Downgrade from Vista to XP

  old china 04:17 07 Apr 2007

I just bought for my daughter an Acer laptop with Vista Home pre-installed. She wants to have Windows XP instead. Sorry if I sound stupid, but please can someone tell me how to downgrade? (I've XP pro SP2 which I would like to install.)

I'm also hoping to change it back to Vista eventually using the CD that came with the laptop. Would it be a problem?

Many thanks!

  HappyTrucker 09:15 07 Apr 2007

Firstly, I assume that the copy of XP you want to install is not installed on another machine already?

If so, you MAY be able to put the CD the laptop, boot from CD and start the XP install routine, choosing to install to the same disk as Vista & opting to format the disk. However, Vista may not allow you to even get this far. Windows installations don't seem to like earlier versions for some reason...

You may need to look on the net for some 3rd party software that can recognise and format NTFS drives from a bootable CD. There's a few out there.

Now onto your second question. Changing back to VISTA later....that could be another story. Is the disk that came with the laptop an actual copy of Vista or is it a 'recovery CD'? If it's a recovery CD, it's possible that your Vista install files are either a) on a hidden partition on the laptop, b) on a visible partition or c) on the C: drive althuogh this is unlikely.

The Recovery CD would format the drive and restore the laptop to the state it was on delivery with Vista running happily no doubt. However, formatting your C: drive to put XP on COULD wipe information needed by the recovery program. If your CD is a copy of Vista, then it doesn't matter. YOu can just use that to reinstall.

I wouldn't rush at it anyway. Take some time to fully learn what you've got in the box, read the instructions - it should outline recovery situations in there somewhere and check you have EVERYTHING that would be needed to get the system back.

May I ask why you/she wants XP instead of Vista? It seems a big improvment over XP so far. (As an aside, what version of Vista is installed? I've read of some new PCs only shipping with Home Basic).

If it's an appearance issue then she should get used to it in time. If it's program compatability problems, maybe this forum can help with some workarounds.

First and foremost don't rush into anything. You could end up with a laptop that has XP on it with no option to restore Vista later. Don't forget you've effectively paid for Vista so it would be a shame to lose it.

You may want to look here: click here (first post there) for how hard it can be to remove Vista.

  HappyTrucker 17:34 07 Apr 2007

As an afterthought, I've just read something in another thread that may help you. If you install Microsoft VirtualPC 2007 ( a free download from click here) you can install XP (or even 98) as long as you have a legit copy and run it as a PC on the Vista machine. This way you/she can swap amongst Vista/XP as you feel fit. Maybe when used to Vista the XP can be dumped.

This seems like a much less destructive way of doing it, and keeps your laptop intact.

Anyone tried using this yet?

  HappyTrucker 17:38 07 Apr 2007

If you have any of the Home versions of Vista, forget it. Yet again Microsoft makes things incompatible.

Sorry :o(

  Kate B 17:51 07 Apr 2007

Surely that's a premium feature for the premium versions of the OS? That's a bit like moaning that you don't get a flat bed in economy class: you haven't paid for that feature. The Home versions of Vista are the economy class versions; Business and Ultimate are the business class versions.

  HappyTrucker 18:17 07 Apr 2007


Maybe, but the home user is just as likely as a business user to have 'legacy' incomapatability issues surely? Games, older versions of things like Money (I don't know how they're affected TBH) and the like.

I can understand actual Windows features like Remote Desktop etc not being in Home versions up to a point, but VirtualPC is a stand alone program. There shouldn't be any reason why it wouldn't run on Home Premium. Execept that Microsoft probably feel the home user is too thick to use it properly.

As it happens the thing won't install on my Ultimate PC either. Setup starts then just hangs. 2nd attempt hung the whole PC and 3rd attempt stated install and just stopped. No warning, no nothing.

And just to point out that at £144 for an upgrade and £210 for a full licence (PC World prices), it's hardly 'economy' class to most normal people. Preinstalls are usually the lowest you can get (almost) so there isn't much actual choice to the consumer here.

A piece of software that lets businesses run legacy software is of just as much use to a home user who wants to play his/her game that isn't fully Vista compatible. Or run Lotus Smartsuite (due to not being able to afford Office), which although works, is reported to have the odd little glitch here and there.

  old china 01:16 08 Apr 2007

Thank you, HappyTrucker and Kate B.

My daughter is 16 today and the laptop is her birthday present. She doesn't like computers, not a gamer and only needs it for school work.

She prefers XP for appearance -- creature of habit. I've been trying to persuade her to get used to Vista, precisely for the reason you mentioned, well in time as universities etc will be using Vista OS in the near future.

Also, she will probably have some software from school which she will have to install on her laptop. If there are any incompatibility problems, she will get very frustrated. So for the time being and before Vista patches are sorted, she would be better off with XP.

The pre-installed version is Vista Home Basic.

The CD that comes with it says 'Windows Anytime Upgrade'. When I put it in my desktop, it allows upgrade BUT it seems to also allow 'clean install' as well.

Shall I do the following?

1. I'll boot up the laptop using XP installation disk, and proceed to the stage where the partitions can be deleted/created on the drive.

2. Instead of formatting the drive, I'll delete the drive partition that holds vista, re-create a RAW partition and quick format with NTFS.

3. If all goes well, I'll install XP on the empty partition.

When the time comes to install, I can use the 'Anytime Upgrade' disk that comes with my laptop.

Any comments on the above will be much appreciated. Thanks again.

  pk46 01:53 08 Apr 2007

Do's your laptop have E-Recovery on it?? Aspire has this on as a rule if it has my advice is LEAVE ALONE you will loose drivers ect unless you have done a ISO IMAGE of the HD and you will never recover the E-RECOVERY feature.
I don't know if the recovery method is the same as XP as Norton Ghost that is used for E-Recovery does not work on Vista.

  old china 02:21 08 Apr 2007

The laptop is an Acer Aspire 5050. In the User's Guide, under the Acer Empowering Technology section, it mentions Acer eRecovery Management. I have just finished setting up the laptop by following the instructions on the screen, and only installed one program -- Office 2007, and nothing else.

I have a reminder message on the screen which says: "Create an Acer factory default backup image now! The image can restore your system to its default configuration if needed. ... Please insert a blank disc to begin." I shall do this next. Would I then be able to recover the E-Recovery feature if I did change the OS?

Also, does anyone know whether changing the OS would invalidate the warranty from Acer? (I bought the laptop a few weeks ago.)

Thank you for your patience, folks. I feel that I'm feeling my way round in the dark here!

  Totally-braindead 14:36 08 Apr 2007

You can alter Vista to look and act more like XP. I haven't tried it yet as I'm trying to get used to the way Vista works and of course this would make no difference to any compatability problems any program might have.

  old china 13:32 09 Apr 2007

Thanks, everyone.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Best Black Friday Deals 2017

How modern book design was influenced by illustrated manuscripts

Best Black Friday Apple Deals 2017

Les meilleurs logiciels de montage vidéo gratuits (en 2017)