You should read these instructions completely and not attempt to do this unless you're completely comfortable with all the steps I describe. If you have any iimportant data on the computer containing Microsoft Vista, make sure you have a back up copy of it.
You may want to remove Microsoft Vista and Replace it with Windows XP because all the other computers in your location already have XP on them and you don't want to learn Vista. Or you may want to remove Microsoft Vista because you are experiencing program incompatibilities or you just don't want to learn how to use a new operating system.
Lately, I've instructed and assisted some of my friends with removing Microsoft Vista from new computers and replacing it with copies of Microsoft XP instead. I've written the instructions below:
* Have a BACKUP of your current hard drive, in case anything goes wrong and you have to restore the old installation
* Have the CORRECT DRIVERS on a disc — For example, if you're installing windows XP, be sure to have all the correct sound, video, and port drivers specifically written for Windows XP and this computer . Different drivers from different laptops and different operating systems are mostly NOT compatible.
* HAVE A VALID REGISTRATION KEY for WINDOWS — Microsoft will not let you upgrade your operating system with necessary patches until you VALIDATE your copy of Windows XP – by phone or online. If you try to update or format your system with a shared or borrowed copy of Windows XP, your result may be a crippled or non-working copy of Windows XP on your computer. You'll need that 20 character number from your Windows Certificate of Authenticity. A certificate of Authenticity looks like the image below:
1 ) Put the installation CD of XP or Windows 2000 into the CD drive and start the computer. Your computer should display “Press a key to start from CD”. You must boot from the CD because you'll need to format the C: drive partition where Windows is installed on the hard drive.
If your computer is displaying a blue screen with white text, then you can proceed to step #2.
Your computer's “Boot Order” tells the computer which device to check first when starting the computer. If your computer did not boot from the CD, you'll need to power on your computer and press either the F2 or F10 or Del key — depending on your computer — to display your computer's BIOS menu. In the Bios Menu, find the menu that allows you to change the “boot order” and make a change so that the computer will boot from the CD first, instead of the hard drive.
2 ) A blue screen with white text will be displayed. Press F8 to accept the Windows XP Licensing Agreement. The Windows XP Setup program will search for existing Windows installations and “repair or install fresh copy” will appear if a Windows installation currently exists on your machine. Press [Esc] (don't repair).
3 ) A list of your computer's disc partitions will be displayed. Press the UP or DOWN arrow keys to choose your main install partition. Note that your system partition must be a primary partition (usually the first partition that appears in the list), not a logical partition.
4 ) Once you have selected your main partition, press ENTER. “You already have a system installed” will be displayed if you already have Windows installed on this partition.
5 ) Press C to continue. From the options displayed, select “Format the partition using the NTFS file system” then press Enter. Windows XP can also run on FAT32, but the NTFS file system is recommended because it is more stable. You will receive a warning about formatting the drive unless t
he drive is brand-new -Press “F” to confirm you know that you will be formatting the drive. The disc formatting may take a while depending on the capacity of your hard drive.
6 ) The Windows XP install should begin automatically after the formatting is complete. If not, restart the computer with the Windows XP CD in the drive and follow the instructions for installing Windows XP. This can take 35 minutes or more depending on the speed of your computer.
7 ) Once Windows XP has been installed, connect the computer to the Internet, start the Internet Explorer browser, and visit http://update.microsoft.com/windowsupdate to download and install the latest security patches and updates for your operating system. This could take up to an hour depending on the age and version of your freshly installed copy of Windows XP. When I did this last week, there were 79 security patches for the version of Windows XP that I installed.
8 ) Install the sound, video, modem, and other drivers that are specific to your computer and your operating system — as mentioned in the very first step. Follow the instructions as provided by your computer manufacturer. You may be told to restart your computer between installing some drivers according to your manufacturer's directions.
9 ) Restart your computer, then select “Start > Help and Support” Click any update links you see to install the latest patches and drivers from Microsoft and from your computer manufacturer.
That's it. Good luck!
UPDATE: “No Hard Disk” error displayed on XP install (SATA drive versus ATA/IDE drive)
The two most most popular types of hard drives in personal computers are ATA (also known as IDE hard drive) and SATA hard drives. Many newer computers have SATA hard drives installed, but your computer may have either an (older design) ATA/IDE hard drive or a (newer design) SATA hard drive installed.
After removing Vista, when you reboot your computer, a “No Hard Disk” error may be displayed if your computer has a SATA drive installed. To fix the “No Hard Disk” error, you may need configure your computer’s BIOS settings so that it can recognize the SATA drive installed in you computer. Reconfiguring your BIOS is typically not required if your computer has an ATA/IDE hard drives installed.
Step 1: Activate your computer’s BIOS menu. The first or second screen your computer displays on status may display which key (or keys) you must press to activate your computer’s BIOS menu. You can also look in the index of your computer’s manual for “BIOS” or you can try passing the [Del] or [F1] key when text is first displayed after powering on your computer.
Step 2: BIOS menus vary by computer, but there are seldom more than a few menu categories. Review the “Main” and “Advanced” menu categories to locate your hard drive setting. When you locate the hard drive setting, be sure to note the original drive setting in the bios so that you can restore the original drive setting if your new configuration doesn’t work.
Step 3: Change the drive setting to “IDE,” then save the BIOS settings (usually by pressing the [F10] function key then restart your computer.
If changing your BIOS hard drive setting to IDE doesn’t work, return to step one and restore the original hard drive setting
UPDATE: “Setupdd.sys could not be loaded” error message
According to the Microsoft Support website, a “Setupdd.sys could not be loaded” error message may be displayed “if your computer contains a hardware component that is either damaged or is incompatible with Windows XP.” Some users have reported that this error is displayed if the computer doesn’t have enough RAM memory, or if one of the the RAM memory modules is damaged.
Microsoft provides troubleshooting and resolution for the Setupdd.sys error at the link below: