This document pertains to HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario Notebook computers being downgraded to Windows XP from Windows 7 or Vista. This document does not apply to Commercial Notebook or Desktop computers.
HP stopped shipping consumer notebooks with Windows XP in April, 2010. Depending on how and when you acquired your copy of Windows XP, Microsoft may no longer provide mainstream support. Mainstream support includes, but is not limited to, drivers for new hardware, updated drivers, security, fixes, patches, or updated software.
Downgrading to a retail version of Windows XP on an HP notebook computer that is under warranty voids the software portion of that warranty. The software portion of the warranty only covers the original software and operating system that shipped with the notebook. It does not cover software modifications made after purchase.
The hardware warranty is valid for the specified warranty period. However, if you have a hardware problem, you may be asked to reinstall the original operating system to verify the issue is caused by hardware failure.
Known issues when downgrading from Vista or Windows 7 to XP
If you have an HP Pavilion or Compaq Presario consumer notebook computer that shipped with Windows 7 or Vista, changing the operating system (OS) will cause severe operational problems. Many of the components, such as sound, video, graphics, network connectivity, drives, or other devices and peripherals, may have limited functionality, or may not work at all. You should research the support policies for your hardware, and review the problems experienced by other users, before you consider changing the operating system.
Microsoft has stopped the sale of its XP operating system, and provides limited support for existing installations. See the Microsoft web site for their usage and support policies.
When attempting to install XP on a computer that was designed with Vista or Windows 7, the installation disc may not recognize the hard drive. The installation reports an ATA error that it cannot find a hard drive on the computer. Newer operating systems use Serial ATA (SATA) to control the hard drive, while XP and older operating systems use ATI-native technology. The BIOS, which controls all of the hardware components, is using native-SATA drivers but the XP installation disc cannot recognize this newer technology.
To resolve this, and disable the native SATA configuration in the BIOS, do the following steps.
Open the CD/DVD optical drive to remove the XP installation disc, and turn off the computer.
Press the power button and press f10
to open the BIOS Setup.
Use the keyboard to navigate the Configuration options to find the Native-SATA
If there is a SATA setting, select the Disable
option, and then press F10 to save the change and restart the computer.
If there is no SATA setting, you will have to find a third-party tool to change the settings.
After changing the SATA setting, insert the XP Installation disc, restart the computer, and then follow the Microsoft installation instructions.
If the BIOS does not have a setting to disable the native-SATA settings, you may have to use a procedure called slipstreaming to install XP. This procedure involves using third-party tools that are not supported by HP and may cause unexpected problems. You should search the web for instructions and tools before attempting to change the Vista or Windows 7 operating system.
The computer cannot connect to a network or the Internet. Most likely, this is because Windows XP does not recognize the Network Interface Card (NIC).
To resolve this, find and install NIC drivers for the original operating system. You will have to use another computer to search for and download NIC or Ethernet drivers that will work on your computer. Then you can transfer the file to the downgraded computer. After installing the NIC driver and restarting the downgraded computer, it should be able to connect to the Internet, where you can search for and download other drivers.
Makers of new hardware components do not provide XP drivers
Hardware technology has changed since newer Vista and Windows 7 operating systems were introduced. Some component manufactures are not supporting XP. You may experience the following conditions if you downgrade an HP Pavilion or Compaq Presario consumer notebook, which was designed for Vista, to an older operating system:
HP does not provide Windows XP-compatible drivers for functions such as sound, video, graphics, network connectivity, drives, or other devices and peripherals for these consumer notebooks.
Changing the operating system may require you to reinstall the original software image when troubleshooting possible software and hardware issues with technical support.
Newer hardware may be specifically designed to work with a more modern operating system, such as Vista or Windows 7. As a result, some component manufacturers may not provide Windows XP-compatible drivers.
Even if a third-party company or Windows itself can provide generic drivers that will allow all of your devices to operate, the performance of your HP computer may be less than optimal.
Use Window Update and HP Help & Support to find compatible drivers
Both Microsoft and HP provide tools to help find compatible drivers and software. Because some updates cannot be installed until other updates are installed and the computer is restarted, you should run the update tools multiple times.
The Windows Update function is part of the Vista and Windows 7 operating system, and is run from the hard drive. For XP, go to the Microsoft web site and run a web-enabled update utility over the Internet. To run Windows Update, do the following.
Open a browser, and go to the www.update.microsoft.com web page.
Select the options to check for updates for both the operating system and for Microsoft software, such as Word, Excel, or Office.
Allow the program to analyze the computer and check for updates and patches. The latest Service Pack for Windows XP, which contains all the drivers that Microsoft plans to release, is SP3. Microsoft does not plan to create any more drivers and software for Windows XP.
