Can't Downgrade My New ASUS R503U From Win8 to XP (stop laughing)

I purchased this new laptop running Windows 8 and as a software developer I was apprehensive from the beginning.  I just generally dislike having to learn a new way to do something that I already know how to do (or where something is and has been for the last 10 years, etc. as in XP).  I tired to like it, I even changed the color scheme to a nice pretty peachy color but I can't get a damn thing done on it.

So now I've replaced the drive with a clean one so I can install XP but I can not get it to boot from the DVD drive.  The computer didn't come with any disks and the only thing that happens when I start it up is I can hear it access the DVD drive and give it a little spin like it's going to let me boot from it but then it goes directory to the Aptio Setup Utility.  

If I reboot and hit the esc key to get it to give me a boot menu it says "Please select boot device" but the only option displayed says "Enter Setup".

Under the Advanced main menu tab, if I go into SATA Configuration it shows the 0 dirve as the SATA drive with the serial number and then beneath it is shows the ATAPI CDROM with it's serial number.

Under the Boot main menu tab there are only two options:
Fastboot [enable/disable]
Launch CSM (inaccessible)
Boot Option Priorities (inaccessible)
Delete Boot Option which is live but there is nothing there to Delete

There is also a Network stack [enable/disable]
Ipv4 PXE Support [enable/disable]
Ipv5 PXE Support [enable/disable]
Ipv6 Delay Time of 0

I have no idea what any of that means

Anyone can get this machine to boot from the CDRom drive and install XP I will be more than happy to award you all 500 points.  If it's a collaborative effort I'll divide them as equitably as possible.

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here is how to start an install on an UEFI system - it's for W7, but starting Xp is the same:

note that XP won't have the necessary Sata controller driver, so you would need to download that first  - to load it during install (F6 key)
Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
a quick look on asus site for this model shows drivers for windows 7 and windows 8; nothing for xp so i'm doubtful you will be able to install it there bare metal without proper drivers

better option would probably keep windows 8 as-is and loading virtual box and running xp in a virtual machine
i agree that you should look into the drivers first.
you can always run from your W8 disk, and note what devices are installed - and the drivers
then google them

or use this method :
if you have  unknown devices in device manager, you can use this procedure to identify them :

1-visit the motherboard manufacturers support site, for downloading drivers
2- use windows update >optional updates to find them

3-Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Information.
Now select  "Components" and highlight "Problem Devices".
All hardware devices with a driver problem will be listed here.
Make a note of the first line of the PNP Device ID line of the entry. It will show a Vendor number and a Device number (VENxxxxDEVxxxx) both four digits long.
Look up those numbers here:

This will tell you the manufacturer and the chip number.  
Check the manufacturer's website first or google them - or post them here

If your LAN is running, you can also use windows update> optional drivers, or  use slimdrivers :
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1. I take that install cd is original.

2. If after updating drivers it doesn't let you boot from cd. Update firmware of the laptop motherboard.

3. If updating motherboard doesn't get it read cd/dvd-device. You can try to make an usb-bootdevice but this might work if you can open bootdevice setup.

All together i found it odd that you can't access boot options. This might be due to missing drivers or hitch in laptops motherboards firmware.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
First check that your XP installation CD is bootable by launching it from a machine you know boots from CD OK.  You need to know it boots OK for the rest of the installation process to be successful.

The machine has an AMD A68M chipset so you'll need these drivers: download them and keep safe.

This isn't going to be easy or neat as XP has no idea about the hardware in your PC and as an operating system pre-dates most of the technology used.  At this point I'd back up the suggestion that you setup XP as a virtual operating system within Windows 8 which will give you nearly all the XP functionality including your pretty peach background but runs inside the operating system that came with the laptop so you can (gradually) come out of your XP comfort zone and get used to how Microsoft are moving us.

You've already got the info you need on the UEFI locking.

From that download link (You just need the one labelled "Chipset Drivers" you'll find a folder at:

You can extract the folder by opening he Chipset installer .exe file with something like 7zip (free) or WinRAR (Trial period).

The files in there are the (AHCI) ones you'll need for installing XP.  As you don't have a floppy disk drive you're going to need to add these to your XP bootable installation CD.  You can merge the CD and the drivers together using this tool which will take you through the process.  When it asks for any additional drivers add these as SATA drivers.  It will create a bootable disk image which you can burn to CD.

When installing XP will ask you to press F6 to install hardware drivers for the drive controller, it will seem for a few seconds that nothing has happened then you'll be presented with a list of optional drivers including the one you installed.
Look for the option "AMD AHCI Controller"

Once XP is installed (!)  Run the downloaded .exe driver from AMD (13-4_xp32-64_sb.exe) to add support for all the other chipsets on the systemboard.

Then we need to see what if anything is missing.

Sure we can't convince you to try the virtual machine option?
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
you have to disable secure boot.. The options may be in your bios or within windows 8 itself.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
As (finally) noted above, you have to disable Secure Boot in the BIOS -- it is not an option in Windows 8, it's a BIOS parameter.

Once you disable Secure Boot, you won't have any problem booting to your XP CD.

