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Changing the Operating System from Windows Vista to Windows XP

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This document pertains to consumer desktop PCs that have Windows Vista preinstalled, and whose owners are considering downgrading, or changing the operating system to Windows XP. Microsoft has authorized downgrading from Windows Vista Business or Ultimate to Windows XP Professional, however no operating system degrade is supported by HP. Consult the Limited Warranty and Support Guide and the Microsoft End-User License Agreement that came with your computer for more information.
CAUTION: If you change the operating system to Windows XP, MAKE A SET OF RECOVERY DISCS. Changing from Windows Vista to Windows XP can disable hard drive recovery.

Before you install Windows!

Make an assessment of why you feel it necessary to change from Windows Vista to Windows XP. There may be some things you can do to make Vista provide a better experience. Such as:

Changing the Operating System to Windows XP

If you decide to change the operating system to Windows XP, here are some important considerations and helpful tips:
CAUTION:HP does not recommend changing the operating system from Windows Vista to Windows XP and does not support doing so. The outcome may leave your computer in an unknown state, functionality may be diminished, and you may need to acquire Windows XP compatible application software, drivers, or even hardware.
The following steps outline in general, the process of changing the operating system to Windows XP. There may be other steps you will need to take depending on how your computer is configured, your application software, and your peripherals.
  1. Get or make a set of system recovery discs (in English). In the event that the operating system change to Windows XP is unsatisfactory, a set of system recovery discs will be needed to return the computer to its former state.
    NOTE:After installing XP, If HP Support is contacted regarding the troubleshooting of software and hardware issues, you may be required to reinstall the original software image. Doing so would reinstall Vista so that HP could provide support on the known configuration that was manufactured.
  2. Before installation, find a chipset driver that is compatible with Windows XP and burn the file to a CD-R. If your came with a video card (not on-board video) then you should also download and burn the XP compatible video drivers. You can get these files from the chipset or video card manufacturer's support Web site.
    For example, a model a Pavilion a1700n comes with a GeForce 6150 LE / nForce 430 (this can be found by from the a1700n product specifications on the HP Customer Care Web site). After searching the Web, the chipset drivers are downloaded from the NVIDIA Web site and burnt to a CD-R for later use.
  3. Back up all of your important files. For more information, consult the HP support document, Backing Up Your Files in Windows Vista (in English).
  4. Determine the compatibility of your Windows Vista applications in a Windows XP environment. Plan to acquire Windows XP compatible versions as may be necessary, or equivalent alternative application software. For example, HP provides functional DVD movie playing software that is compatible with Windows Vista for PCs that ship with Windows Vista. If you install Windows XP, you will probably need to purchase and install new DVD movie playing software.
  5. Install a genuine Windows XP operating system according to the installation instructions that came with it (not available from HP).
  6. Install the latest chipset driver package for the Windows XP operating system. The chipset contains core driver functionality for onboard components (like networking and sound). Use the CD-R that was created earlier to install the files.
  7. Setup networking, making sure that the connection is protected with Windows Firewall (or other firewall application).
  8. Connect to the Internet and use Windows Update to install all the critical updates including Service Pack 2. Service Pack 2 is required for many components to function. Some drivers will not install unless service pack 2 is installed first.
  9. Download and install the latest drivers for components that are not functioning. For example, if you do not hear any sound from your computer and it uses Realtek high-definition audio, download and install a new high-definition sound driver from either the Microsoft or Realtek Web site.
    One quick way of obtaining hardware drivers is to connect to the Internet and then open Device Manager and view the hardware component names. Any hardware names that have a yellow exclamation point on their icon, right-click the component name, and then click Update Driver, to search for the appropriate driver.
  10. If you are able to find all drivers, you are done and can start installing and using your favorite software applications. Be sure to Install high priority software first, such as anti-virus software.
    If you are not able to find a Windows XP driver for a particular hardware component, you may need to purchase and install a new hardware component that is compatible with Windows XP.

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