The HP Help & Support application for XP has some maintenance tools, but it does link you to Instant Support Professional Edition diagnostics tools that are run over your web connection. The tools were designed for known hardware and operating system combinations. It may not deliver any updates if your specific notebook has an unknown configuration.
, and then select Help & Support
, and then follow the on-line prompts.
Run HP Notebook Utilities for XP
HP notebook computers have unique features that are lost when a standard Windows XP operating system image is installed. Although you can search for and install the individual utilities, HP prepared a softpaq
SP27720 - Notebook Utilities for Windows XP
that contains several Notebook Utilities. The utilities help you calibrate the battery, switch the display using the shortcut keys, quick lock the system, and use Wireless functions.
Download and Save
the softpaq file to the computer. Do not try to Run
the program from the web. Some of the utilities examine the hard drive for an earlier version of the program and display a message to uninstall the existing program:
Open the Control Panel
, right-click the named program, and select Uninstall
from the drop-down menu.
Shut down and restart the computer before installing the new version of the utilities.
Update or reinstall drivers from Device Manager
If the notebook does not recognize some USB device, or the driver fails to install properly, an error message is displayed.
This device cannot start. (FailReasonString value)
Value will change to reflect the hardware component that failed.
This device is either not present, not working properly, or does not have all the drivers installed. (Code 10)
If the failed device is an external peripheral such as a printer or USB hard drive, un-plug and re-plug the cable to ensure a proper connection. To resolve an error and install a compatible driver, connect the computer to the Internet and perform one or more of the following actions.
Update the device driver
, and then right-click the My Computer
, and then select the Hardware
Click the Device Manager
button to start the Device Manager.
Within the Device Manager, a graphic of an exclamation mark (!) inside a yellow triangle is used to identify a device that is not detected or a driver that is not installed and operating properly.
Select the Driver
Click Update Driver
, and allow Windows to search the computer and the web for the proper driver.
Uninstall and reinstall the device driver
Open the Device Manager
as described above.
Select the non-working device identified with an exclamation mark (!) inside a yellow triangle, and click Uninstall
Close the Device Manager
and shutdown the computer.
Restart the computer and allow Windows to detect the plug-and-play hardware and install drivers. Allow WINDOWS to search the computer and the web for the proper driver.
Manually find and install alternate drivers and programs
If you know the model number of a specific hardware component, you can search for other computer products that use components from the same component manufacturer, and then search for compatible drivers. Since XP was built on older technologies, XP drivers may have limited functionality when compared to the Windows 7 drivers.
Search for drivers used on similar product models with the new OS. You can go to the
HP Driver's and Downloads
web page to search for updated device driver software for other computers in the product series.
NOTE:Before installing an unspecified driver or software, you must verify that it is designed for the specific version of the hardware component. View the Readme file or installation instructions that relate to the updated file.
WARNING:DO NOT install randomly selected drivers or software because an incompatible program may prevent the computer from operating properly or may cause the computer to stop working completely! For instance, attempting to install a BIOS for an Intel 32 bit processor on a computer with an AMD 64 bit processor will cause the computer to stop working completely, and it may not be possible to restore to computer to its previous operating condition.
Reinstall the original OS if your PC is not working properly
If you have already downgraded your computer from Vista or Windows 7 to Windows XP, you have probably discovered that features like sound, DVD drive, or the webcam have stopped working. You have looked on the product page for your specific notebook product, but there are very few XP drivers available. HP does NOT provide XP-compatible drivers for computers that were designed exclusively for Vista or Windows 7 drivers.
If your computer shipped with a non-XP operating system, HP supports the installed hardware and software while the computer is operating with the original operating system, according to the written agreements. You can reinstall the original OS.
NOTE:You may attempt to use drivers and programs that are provided by other companies; however, HP cannot provide technical support or diagnose potential hardware issues until you reinstall the original Vista or Windows 7 operating system.
To resolve your hardware and software problems, you MUST reinstall the original operating system that was installed on your computer as follows:
Dual-booting is not recommended
While documentation on how to use dual-booting may be available on the web, HP does not
support computers that have been set up in a dual-boot configuration. The dual-boot requires hardware drivers for both operating systems, and HP does not provide drivers for components that were not designed for the specific operating system. Such a configuration change may require you to reinstall the original software image when troubleshooting possible software and hardware issues with technical support.
Additionally, even if you could find some generic third-party drivers that would allow you to setup a dual-boot configuration on your notebook, you should consider the size of your hard drive. Each operating system takes up a considerable amount of space on the hard drive. Installing both XP and Vista may limit the amount of space that you have available for other applications, which will degrade performance.