Can a Windows Vista PC Run Windows XP Instead?

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They say that when God closes a door, he makes you use Windows. Of course, it depends on what kind of God you have as to what version he makes you use. My God would make you use Windows 7. Your God may not be so nice, and make you use Windows Vista. We have to deal with Windows, even if we don’t use it on a regular basis. Michael from the PCPitStop community wrote in asking about using Windows XP on his Vista machine. Michael says that his Acer machine currently runs Windows Vista, but he prefers to use XP Pro. He says he ‘knows’ that the operating system is burned onto the HDD, and so he thinks he’ll have to change the HDD.

Michael – this isn’t going to be as difficult as you imagine it will be. It is quite possible to change from Vista to XP on a computer. You may run into snags relating to drivers, and will have to try and find compatible ones. Be aware that some of your hardware may not have drivers for XP – meaning that a switch back to XP would be impossible.

The operating system isn’t burnt into the hard drive. It can be taken off (wiped clean) and another operating system can be placed right onto the hard drive you already have. You could alternately set yourself up with a dual-boot, running both XP and Vista.

Theoretically, yes.. you can do what you’re asking. Practically, you may want to check with your hardware manufacturers (or even Acer) websites to make sure that they have drivers available for XP. Watch out for it, because that’s the one thing that could hurt you the most.

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14 thoughts on “Can a Windows Vista PC Run Windows XP Instead?”

  1. The only time drivers should come into play is if it were a laptop. Even then I don’t think it would be difficult to find drivers. If you can find drivers for a Hackintosh, going from Vista to XP should be a breeze. The only exception I can think of is if the unit has a Blue Ray player/recorder.

  2. He can install XP using some tricks, first of all you have to integrate your storage manager to windows XP. You can use nLite software for that. its so simple.

  3. That’s incorrect, Keith. I’ve done many of what I call ‘retro-installs’ of XP – both on my own computers and other’s. Many times you run into driver problems, and it can be very hard to find XP versions. Other times it’s a piece of cake. I’ve found that getting on the European version of a manufacturer’s website can sometime provide you with XP drivers not found on the US branch of a manufacturer.

  4. Downgrading from Vista to XP is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard. Why not run VirtualBox 3 and host XP instead? You get the best of both worlds this way and VBox 3 includes 3D accelration, so many games can be run this way as well. The whole Vista is bad thing is so old now. With Windows 7 right around the corner, why waste time going backward-and that is what you are doing. Windows 7, 64 bit, will even run a few of the really old games my son has, like Sim Coaster, where Vista won’t even install it. Downgrading to XP for any reason just seems rather short sighted now.

  5. I’ve “converted” well over 100 laptops from Vista to XP, including my personal unit. Acer has been a good resource for XP drivers. Be aware that they have several world wide sites, and I’ve found that the UK and Australia sites have the best selection of XP drivers, even for brand new laptops.

  6. I have an Acer laptop that came with Vista. It is now running XP quite nicely. Also Acer does offere XP drivers on it’s website in the downloads section. This includes many of the drivers for the keys and power management programs. Everything is functioning well under XP Hallelujah

  7. I have a Acer pc running Vista and have never liked Vista very much. Mostly because it refuses to run most of the programs I have on my Win xp machine. Microsoft’s way of forceing us to buy new software. I had two different professional pc people try to remove Vista and install XP on the Acer. Neither of them could get it to work correctly. It would load but it hung up a lot and would not run a lot of the programs xp should be able to run. Best Buy said they could do it but it would cost more than the original cost of the Acer pc. Man I really do hate Microsoft.

  8. My desktop came with Vista installed so I partitioned the hard drive and installed XP on the second partition for dual booting. Soon the computer crashed and I had to return it to the factory for repair. I got it back after 3 weeks with the admonition that they advise against Dual booting. No explanation as far as reasons. This didn”t make sense to me, after all my previous computer was triple booting, DOS, Windows 98 and XP. So I went ahead and tried again, this time succeeding beautifully by using “driver detective” (a purchased program) to find the drivers.Some bits and pieces picked up here and there give me the impression that newer computers are more Unix oriented rather than DOS oriented, one of the possible reasons why one of the older startup disks will not boot anymore.

  9. i’m currently running a triple boot installation of Vista Ultimate, XP Home, and Ubuntu on my Toshiba P100, which is designed for Vista, so it definately is possible.

    All the drivers for xp were on toshiba’s site. I just downloaded all of them, put them onto my external drive, then installed them off of there once the xp install was complete.

  10. Check your motherboard name and model drivers from their website. They will tell you the truth.
    Blue-ray? I am sure Nero will take care of that.

  11. I agree, Keith.

    “If you can find drivers for a Hackintosh, going from Vista to XP should be a breeze. The only exception I can think of is if the unit has a Blue Ray player/recorder.”

    You should be able to find XP drivers even for those. XP is still very widely used, and the Blue Ray Drive manufacturers would want to reach as large a market as possible for their products.

  12. It may be shortsighted to revert back to Windows XP, but, I service a large number of just Users (not geeks or even semi geeks) that are not interested in trying to figure out where all the familiar stuff went to in Vista. Several of my Senior Citizen users are very happy with XP and have no desire to switch. I know because I’ve asked them. Using XP with a decent antivirus and antispyware seems to keep them running just fine. those who choose Vista are just as happy too, so it’s a matter of choice. Vista is not “Bad”, just unnecessarily confusing to some.

  13. You can go from Vista to XP. I did this on my ACER laptop, but ever since I did this my computer now over heats and shuts down. Coincidence, were not sure and well being in China it is hard for someone to work on my computer. My computer works fine except for the over heating problem now. You will also need to find drivers on the net. They are there, it will just take some looking. Good luck.

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