Dell Inspiron 1721 Notebook – Rollback from Vista to XP

  • Comments: 51
  • Written on: March 31st, 2008

After Schrock Innovations‘ much appreciated success in rolling a Gateway notebook back to Windows XP despite the fact that Gateway only provided Windows Vista drivers for the unit.

Word of that success made its way from Nebraska all the way to Pennsylvania where a Vista-strapped Dell Inspiron 1721 longed to run Windows XP instead. The owner of that notebook decided to ship it all the way to our Lincoln, Nebraska computer repair service center to have our technicians take a crack at migrating it back to Windows XP, even though Dell would not provide XP drivers for the unit.

The operation was a resounding success, and the patient is back at home with its owner now. I asked Schrock’s Senior Technician to take detailed notes on what drivers he used and where they were located, just in case you have found yourself in the same situation but cant stand the thought of shipping your Dell to Nebraska.

The first thing we did was install Windows XP on the hard drive and see what Windows could do for itself. We allowed all of the Windows hardware updates to finish, and here is what we were left with:

Videohttp://game.amd.com/us-en/drivers_catalyst.aspx?p=xp/radeonx-xp

Audiohttp://www.dell-drivers.com/dell-drivers-downloads/SIGMATEL-STAC-92XX-C-Major-HD-Audio_821.shtml

Webcam manager - http://www.notebook-drivers.com/ViewDownloadUrl.asp?ID=93222&brNum=3&show=0

Motherboard Driver Suitehttp://www.notebook-drivers.com/notebook-drivers/Dell-Inspiron-1721-notebook-Ricoh-R5C832-R5C833-R5C843-Driver-v.1.0.1-for-Windows-Vista-32-bit-XP-2000_77545.shtml

Modem http://www.dell-drivers.com/dell-drivers-downloads/Conexant-D330_868.shtml

Network cardhttp://www.dell-drivers.com/dell-drivers-downloads/Broadcom-440x-10-100-Integrated-Controller_759.shtml

Wireless Bluetoothhttp://www.dell-drivers.com/dell-drivers-downloads/Dell-Wireless-355-Bluetooth-Module_1053.shtml

Once you have installed these drivers, do a second Windows Update. Some of them have updated versions that Windows can take care of on its own once you have shown it the light. Good luck! Let me know how it goes for you with a comment below!

  1. freeman
    freeman said on April 2nd, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    OMG I hate Vista. I really hate it. I think I have 10 or 12 hours into just trying to wrestle control of it and in watching my hard drive spin for 5 minutes at a time when when I make a big change it doesn’t like. I have an Inspiron 1721 and all I really want to dual boot Debian, where I will spend 90% of my time. Maybe I should do as described. I have an XP Pro disk. But I think I will be loosing a lot of this special multimedia software that is probably worthless.

    Did you read in Ars Technica where 4 M$ VPs rolled their machines back to XP?


    freeman

  2. Garret Byrne
    Garret Byrne said on April 5th, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Hi, i had a query with the below link. It’s about installing XP on Dell Inspiron 1721, now in the link it doesn’t say how they got the XP Pro SP2 disk to see the harddrive on the dell laptop, i’m having that problem at the moment could you please ask who ever posted the guide to contact me with the answer, thank you..

  3. Doug said on April 5th, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Hi, i had a query with the below link. It’s about installing XP on Dell Inspiron 1721, now in the link it doesn’t say how they got the XP Pro SP2 disk to see the harddrive on the dell laptop, i’m having that problem at the moment could you please ask who ever posted the guide to contact me with the answer, thank you..

    Hi, my name is Doug and I am the Senior Tech for Schrock Innovaitons. To answer your question, in the bios you will need to select ‘RAID/ATA’ option. Then you want to make sure AHCI mode is selected. Close out of the bios, saving setting and reboot. You should be able to install XP as if you were on IDE drive with no extra drivers needed. The laptop we have worked on was already in this mode. Most desktops from dell are in this mode from the factory unless the ‘RAID/SATA’ option is selected. It may have been in your case. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

    Doug
    Senior Technician
    Schrock Innovations

  4. Garret Byrne
    Garret Byrne said on April 5th, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Hi Doug, thanks very much for getting back to me, In regards to the bios part i checked it out and the only thing in relation to SATA is ” RAID AutoDetect / ATA – RAID On” I’ve selected “RAID AutoDetect / ATA” but as for AHCI Mode i can’t see it anywhere in my Bios. I have A06 Updated from A05 but even then didn’t see AHCI Mode?