You may, however, as already noted, have some "challenges" finding the appropriate drivers for the hardware.   If you post the specifics after you have XP installed and see what Device Manager needs, we may be able to help.
also - remember any 32 -bit OS is limited to 4 Gb ram Max
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
it is not an option in Windows 8, it's a BIOS parameter. Some OEMS have added this option in their installed applications. It does require a reboot to become active.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
It's always a BIOS parameter => but on some systems it's VERY difficult to enter the BIOS directly (the UEFI boot is VERY quick) without going through the Windows 8 Settings menu to change the parameters.    No matter how you change it, it requires a reboot.
You might want to try a USB floppy drive as well for loading the drivers, if you have enough USB connectors. They are cheap enough ($10 on Ebay USA) and I am pretty sure mine worked OK with a Windows/2003 server boot when I needed floppy drivers but its been a long time since I tried and it may depend on the BIOS....
Dear , can you see the detail in the Bios  you fine in advance option can you change type of hard drive choose the auto or try other option
and fallow the web Steps
Be careful, starting with Windows 8, Microsoft have introduced "secure boot", in partnership with the manufacturer, and this "feature" prevents the user from loading any other OS than the one that was factory installed.
Check if you can disable Secure Boot in your BIOS.

But as other said, you will face a big challenge: you might not have the XP drivers for your hardware, so XP will certainly not work (or with degraded performances).

Now, if you really want to try to install and boot XP, I suggest that you use ANOTHER HD to install it, so that you can mount the original HD (provisioned with Win8) back to the laptop in case you don't succeed.
So: disable Secure Boot:
Configure the laptop to boot off the DVD drive

Alternate leads:
- Boot and Install XP (or 7) from a USB drive/key.
- Use wimboot to PXE boot into a Windows PE installation environment

Now, using Windows 8 is certainly a PITA, but you may want to get used to it. Win8 SP1 should make things better. And as another expert said earlier, installing XP in a Virtual Machine (VirtualBox and VMPlayer are free) would make it possible for you to use XP for usual tasks and to use Win8 for "new tasks". Just make sure that 'VT" (virtualization technology)  is enabled at the BIOS/UEFI level.    (using Win8 as a virtualization host for virtualbox may not be completely supported, you'll have to check. VMware Player is maybe easier).
"... using Windows 8 is certainly a PITA..."  ~vivigatt

[PITA: Pain in the abdomen.  ;-)]

Any thing new (or making any changes to our habits) is painful at first.  New baby. :-)

But, for Windows 8, using "Classic Shell" or other programs one can continue with the Windows 7 (or XP) Start Menu, and minimize the pain.  :-)
An important thing to consider is that extended support for XP ends April 2014. After that point, XP will no longer receive security updates, and will become increasingly vulnerable to hacking and malware. Not to mention that more and more software will be updated and no longer support XP. So installing XP on a new laptop is, at this point, a fool's errand.

As aadih pointed out, there's shell replacements like Classic Shell that will make the UI in Windows 8 very similar to XP:
MariyamAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for your input but I think I might be asking the wrong question.
Why am I unable to see the DVD drive or the hard drive as an option in the Boot Menu and how do I get them to appear so that I can boot from the DVD drive.  I've tried two different XP disks one 32 bit & one 64 bit but still the only option I have is "Enter Setup".

I tried referencing the UEFI page but none of those photos match anything I'm seeing, maybe because I'm not trying to install Win7?

Obviously something needs to be reset.  The original hard drive still works in the computer so what is the difference?  What is turned off or on and what do I need to do in order to fix it?

My main reason for not wanting to use a virtual machine inside of Win8 is because I have no idea what Win8 is doing and I have software that I paid for that only works in XP because that's part of the licensing agreement.  And then there is the issue of the use of additional resources on an already slow OS.  As far as the XP drivers are concerned, aren't the new operating system supposed to be backwards compatible?  

Anyone?  . . . - - -  . . . /
You have to disable secure boot in your BIOS/UEFI, otherwise, you will only be able to boot off the original HDD
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
As ve3ofa and I both noted on 2 Sep, and vivigatt noted on 3 Sep (and again above), you simply need to disable Secure Boot.

With Secure Boot enabled, only devices that are "registered" in the special boot sector on the hard drive will be allowed to boot.

This is an extra layer of security designed to minimize the likelihood of boot sector viruses; but it's a real PITA if you want to use any partition manager tools; multi-boot; etc.

Many of us have it disabled on our Windows 8 systems to provide a lot more flexibility in the setup.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
At the risk of repeating what has already been said and included in some of the links above, this is how to get to your "hidden" boot options menu from Windows 8

From PC Settings (Windows Key + "I")

 - In version 8.0 choose "General" from the left side of the menu

- In 8.1 Choose "Update & Recovery" and then "Recovery"

In both you should then see an option for "Advanced Setup" on the right

- Click the "Restart now" button

This will take you to the "Choose an option" menu

- Click "Troubleshoot"

- Now click "Advanced Options"

You should now have six options - choose "UEFI Firmware Settings"

- Press restart

This will now open a "hidden" part of the systemboard's BIOS settings menu

Look for your boot options.

