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Need Help in Downgrading Dell Vista Business to XP Pro

Posted on 2009-04-26
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I just bought a Dell Inspiron 530, with downgrade rights from Vista to XP being one of the main reasons for the purchase. I am stuck in making the downgrade, as Dell's website information is pretty well worthless. I did an online chat and was referred to a specific page with simple instructions that simply failed, with the bomb-out message saying that I could not downgradde because there was a newer operating system already installed. I downloaded the user's manual, and it doesn't have any information at all on downgrading.

The Dell came with Vista Business pre-installed. It cranked up when I turned the machine on. The unit also came with two Dell "Operating System - Already Installed on Your Computer" CDs, one for Windows Vista Business 32bit SP1 and one for Windows XP Professional SP 3.

When I inserted the XP disk to see what it would do/say, it wanted to install XP, but stopped, with the "newer operating system already installed" message.

Both disks have the following information printed on them: "This CD is not for the installation of programs or drivers." Does this mean that even though it's a Dell-made disk, the drivers for (whatever) aren't on it? I was thinking of just reformatting the thing since it's a brand new computer, but I feel shaky, uncertain of what I need to do . I don't want to start out screwing up the darn thing before I even get a chance to use it

Please note that I do NOT want Vista as the operating system, and do not want "solutions" advising me to stick with it.

So here I am, experts. What do I need to do and how should I do it?

Thanks in advance for your time and help..

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Question by:RadioGeorge
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by:PUNKY
PUNKY earned 300 total points
ID: 24238500
You have to delete and format the hard drive prior install XP.
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Author Comment

by:RadioGeorge
ID: 24238519
ADDED COMMENT: I just found out that I have a Dell "Drivers and Utilities Already Installed on Your Computer" CD. Is simple reformatting the answer? The expression "downgrade rights" seems to imply more than that.
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Dextertronic earned 900 total points
ID: 24238522
Did you recieve any other CD's when you got the Dell?
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LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:Dextertronic
Dextertronic earned 900 total points
ID: 24238530
Downgrade rights is just a reference to your right to use the older version of the software.

There is no automated downgrade process from the Vista OS to XP OS

Boot with the supplied XP CD system restore CD and reformat.

Any drivers not included on the "system restore" CD will be on the "Drivers and Utilities" CD.

Having said that it doesn't hurt to go to the Dell website and check for more newer drivers on a regular basis.

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LVL 39

Assisted Solution

by:PUNKY
PUNKY earned 300 total points
ID: 24238582
Downgrade right from dell: http://www.dell.com/dellhasanswers
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Author Comment

by:RadioGeorge
ID: 24238622
Dextertronic: "Boot with the supplied XP CD system restore CD and reformat."

--Won't work, friend...see my original question. I tried this and the options that appear include "format XP Professional," but when you choose that option it says that you no can do because there is a "newer" (meaning Vista, of course) OD already installed, and that's that.

So, reformat or another route?
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by:Dextertronic
Dextertronic earned 900 total points
ID: 24238634
Reformat is your simplest and quickest option.
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Assisted Solution

by:willcomp
willcomp earned 150 total points
ID: 24238730
You cannot format a Vista partition with XP. First try deleting the Vista partition in XP setup. You should be able to delete the partition and create a new partition to install XP on.

If the above does not work, boot from the UBCD and wipe hard disk using DBAN. That will remove Vista restore partition and Dell diagnostics partition as well but you will have a pristine disk to work with.  http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
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Assisted Solution

by:Kechka
Kechka earned 150 total points
ID: 24238934
Are you are trying to run the downgrade CD from Vista? Insert CD, reboot, in BIOS choose boot device CD ROM and then try downgrade.
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Author Closing Comment

by:RadioGeorge
ID: 31574778
Thank you for your replies. From them, I got the general idea that a reformat was goingt to be necessary, which is not that big a deal. However, some wording was not entirely clear. I wound up calling Dell support, since this is a new computer, and a tech walked me through the reinstall which did have a couple of choices that were entirely system-specific. I might have been able to guess at a couple of them, but the help provided (even from India) was clear, comprehensive and complete. so the problem has been solved.
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