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Deleting Vista and Installing Windows XP on Lenovo ThinkPad

I recently purchased a Lenovo "IBM" ThinkPad, model T60, with Windows Vista (Home Premium) preinstalled.

After days of dealing with software and hardware that does not work with Vista, I have decided that I would be better off continuing to work with Windows XP.

My question is how to accomplish that.  The ThinkPad comes with a hidden partition from which the factory configuration of the hard drive can be restored; I would like to leave that intact, so that if and when I decide to switch over to Vista, I can.  The ThinkPad also has a button that interrupts the boot process to access various recovery tools; I would like not to damage that feature, either.

I ran a bootable CD with PartitionMagic to see if I could reformat the drive on which Vista is installed, but PartitionMagic reported an error that must be related to the recovery-tools feature; because when I had PartitionMagic "correct" the error, to access to the recovery tools I had through a BIOS access screen.  And even with the "correction," PartitionMagic couldn't make sense of the partitions on the hard drive.  (I have since restored the hard drive to its pre-PartitionMagic configuration.)

I would install Windows XP Home from an available upgrade disk.

I would appreciate guidance to accomplish the OS change.
Avatar of LeeTutor
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If it's an upgrade disk I doubt you could install it because Vista is newer.  If you have a CD for installing an older version of Windows available (perhaps borrow from a friend?), then you could try an upgrade.  But first you would have to format the Vista partition.  Not sure whether the XP install CD would allow that if it detects Vista present already in a partition.  But, secondly, the current version of Partition Magic is not compatible with Vista.  However, there is a partitioning ability built into Vista where you could "shrink" the partition containing Vista, create a new partition in the newly created unallocated space, then you could try installing XP in that.  Then you would have a dual boot system: Vista and XP.  Take a look at this page at Microsoft for a description of using Vista's builtin partitioning capability:
Another possibility is what I've done:  I downloaded and installed Microsoft's new free program Virtual Pc 2007 (which is compatible with Vista, unlike Microsoft's previous version Virtual Pc 2004) and used that to install WinXP as a "virtual OS."  Now I can have both versions of Windows running simultaneously on my pc, and use just a couple of clicks to an icon in the Notification area of the taskbar to switch between them.
Microsoft Virtual Pc 2007
Buy other hard drive and install XP on. It is easest way to do.
You don't need the restore partitions (or their info) IMHO. Clean out the HD, buy a copy of XP and install. The install partitions are just a way for the manufacturers to get away with NOT providing you with proper install media. Since you haven't got XP anyway and Vista won't work properly, you have nothing to lose, but the $$ for an operating system that works.
Avatar of whoami

When you run the XP setup it should only see the partition that vista is installed on and let you format it.  I dont know if you will be able to do it with an upgrade cd.  I think you will have to have a full windows XP home install CD.  

The Lenovo recovery partition is hidden from the OS so that it cannot be easily deleted or formatted.  I would leave that partition in tact just so when you are ready to go to vista that you will have it readily available.  

Lenovo also uses that hidden partition to store rescue and restore backups that are restorable while on the road by pressing the thinkvantage, or thinkpad button on the laptop.  

Avatar of hbock


I have tried installing Windows XP, but before even encountering the problem of a later version of Windows (i.e., Vista) being found, the installation fails because the installation program cannot find my hard drive.  I suspect that this is because of the EISA partition on my hard drive.

Lee Tutor's suggestion of using Virtual PC would be an elegant one, but the same programs that won't run in Vista don't seem to run within Virtual PC.  (They're ones that involve access to virtual CD drives.)  (By the way, even after installing "Virtual PC additions," the Virtual PC console wouldn't let me set up shared folders; I am not sure why.  And I couldn't get an internet connection work ing within Virtual PC, so I would eventually have run into a problem running Windows XP because I couldn't activate it.)

I really don't want to wipe out the IBM ThinkPad utilities and restoration capabilities by wiping off the hard drive.

I am still in search of a practical solution.
The Knoppix CD has a utility called Qparted. This utility should be able to remove the partitions that you don't need and thus free up space. Leave the utility partitions if you like; they're FAT32 partitions, if I remember correctly.

The presence of one type of partition cannot inhibit recognition of the hard drive in itself. I haven't heard of a EISA partition type; the hidden partition(s) should be FAT or FAT32.
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