    Is there anything else i can do.. Knowing me i got the only Dell Inspiron 1721 that hasn’t got those options, lol.

    My specs are
    AMD Turion 64X2 TL-60 (2.00 GHz)
    2 GB Ram
    320 GB ( 2X 160GB HDD’s)
    17″ Widescreen Display
    And Vista (Shit), lol Well you already knew that..

    Even on the website i downloaded the drivers for the RAID part and tried to merge them into WinXP with no luck i’m sure i’m missing something.

    Cheers

  5. Garret Byrne
    Garret Byrne said on April 6th, 2008 at 12:33 am

    I’ve done it, finally, lol.. Turns out theres a program that runs after the bios called RAID, you need to go in there by Ctrl + f and removing both RAID settings. Then your XP disk will see your hdd..

    WARNING – if you do this you will loose anything on your harddrive, so make sure you back up.

    Well good luck and enjoy XP. Which i’m typing on now, lol

  6. freeman
    freeman said on April 6th, 2008 at 2:17 am

    RAID is such a bad idea for the average home computer user. And worse for a the average laptop.

    With recovery schemes and backups to huge usb drives, who needs a cheap version of a confusing system that can be downright catastrophic if it goes wrong.

  7. Doug said on April 7th, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Excellent. That was going to be my next suggestion. It appears that the raid option had been selected and was requiring you to set up raid. That wasn’t even an option for us here in the shop. But then again this notebook has never been tried to be re installed either. We saw it as it came directly from Dell. We may just have been fortunate that it did. Thanks for the input.

    Doug

  8. Reinaldo said on May 9th, 2008 at 7:58 am

    URGENT HELP ANYONE!

    I happened to roll back my Inspiron 1721 from Vista to XP. Besides the numerous troubles I experienced trying to get the ******* Vista out I ended up with and acceptable XP setup. However my SoundBlaster card is not working and over one dozen drivers I have tried give either a “no device found” or “Your system is not compatible with this driver” message. I also ocassionally find difficulties to connected to the web and need to reinstall netcard, modem USB drivers.

    Is there any way to have XP recognize my SB? or is there any way to make the “Vista hidden ghost” release the grip it’s got on my machine? I’ve been months trying to solve this to no avail and Dell refuses to support any XP related issue on the 1721. Only Vista.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated to reinaldo.martinez at gmail dot com.

  9. Doug said on May 9th, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Have you gone directly to the Creative Website for the driver. http://us.creative.com/
    Do the drivers work for your Network Card and USB’s and then they seem to malfuntion and do you need to reinstall them all over again. You could be experiencing a hardware problem as well.

    URGENT HELP ANYONE!
    I happened to roll back my Inspiron 1721 from Vista to XP. Besides the numerous troubles I experienced trying to get the ******* Vista out I ended up with and acceptable XP setup. However my SoundBlaster card is not working and over one dozen drivers I have tried give either a “no device found” or “Your system is not compatible with this driver” message. I also ocassionally find difficulties to connected to the web and need to reinstall netcard, modem USB drivers.
    Is there any way to have XP recognize my SB? or is there any way to make the “Vista hidden ghost” release the grip it’s got on my machine? I’ve been months trying to solve this to no avail and Dell refuses to support any XP related issue on the 1721. Only Vista.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated to reinaldo.martinez at gmail dot com.

  10. Adam
    Adam said on May 14th, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Well.. I found the option in the BIOS that allows you to autodetect RAID/ATA. By freeing the array and using this option, windows setup will find your disks.

    My problem now is that once I have installed windows, I do not know how to mirror the working drive (RAID 1). I’ve done this easily on my desktop computer which has a highpoint controller, but when I attempt it on the 1721, it erases both drives to create the array, instead of mirroring one of them.

    Is there any way to install XP with RAID1 on the 1721? Do I have to purchase an external floppy drive, or slipstream my windows disk in order to read the array during windows setup?

