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Beginners Guides: Downgrading Windows Vista Back To Windows XP
Beginners Guides: Downgrading Windows Vista Back To Windows XP - PCSTATS
Want to get rid of Windows Vista? Discovered that none of the software (and even some hardware) you've been using for years is compatible? You're not alone... PCSTATS guides you down the path to getting your old programs working once again by downgrading Vista back to good old Windows XP.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Aug 16 2010   M. Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Downgrade Situation #1: Reverting to Windows XP after Upgrading XP to Vista

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 Installation

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.

The 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...

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Downgrading Windows Vista Back To Windows XP
 Pg 2.  Preparations - Backing up E-mail and Contacts Con't
 Pg 3.  Preparations - Backing up Data and Files
 Pg 4.  Preparations - Locating Drivers
 Pg 5.  — Downgrade Situation #1: Reverting to Windows XP after Upgrading XP to Vista
 Pg 6.  Downgrade Situation #2: Downgrading a new Windows Vista PC to Windows XP
 Pg 7.  Situation #2 Continued: Installing Windows XP on a new Windows Vista PC
 Pg 8.  The Real Reason to Own Windows Vista Business or Ultimate Edition

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