Think Again if You Plan to Remove Vista and Install XP on a Laptop

  • Comments: 239
  • Written on: April 3rd, 2007

The above picture is of Johnny Cash in his “One Piece at a time” Cadillac that was featured in his hit 1976 song. It is funny how a 1976 song that is silly at best could come to personify installing Windows XP on a notebook that came with Vista preinstalled.

I am sending major kudos to our Senior Repair Technician, Blaze Johnson for sorting out one of the biggest hardware driver headaches we have seen since Windows 95. If you are planning on buying a new notebook computer with Vista preinstalled and hope to install Windows XP yourself instead, you have some surprises in store for you.

In this particular case we had purchased a brand new Gateway notebook computer that had Windows Vista preinstalled on it (as almost all notebooks now do). Our client needed to have Windows XP Professional on the notebook, as their IT department was not supporting Vista yet (as most will not at this time).

Blaze opened up the new laptop and wiped the hard drive in what would normally be a quick and easy XP Professional install. Then the driver fun began.


The notebook was equipped with a SATA (Serial ATA) hard drive for faster data throughput. SATA hard drives require a SATA software driver for Windows to recognise them during the installation process. Blaze went to Gateway’s website and was surprised to find no Windows XP drivers AT ALL were available for the unit. Not a single one.

So now we had a problem. Without a Windows XP SATA driver, the notebook would not install Windows XP. Next we checked the Intel website to see if they had a driver for Windows XP (after all, it was their SATA chipset). Again, Blaze hit a brick wall. No XP drivers were available, but every Vista driver known to man was ready for download. Blaze called me and explained the situation and together we set out on a driver hunt unlike anything we have had to do in years.

With “One Piece at a Time” rolling through my head, I started searching for a SATA driver. I started by double checking Blaze’s work, and as usual it was thorough. There were no drivers available for this chipset in the usual places. Next, I found an IBM notebook that used the same chipset, but came with Windows XP preinstalled. I located that IBM driver and sent it to Blaze, and by golly it worked!

Now we could at least install Windows XP on the hard drive. Unlike most installations of XP where the drivers are simply found by the operating system, not a single device on the laptop functioned after the installation was complete. We were going to have to use the same patchwork search to find the software needed for each separate system in the notebook.

Next we needed video and audio drivers, which were easy enough to come by from the NVIDIA website. We had to visit the HP.com to find modem and bluetooth drivers.

Next we headed for the Dell website where we were lucky enough to find a driver for the unit’s wireless chipset.

So now our client has a Gateway Notebook running an IBM SATA driver, HP communication drivers, and a program that says the notebook has a Dell wireless network card in it, when in fact it does not. The bottom line is that it WORKS and it was done in time for our client to make her trip to Washington D.C. with Windows XP. This kind of thing is enough to make a geek drink. Thanks to all of the hardware vendors out there who decided XP was dead just because Vista is here.

  1. technology said on July 12th, 2010 at 12:54 am

    nevermind, they won’t let me return it now. Anyone want to baby step me through it?

  2. Firstinkjets said on July 20th, 2010 at 4:57 am

    just installed windows 7 and thinking about going back to XP, do i have a chance or am i going to get problems?

  3. Jesse
    Jesse said on August 1st, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Windows XP for the win, vista sucks.

  4. Klub said on September 20th, 2010 at 9:47 am

    great post… i’ll think about it next time… or I’ll get me a mac 🙂

  5. Rent A Car said on September 29th, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Am I detecting a negative Vista vibe? I thought you loved M$ 🙂
    Thanks for sharing..)

  6. oyun said on October 31st, 2010 at 5:42 am

    Well since there is win 7 now, i don’t think it’s necessary to install xp again

  7. Emma said on November 25th, 2010 at 5:35 am

    I deffo agree , even thought I downloaded all of it’s XP driver from their site , still it’s performance ain’t comparable , so switched back to Vista

  8. Guy
    Guy said on December 10th, 2010 at 9:37 am

    I am a big fan of Windows 7, it’s hard to remember life with Vista or XP. Definitely some big improvements, can’t help but feel they have been inspired by Apple though.

  9. Atlanta Remodeler said on January 24th, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I can’t even put into words how horrible Vista is. I grin every time I use free open source code software and then donate. How can Microsoft have so many programmers and spend so much in development and still produce more errors and fixes than anyone? They need to quit drinking the purple kool-aid at work. I love XP and have only heard good things about 7, of course after Vista, getting hit in the head with a hammer would be an up-grade. Thanks for the warning about tying to exorcise Vista and replace with XP, wish it worked better as the alternative before 7 was suicide…

  10. Dukla said on March 28th, 2011 at 2:10 am

    After installing xp im facing so many problems..so many drivers are no supported

  11. frases de amor said on April 1st, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Uff, really Vista was a huge mistake from Mricrosoft…XP is better!