    Thanks,

  11. Doug said on May 14th, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Typically at boot up, when you get the option to enter the Raid configuration (right after the splash screen or POST & before Windows starts) you should have the options of selecting not only the type of RAID (Raid 1,5,etc) you should be able to see all available drives. Also you want to be absolutely certain that you are choosing the correct source drive to mirror from. You may be mirroring from the wrong drive. If you are selecting the correct drive, then I would look more at a failing hard drive or the controller being bad because, it is not performing its function correctly. We have seen many computers in Raid 1 that give errors of a degraded raid or other errors and it can always be traced to a bad controller on the motherboard or a fault with the hard drive.

  12. Adam
    Adam said on May 14th, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Hi Doug,
    Thank you very much for your help. Here is my situation

    1. I have XP installed on 1 of my hard drives.
    2. I reboot and set the BIOS to “RAID only” so that it will allow me to access the controller
    3. I reboot again and the controller tells me “no array defined”, as it should
    4. I strike control+F to enter the config utility
    5. Here is the problem; it gives me no option to mirror one disk to another. It only gives two options – (A) which raid type 0,1 and (B) which drives to create the array with.
    6. So all I can do is tell it RAID 1 and select both of my hard drives to make the array out of.
    7. I cannot change the order of the drives, as if it say mirror drive 1 to drive 2. It only allows you to choose which drives you want in the array.
    8. I then receive a warning that my MBR will be deleted
    9. I continue to build the array
    10. When I reboot I get the windows splash screen, and just when it is about to start the computer reboots.

    Please let me know if I am overlooking something critical. Thank you again.

    Best,
    Adam

  13. Doug said on May 14th, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I ran into this problem once before with Raid on a desktop. I had to finally install the operating system after the raid was created and mirroring. So the computer was already in Raid 1 when we installed the OS fresh. The raid array degraded again and we ran into the same problem your having. Unfortunately we had to replace that motherboard later on with a different brand and type and we haven’t had a problem since..

  14. Curtis
    Curtis said on May 20th, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    I have installed XP, and all of the above drivers. Unfortunately I cannot access through the internet. I can see my wireless network, and even connect to it, but there is no network activity, even though I see that it is connected.

    I also have a hard line coming from my router, and XP recognizes that it is connected. But again, when I open an internet browser it says “no network connection.”

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks!

  15. Chris
    Chris said on June 5th, 2008 at 2:32 am

    I am having problems with my audio. I have installed the pack that is lest above, but i am still getting a code ten error for the sigma tel hd audio codec. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  16. Doug said on June 11th, 2008 at 11:01 am

    A lot of times in this situation you are connected to the router and your internal network is working. You can test that by transfering files between computers. It sounds more like your router is not comunicating with your internet connection. If you have a cable modem or DSL modem you’ll want to power down everything, computers, router and internet modem. Plug everything back in starting with your Cablemodem or DSL. Then plug in your router, then turn your computers back on. If you don’t any internet after that you may want to make sure your conectivity is up and working properly. Let me know if this helps.

  17. Doug said on June 11th, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Can you see the card installed in the device manager? There are different versions and uninstalling it then rebooting will sometimes fix the problem. Also if the device is bad or has a problem it will not matter what driver you use it will always produce an error. Let us know what you find. Thanks

    I am having problems with my audio. I have installed the pack that is lest above, but i am still getting a code ten error for the sigma tel hd audio codec. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  18. Lleiter
    Lleiter said on July 1st, 2008 at 9:52 am

    So I got everything up and running abut a few things. Still can’t seem to get any audio. In my Device Manager It shows that the hardware is there for the audio and even shows it as being installed. I just have no sound and I get the yellow circle with an “!”. Also I need to find some place to download Dell’s Quickset so that that will work. Other than that everything seems to be working great. Aweomse Job!

  19. Brett
    Brett said on July 12th, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    I am preparing to install XP into my Inspiron 1721 and was wondering if I sho

  20. Brett
    Brett said on July 12th, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Wow – that was not what I planned. I was saying that I am getting ready to install XP on my Dell Inspiron 1721 and have downloaded the above drivers. Was wondering if I should install them prior to installing XP or after? Also, prior to installing is there anything in the BIOS (ver 07) I need to check out or change? Also, anything I need to backup?

  21. Lori
    Lori said on July 15th, 2008 at 6:49 am

    I just switched my Inspiron 1721 from vista to XP. OMG it is sooo fast and now I son’t have to fight with the dam thing just to do what I want. It is a great computer now. I still am having problems with audio, but think its just finding the right drivers.

