
screen will clear and you will see a 'press any key to boot from CD' prompt.
If you do not get this prompt, and Windows Vista loads instead, you will need to go into the
BIOS and set the computer up to boot from the CD/DVD drive first. To do
this, restart the computer and press the 'DEL' key repeatedly (on laptops or some
desktops, the correct key may instead be 'F2' or even the 'ESC' key). This
will bring you into your computer's BIOS settings, which allow you to change
some fundamental functions of the computer's hardware. You are looking
for the 'boot order' setting, which depending on the computer will generally
be in either the 'boot' menu or the 'advanced BIOS options' menu.
Find this option and ensure that your CD device (which may be listed as
either 'CD-ROM' or by the brand name of the optical drive, for example 'LG DVD-RAM HD55'
etc.) is the first boot device. Hit 'F10' to save the changes and reboot
the computer system.
Press any key to start
the Windows XP installation. The prompt will time out after about 4 seconds, so
if you don't hit any of the keyboard keys you will have to reboot the
PC again, and tap the keyboard a little faster to set the system to go
into install mode.
The installer program will begin copying files from the WinXP CD.
When th e 'welcome to setup' screen appears press enter to continue. View the
licensing agreement and hit F8 to continue.
The installation program will then search your drives for any prior
installation of XP. If it finds one, you will be given the option to repair it,
which essentially reinstalls most system files while leaving the registry and
installed programs intact. Otherwise, move forward to the partitioning and
formatting section of the install.
initial screen shows the hard disks connected to your system, and any partitions that
may already be created. You will see that the C:\
partition is listed as containing '(Vista)'. This is where the previous Windows Vista installation we're
about to wipe out resides, so we need to terminate it with extreme prejudice. If
you haven't backed up all your data by now, stop and do that, otherwise it
will be erased. Highlight the C:\ hard drive partition and press 'D' to delete
it. You will be prompted to confirm the action. Do so.
You now have a vista-free computer and a chunk of
empty space where you can install Windows XP. Highlight the newly created
'unpartitioned space' and press ENTER to begin the XP install process.
For more information on installing Windows XP, consult
PCSTATS Guide on the subject, starting on page 3. Next
in the guide, downgrading a new
Windows Vista computer back to Windows XP...