  12. venkatabalagi said on April 18th, 2011 at 5:51 am

    hai i am using gateway m-6843 laptop recently i am install windows 7 ultimate version but in that java jdbc and servlets are not working so i want to change my os into windows xp so i am try to installing with bootable windows xp sp2 cd there i can get problem which is showing me there is no disk to select to install it shows like below after some time
    “check to be you have adequate disk space if your driver is
    identified in the stop message,disable the driver or check with the
    manufacturer for driver updates.try changing video adapters
    check with your hardware vendor for any bios updates.disable bios memory
    options such as caching or shadowing if you need to use safe mode to
    remove or disable components,restart your computer ,press f8 to select advanced startup options ,and then select safe mode
    technical information :
    **** stop:0X0000008e (0Xc0000005,0Xf74139a8,0Xf6fd175c,0X00000000)
    **** setupdd.sys-address f74139a8 base at f73ec000,datestamp 41107c8f

    pls give me solution to installing windows xp in my laptop.

  13. rental cannes said on April 19th, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I can’t even put into words how horrible Vista is. I grin every single time I use free of charge open source code software then donate.

  14. fotos said on April 22nd, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I have successfully installed windows XP. thank you

  15. Obama Healthcare said on April 28th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    I’m curious as to your thoughts on Windows 7?

  16. Sump Pump Battery Backup said on May 24th, 2011 at 11:51 am

    If we talk about microsoft windows, then Xp is only and right choice.

  17. Buy Cycling Jerseys said on May 25th, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Thats a mad story – to this day I have no idea why MS introduced Vista – I thought Xp was great! 🙂

  18. Toaster Reviews said on May 30th, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    great read,sounds like a nightmare to me . Do you know how many hours it took you to get the machine fully operational with XP?

  19. Online Directory Listing said on July 29th, 2011 at 7:07 am

    hi
    I want to know that what is the importance of the SATA driver for you?

  20. Komodo Dragon said on August 2nd, 2011 at 4:42 am

    @Petro: That’s a good point. Sometimes, that’s the advantage of more personalized enterprises like Thor’s.. they care more for the customer and makes him or her realize they truly care to solve a problem. With a huge corporation, you feel like just another customer.

  21. Kat@ Ways To Work At Home said on August 22nd, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I realize this is an old article, so I’m wondering if this is still an issue??? I need a new laptop, but don’t want Vista. I really don’t want the hassle of switching to XP.

  22. none
    none said on August 24th, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Hate… Everything uses Win7 now, this is no longer an issue, and has not been for years.

    All this bitching and complaining is also for nothing as the issue is with the 3rd party developers who massively dropped the ball in getting drivers ready for Vista. These laptops referred to in the artivle WERE NOT DESIGNED FOR XP/2000/98 etc etc. They do not have to create drivers for outdated operating systems for new hardware they create, thats why it was so hard to get working drivers for this new hardware with an outdated operating system.
    Every company has lemons when developing, MS is no exception.

  23. used tires said on October 1st, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Kat, I think it will be extremely difficult to install Win XP right now, if not downright impossible as Microsoft have pulled most of their support for XP anymore sadly.

    -Jean

  24. Durable Medical Equipment said on October 15th, 2011 at 4:17 am

    i have installed windows 7 and it is working well in my laptop.I am not thinking about installing windows XP

  25. College Textbooks said on October 21st, 2011 at 9:11 am

    This was hard for me too, I am glad windows 8 is coming out soon!

  26. extractor fans kitchen said on October 30th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Very impressive post, but wont Win vista eat up all th ram..

  27. gold equipment said on January 17th, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Thanks for stopping by. Mac clones existed in the past, but Apple changed their OS licensing to crush them when Jobs came back.

  28. bestfreeantop said on February 29th, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I love windows 7 now and keeping windows XP as virtual machine.

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  30. Promotional T shirts said on April 2nd, 2012 at 3:35 am

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  31. side turkey said on April 24th, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Not vista. But I have tried remove Win 7 and install XP. Everything is ok but on Win 7 pc can install drivers (audio, video, graphic exc.) automatic but on XP you must install it yourself.And than I install Linux. Linux is the best but my country every program maker preapering for windows. Thats upset!

  32. Promotional T shirts said on May 2nd, 2012 at 5:29 am

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  34. Promotional T shirts said on July 18th, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I just was compelled to buy a new pc PC due to a energy increase eliminating my old one. This is for a company. I have had nothing but problems trying to get my other devices to perform with VISTA.

  35. Promotional T shirts said on August 2nd, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I was considering getting windows XP and establishing up it into this pc, but now I’m not sure that is such a intelligent idea. Is the same problems going to happen with a PC as it did for the laptop? I do not hook up that pc to the globally web at all because it is only used for our organization.

  36. Doral Homes
    Doral Homes said on October 11th, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    I just purchased a Toshiba satellite personal project manual with vista premium. I”m not finding much premium about it. I actually must switch back to xp but I run a little business and can’t be without the laptop for weeks on end. Does someone have the fix for this one so I can get my life back? Thanks!

  37. Doral Homes
    Doral Homes said on October 27th, 2012 at 3:42 am

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  39. Doral Homes
    Doral Homes said on December 4th, 2012 at 5:40 am

    no need to thing about that …because this this the time when every one using the win-xp so i am also going to do the same thing.

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