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Problems with SATA Drivers When Downgrading From Vista to XP

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This document describes potential compatibility issues you may encounter if you are considering downgrading a computer that came with Windows Vista to the XP operating system.
Early adopters of Windows Vista operating system experienced some compatibility issues when using certain XP programs with Vista. These compatibility issues led some people to consider downgrading the operating system from Vista to XP. Also, many users were familiar with Windows XP and did not want to adopt to the new look and feel of Vista. Most of the technical issues are resolved by installing the Vista Service Pack 1. HP strongly recommends against the process of downgrading a computer that came with Vista to XP.
When attempting to install XP on a computer that was designed with Vista-compatible parts, the first issue you may encounter is that the installation disc may not recognize the hard drive. The installation will report an ATA error that it cannot find a hard drive on the computer. Vista uses a technology called 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.
Depending on the brand of CPU processor and the version of BIOS installed, it may be possible to disable the native SATA settings and allow XP to continue with the installation. However, some BIOS versions do not allow you to easily change the SATA settings.

Other potential issues when downgrading from Vista to XP

Disabling the native-SATA settings to recognize the hard drive may be only the first of several issues you will have to resolve when downgrading from Vista to XP. HP does not recommend downgrading your Vista operating system. HP does not supply drivers needed to control newer components with an older operating system.
For instance, the computer will not connect to a network or the internet until you locate and install Network Interface Card (NIC) drivers for the new operating system. For notebooks, the onboard NIC is built into the motherboard. The 10/100 (10-base-T or 100-base-T) or the Gigabit (1000) are the most common types of NIC available. 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 can connect to the internet where you can search for and download other drivers.
You should visit the Microsoft web site for assistance and run the Microsoft Windows update function to locate additional drivers and firmware files. When using these Windows generic drivers, the graphic / video / sound / CD/DVD optical disc / webcam and other components will work but may have limited functionality.
The hardware drivers needed for your computer will be different depending on the manufacturer of each component and each type of processor (Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, etc.) You will need to search those manufacturers' web sites to determine exactly which drivers you need.
NOTE:Because of these known compatibility issues, HP recommends that you use the operating system that was pre-installed on your notebook computer. HP provides support for drivers and firmware for the original operating system but does not provide drivers for other operating systems.

Disable the native-SATA setting

To determine if you can disable the native SATA configuration in the BIOS, do the following steps.
  1. Open the CD/DVD optical drive or remove the XP installation disc.
  2. Turn off the computer.
  3. Press the power button and press f10 to open the BIOS Setup.
  4. Use the keyboard to navigate the Configuration options to locate the Native-SATA setting.
    • 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.

Issues when BIOS cannot disable SATA

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 operating system. For a brief overview of the slipstream process, see HP Notebook PCs - How to Add Serial ATA (SATA) Drives to a Windows Vista Installation .

Create Recovery discs before attempting to change the OS

Before attempting to install any other operating system, HP strongly recommends that you use the HP Recovery Manager to create a set of Vista recovery discs for your computer. With these recovery discs, in the event of a failure, you can restore the computer to its original operating condition. If you have already started the downgrade process and cannot create the discs, you can contact HP to purchase a set of replacement recovery discs to restore the original operating system. See HP PCs - Looking for Recovery Discs?