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Can I Convert a Dell Inspiron Laptop from Windows 7 to Windows XP

I received for Christmas a Dell Inspiron Laptop.  Preloaded with Windows 7.  Sure do wish I could convert it to Windows XP.  Is there a way I can do this?
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Yes.  You can install XP using your Windows 7 license by taking advantage of your "downgrade rights."  

Install a copy of Windows XP Professional with the product key that came with the copy, and then when you hit the activation screen -- which is near the end of the installation process -- select the activate by phone option rather than the online method. You'll likely end up talking with a live rep; tell him that you're downgrading from windows 7 to XP, and give him the Win 7 product key. The rep is supposed to walk you through the rest.
Avatar of Gary Case
With regard to the comment above that you can "... install XP using your Windows 7 license by taking advantage of your "downgrade rights" ..."  ==>  XP downgrade rights only apply to Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate.    If your laptop came with Windows 7 Home Premium (likely) then you can NOT downgrade without purchasing an XP license.

As for installing XP (regardless of whether you need a new license or not),  it's very simple to install -- but be sure your laptop has XP drivers available  ==> simply check the Dell web site for your specific Inspiron model  [Enter your specific model # here: ]
If you are comfortable, install  Windows XP as a virtual machine, in VMware server. this way you will have best of both worlds. Licensing issues, though need to be taken into mind.

Lil tough task...

For installing XP on a brand new labtop first you need the harddisk driver for DELL laptop. Download the ini files from motherboard manufacturer and using slipstraming you need to add this drivers to XP ISO image and write the new CD with drivers.

Using this CD only you can install XP on a brand new laptop because these harddisk/SATA drive was not there when XP released. Once installed you can download other drivers from DELL if it supports XP OS.
Avatar of billinshermanoaks


All of these seem to be excellent answers.  But none of them seem to be the answer to the question I asked.  I eventually decided to buy a new OS disc because I couldn't figure out -- and the answers here didn't address -- how to recreate one.

Hi Bill:

Yes, you can convert your Windows 7 to Windows XP in 3 steps:

1. Download all the windows drivers you needs for your system from the Dell website (use your service tag).

2. Back up your data.

3. Reformat your drive and install Windows XP + drivers.


1. You were correct in buying a new OS disc (Windows XP) as this is essential for installing XP.  

2. Using your "Downgrade rights" is not an option for you.  As a home user of Windows 7, you cannot "recreate" an XP disc (legally).

3. abhilash_mand is correct in saying that you might run into problems installing XP because your computer is too new and XP won't "recognize it when trying to install the OS.  His slipstreaming suggestion was anticipating this problem.

With reference to my question on the 13th, How does that first step of getting the drivers sound to you?  If you're comfortable with step one, we can walk you through the steps.  Otherwise, I would recommend bringing your new XP disc and computer to a shop.

Hope this helps,


Your question was "... Can I Convert a Dell Inspiron Laptop from Windows 7 to Windows XP?"

Not sure why you don't feel it was answered.    The answer is simple:   Yes, you can do so;  but you'll have to buy a copy of XP unless your laptop has the Professional or Ultimate version of Windows 7, in which case you have "downgrade" rights, and can install XP without the need to purchase a new license.

That's exactly what I said in comment #26564751  ==> where I also noted that the actual installation of XP is very simple, with the caveat that you should first prepare by downloading the drivers for XP, which are readily available on Dell's web site.
In any event Bill, I hope you enjoy your present.  I also run XP on my systems but that's just a personal preference.