You should see options for enabling/disabling fast boot, secure boot  and changing boot devices/order.

As there are several different appearances of this screen you might find it helpful to attach a screenshot of the view on your machine if you are unsure what you need to change.

This process is independent of whatever operating system you might want to add.

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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Note also that the process Masqueraid outlined above may also be the only convenient way to get to the UEFI BIOS.    Some newer systems have a VERY tiny window for hitting the right key to enter the BIOS (< 1/4 sec).

But that process works just fine -- and while you're there the first thing I'd disable is "Quick Boot" (which will allow more time to enter it during POST);  and the 2nd thing is disable Secure Boot ... which will then let you do what you've been trying to do here :-)
MariyamAuthor Commented:
There is no entry entitled "Secure Boot" so I have no option to disable it although after having re-installed the original hard drive and following the steps outlined by MASQUERAID Posted on 2013-09-12 at 22:34:00ID: 39489262 I now have two additional entries:

Boot Option #1 [Windows Boot Manage...] and
Add New Boot Option

When I select Boot Option #1 the submenu reads:
    Windows Boot Manager (PO: Hitachi HTS545...) (automatically selected)

When I select Add New Boot Option I get the following submenu:
    Add Boot Option
    Path for boot option
    Boot option File Path

Selecting Add boot option just allows you to enter a name for the option (DVD Drive)
Select Path for boot option however asks that you select a File System and defaults to (the only option):

If I select this option then it wants the name of the boot file (and path).
I can't get past this step without selecting something without shutting down the computer (it won't accept any of the options).  If I hit the Escape key to bring up the boot menu it still only has two options, the Windows Boot Manager (PO: Hitachi HTS....) and Enter Setup.

From the last two comments it appears to me that in order for the DVD drive to display in the boot menu I have to disable the Secure Boot.  If there is no secure boot option, irrespective of which drive is in the computer then how am I supposed to disable it?

I really do appreciate your assistance even if it doesn't appear that way but the problem for me is being told WHAT to do, instead of explaining HOW to do it with a handful of exceptions.
Call ASUS tech support and ask them how to disable SecureBoot.
We (at least I) don't have your computer (or the very same model) to find out HOW to do it.
Alternatively, use google and search "ASUS R503U Secure Boot "
So, just doing some little reading and googling:
- enter the BIOS/UEFI settings
- Open Boot tab
- disable Fastboot
- Enable CSM
- save and exit
- enter UEFI/BIOS again
- Open Boot tab

This is for some other model of Asus notebooks but I guess that their different BIOSes/UEFIs have some kind of interface consistency.

Now the Legacy options (boot off USB, PXE, DVD etc) should be available to you.

- Set your internal storage as ATA (or make sure you do have the "F6 driver" for your disk controller is using SATA/AHCI)

Try then to install Windows XP from a CD/DVD (and hunt for the drivers. Some of them might be available from the chipsets manufacturers, but you may have difficulties finding all of them...)
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
You might not believe it but I think we're making progress :)

"I really do appreciate your assistance even if it doesn't appear that way but the problem for me is being told WHAT to do, instead of explaining HOW to do it with a handful of exceptions"

Understood :)

It's tricky though as we can't look over your shoulder at the same time so really need to hear back what you're seeing as a result of the suggestions posted. Covering all the possible options and why you need them when we're still not sure which you'll be offered can also end up more confusing!

Now you've got 'Fastboot' off and 'Launch CSM' on could you try attaching a USB stick to the laptop before starting, I suspect you may have to install XP by making a bootable install on either a memory stick or (and I will share your frustration if this turns out to be the case) a USB connected optical drive and not the integral DVD drive.

Go back into the UEFI "boot menu" as you have already & see if the USB device is detected as an additional option amongst the new items listed.

Part of the problem is manufacturer's aren't giving much away about downgrading their kit.  I've a feeling once this is resolved your question is going to get a lot of hits when other users decide Windows 8 isn't for them.
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
Objection your honor!
We provided the answer:
Disable Secure boot, and we even sent links to site and videos that explain how to do it with ASUS laptops. Then the user can set the boot device to be DVD-Drive and boot off Windows XP installation disk (which is what he wanted in the first place).

I recommend that the question is closed with solution from MASQUERAID and Vivigatt being accepted.
Objection your honor!
We provided the answer:
Disable Secure boot, and we even sent links to site and videos that explain how to do it with ASUS laptops. Then the user can set the boot device to be DVD-Drive and boot off Windows XP installation disk (which is what he wanted in the first place).

I recommend that the question is closed with solution from MASQUERAID and Vivigatt being accepted.
< Objection your honor! >

FoxproMari - how is it going??
Recommendation 3



The reason why:
The author asked how he could boot his Windows 8 laptop off a Windows XP installation CD, which is not possible if this (recent) laptop does not have "SecureBoot" disabled in UEFI/BIOS. We provided two ways to enter the UEFI configuration interface and I explicitly pointed out how to do the thing when in the UEFI configuration interface.
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