  22. Doug
    Doug said on July 15th, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    In response to Brett’s questions, you will want to download those drivers and install them after you get XP installed. Let xp install and do all of the Microsoft updates. Even the drivers. Then download and install those posted on the site here. Hope this helps.

    Doug

  23. Brett
    Brett said on July 15th, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    One last question – should I format my HD and to remove vista in order to do a clean install of XP?

  24. Neil
    Neil said on July 21st, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Ok so I have installed XP on my Insiron 1721. Drivers are installed and working other then the most important one, my network card. I downloaded the Broadcom 440x 10/100 Integrated Card, but when I go to unzip the driver file it tells me “This self-extracting zip file is part of a multidisk zip file. Please insert the last disk of the set.” Since I downloaded this I dont have any “disks”. What should I do? Cant update or validate on the web.

  25. Success at last
    Success at last said on August 10th, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    You can find compatible drivers for the AHCI SATA RAID controller for the Inspiron 1721 over here:

    http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/MIGR-68363.html

    The drivers also support being “streamlined” into a Windows XP install CD, if you use a tool like nLite to modify an existing install CD. Just make be sure to select the “Textmode” version of the driver in nLite.

  26. Al
    Al said on September 23rd, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Rolled back miserable Vista mess to xp pro… the world is a better place now. Thanks for your help, the instructions worked like a charm. I had minor issues with sound and wireless card. You might want to add to your list for anyone rolling back a dell inspiron 1721 to xp that the dell latitude d531 seems to mirror the 1721. I downloaded the sound and wireless drivers from the d531 and it works great. thanks again.

  27. Roy
    Roy said on October 29th, 2008 at 10:07 am

    I was about ready to slit my wrists, now that the laptop is no longer covered by Dell, bubye Vista!!!

    Thanks for this information.

  28. JT
    JT said on December 8th, 2008 at 3:42 am

    Gents,

    I have the 1721, HAD the same woes. Luckily, I’ve been around the game a long time. What I NOW have is both the XP and Vista OS on my HD, and I pick the partition I want to boot from. Why? Here’s what happened:

    I finally got nearly all the stuff working right with XP, but had partitioned the HD in two drives anyway. Got a notion in my head, and installed Vista as well. The first time I tried to do so, I used the stock disks that reinstall everything — a disk image. Of course, that didn’t work well. But I scrounged around and found the actual Vista install DVD. (We’re lucky enough to get one.) Here’s why I’m writing.

    When Dell puts the Vista OS on, they burn a gazillion HDs with the exact same OS install. One size fits none. But when I installed it from scratch, for THIS exact machine, nearly all of the MANY bugs disappeared from Vista, just like that.

    I wouldn’t want to choose. Vista is good when it’s installed this way… but this laptop is a raped ape on XP.

    So… when you’re bored and have everything backed up… give your self options.

  29. James from PPS said on February 21st, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I can’t believe how much I love this laptop now that I have XP on it! Fast as can be! I’m having a heck of a time with the audio, though.

  30. James from PPS said on February 21st, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    found the correct audio drivers here: http://www.getpcmemory.com/drivers/download-dell-inspiron-1545-notebook-windows-xp-drivers/

  31. samm0 said on April 14th, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    BTW I had trouble using the broadcom 1395 wifi driver. I found out that only the Dell Vostro Notebook 2510 shares the same 1395 wifi card. And if you search under that they have drivers for XP and maybe more but I didn’t loook.

  32. Mike
    Mike said on April 30th, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    ATI driver doesn’t. Reports that the software cant find compatible hardware.

  33. Adam said on November 24th, 2009 at 3:31 am

    I also don’t like vista. In spite of everything, I still think that XP is better system.

  34. deadsigns
    deadsigns said on February 15th, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    I did the Ctrl+f and I’m not exactly sure what removing raid means. i deleted the raid but it still won’t find a hd.

  35. DRE
    DRE said on April 21st, 2010 at 2:42 am

    ok, so I also have an inspiron 1721, I had no problems getting win xp on it, my problem lies in the bios, I have 2 sata drive but i DON’T WANT TO USE RAID AT ALL…. now the only option in my bios (A00) in regards to raid is either to use raid or autodetect/ata, is there a way to not use raid and autodetect sata hard drives, I really need your help.. please please help me…. -Dre

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