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Deleting Preinstalled Vista and going back to Windows XP


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Just bought a Dell computer with Vista preinstalled. To make a long story short - we want to go back to Windows XP

I do not want to partition the hard drive to have both operating systems. I just want to go back to something that I can run all my programs on. Most are not compatable according to the manufacturers sites.

Anyway - I tried to boot with the WIndows XP disk thinking that I would be able to format the hard drive and be on my way to installing Windows XP. No way - "Critical Error" each time.

So how does one do this? How do you format the hard drive without being able to get started?

I am also asuming that there may be driver problems when XP is installed - is that right?

Any information you could throw my way would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You!!!

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The first thing to think about here is that you will invalidate your warranty with Dell. Secondly, it would perhaps be worth waiting a while because a lot of the software incompatibility that you speak of is gradually being dealt with. (Some of it never will be). The latest Vista updates from Microsoft such as KB929427 are starting to sort out incompatibility issues, as is the WinHlp32.exe download. Try to keep up with the updates.

At the moment you have a machine which with "Vista" installed is a little bit "Future Proofed".

Software written from now on could well be just for "Vista". I.E, it may well not be backwards compatible with XP or previous operating systems. So a few months or years down the line you may fancy getting yourself a program only to find you need "Vista" to run it.

I have not answered your question of course. Just offered a little advice before you jump into the deep end of the pool. Take your time, Think it through sensibly.

Formatting a hard drive is reasonably simple. Most HDD manufacturers offer a download on their websites which you can use as either a Floppy disk or CD to install an operating system or format their Disk. Once obtained you now boot the PC from either one and follow the on-screen instructions. Firstly try to ascertain the manufacturer of the Hard Disk in your "Vista" machine. You can do this by opening up the case and having a look, or downloading a simple piece of free software from Belarc which will tell you quickly what you want to know. Belarc is here : http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html.

In your position, I personally would buy a new Hard Disk, (Cheap enough these days) install XP to the new Disk and put the old one away intact for a rainy day. Now you have XP, and Vista should you need it in the future. Easy enough to do with a desktop PC. Not as easy with a laptop of course, and you will of course still have invalidated the warranty. Try to think the whole thing through logically. Once formatted there 'aint no going back !!!

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Hey you know, I guess I never really looked at it that way. I guess I was in a panic and all and just wanted to get rid of it and be done. But your advice is something to very well consider. And in all likelyhood I'll follow.

I thank you very much for taking the time and effort in answering my post.

Thank You!!!

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Just as a quick afterthought to what I said about the Microsoft update KB929427. It crossed my mind after I posted, that anyone reading this particular thread may be interested to know what incompatibility issues this update deals with.

Just like everybody else I wanted the **** thing (Vista) out of the doorway when I first installed it. Wont work wiyh my existing modem (never will).

Wont work with my trusty old Agfa Snapscan e20 scanner (probably never will). Wont work with this, wont work with that, etc; etc. Thinking back I had similar issues and feelings about XP - but here I am (past headaches forgotten) using it.

Corporate business will not be adopting "Vista" for at least two years. Home users will be the testing ground, and the feedback that Microsoft receives from home users will be used to make a good and stable operating system that will be acceptable to corporate business. In turn, hopefully we home users will eventually gain a good operating system also.

If you have bought a new PC and "Vista" is pre-installed for goodness sake, dont throw it away - You have paid for it !!. Squirrel it away somewhere.

Annoying ? What we as home users see as a pain, Microsoft tells us is progress. Neither is wrong. But it would seem "Never the twain shall meet"

Software compatibility issues are gradually being dealt with. More updates will I am sure be on the way.

KB929427 Deals with it in this way ::::::

File Name


File Size



This update for Windows Vista is a collection of software updates that will fix common software compatibility issues affecting Windows Vista. When you try to install or run certain games or programs in Windows Vista, they may: crash or cause Windows Vista to slow down; not install properly; not work properly or generally just become a nuisance. According to Microsoft, this update improves support in Windows Vista many programs and games including:

Absolute Poker Version 5.7

ACDSee 8

Adobe Create Suite CS2

Adobe Photoshop CS 8.0

Adobe Photoshop Elements Version 4.0

Age of Empires III

Age of Empires III : The WarChiefs Expansion Pack

AOL 9.0 - x64

Arcsoft Photo Impression 5

Auslogics Disk 1.0.3

AVG Anti-Spyware

Azureus 1.0

Battlefield 2 Deluxe

BeatJam 2006 SE


BitVise Tunnelier 4.20

ColdFusion MX 7 Enterprise Edition

Crystal Player Professional 1.97

Cyber link Power Cinema 4.0

Delphi 7 Professional

DevStudio 9.0

Digital Image Suite 2006

Digital Zenkoku Map Townpage Database 7

Doranet Kids Nyugaku Jyunbi Taikenban

Doranet Shogaku Ichinensei Taikenban

Dungeon Siege II

Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna

EasyRecovery Professional Version 6.04

Fable: The Lost Chapters

Family Feud Online

Fireworks MX2004

Flight Simulator X

Google desktop 4.2006.1008

HD Tach 3

HD Tune 2.5.1

IBM Rescue and Recovery with Rapid Restore 3.00


J2SE Runtime Environment 5.0 Update 9

Java Control Panel

Jv16 Power Tools

Label Mighty 6

Lego Star Wars

LimeWire 4.12

Microsoft Money 2005

Microsoft Money 2006

Minna de TV Denwa Starter

Minna de TV Phone Starter


MS Encarta Standard 2007

Office 2003 Web Folders


Opera 9.02

Outlook 2003

Palm Desktop 6.0

Photoshop 7.0.1

Point 5.3

Power Utility - Remote administration

Premiere Elements 3


Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends

Rosetta Stone 2.1.3

Roxio Easy Media Creator 7.5

SG TCP Optimizer 2.0.3

SmartInstall 2.16

SmartSuite Millennium Edition - Freelance Graphics 9.8

Sony FeliCa Port (PaSoRi)

Speedfan 4.31

The Weather Channel Desktop 5.0.1

Total Commander 6.55

TweakNow PowerPack 2006

Ulead DVD MovieFactory 5 Plus

Virtual CD 8

Zoo Tycoon 2

Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure Expansion Pack

Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species Expansion Pack

Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania Expansion Pack

Zoo Tycoon 2: Zookeeper Collection Expansion Pack

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sometimes you can get your windows xp compatible software and drivers to work in vista. right click the program and select properties. then click on the compatiblity tab. then choose windows xp sp2.

I got the following working with this:

* The Microsoft Office keyboard (I extracted the driver, then changed compatibility and it installed without a problem. Works great!)

* Sound driver installed... the first time I ran the configuration utility and closed it, Vista asked me if it ran correctly. I told it it did. No problems.

* US Robotics modem driver installed perfectly.

* Most of the other programs work without any issues - like Winrar, Winimage, UltraISO, Roboform.

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There are huge numbers of legacy applications that work just fine in Vista:


Besides virtual drives, anti-virus, burning apps, defragmenters and several other notorious categories, most XP software and drivers perform properly prepared by selecting compatibility mode in properties for EACH one when installed.

Personally, of over 90 Programs folders in Vista here, less than a dozen are Vista version specifically designs. Just all the important ones that avoid serious problems. The link details everything commonly encountered.

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