swapping pre-installed Vista for XP


B

Bill

I have an Acer Aspire L3600 mini PC, a great little second PC but for the
fact that it came with Vista Home Premium pre-installed in a "hidden" part
of 'D'. It has a built in facility where 'C' can be wiped completely clean
and restored to its factory default condition, data etc on 'D' hopefully
being untouched.

I don't like Vista much and would prefer to install my full retail version
of Win XP on this PC. I don't mind giving up Vista completely.

Acer's support is OK as far as it goes but they make it clear that they do
NOT recommend this course of action ,saying that they do not support
downgrading the unit with anything other than what came pre-installed on the
machine. They warn of the risk of "product failure".

If the 'downgrade ' to Win XP can technically be done I'm willing to take
the risk but need a bit more help on the mechanics of doing it. I have
installed OSs on other PCs from scratch but this process, i.e. totally
removing a pre-installed OS which is in some hidden and protected part of
the hard drive, appears to be rather more involved and I'm way out of my
comfort zone! I need help and advice.

Acer say that to run XP I will need to create a bootable disk with SATA
drivers otherwise Windows will not detect the hard drive when the CD is run.
I think I've tracked these down on their download site, at least in the
driver download section these were the only ones to show up.

What's come up are a total of 6 for Chipset, Audio, Lan, Modem, VGA and
Wireless Lan. Each one is in a zipped folder.

Out of interest I compared these to the drivers listed for the pre-installed
version of Vista. The chipset version number is identical to the XP version
but the others have different version numbers and there is a additional TV
driver for Vista Home Premium (the L3600 is media centre enabled).

So,

1. Are these 6 drivers in fact the SATA drivers Acer are referring to?

2. How do I create the bootable disk they refer to. When I've installed
an OS in the past I've used a floppy which was inserted early during the
install process when prompted to do so. I don't recall there being
6 separate drivers though.
I have an external floppy disk drive and wonder whether this could be
used in this case? If not can anyone tell me how to do it and what the
procedure is when installing XP.

3. Is the removal of the pre-installed material simply a question of
formatting the entire hard drive? I thought of abandoning the idea of
having two partitions, 'C' and 'D' and, on this PC, using external drives
for all data storage.

4. Is there anything else of which I should be aware?

Regards,

Bill
 
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A

Anteaus

Check the BIOS to see if ther is an option to set the disk access to legacy
or IDE mode. This may eliminate the need for slipstreaming.

You will need to format the Vista partition. If you want to keep the
contents in case the down(up!)grade fails, you could try Drive Image XML.
 
S

SC Tom

Bill said:
I have an Acer Aspire L3600 mini PC, a great little second PC but for the
fact that it came with Vista Home Premium pre-installed in a "hidden" part
of 'D'. It has a built in facility where 'C' can be wiped completely
clean and restored to its factory default condition, data etc on 'D'
hopefully being untouched.

I don't like Vista much and would prefer to install my full retail version
of Win XP on this PC. I don't mind giving up Vista completely.

Acer's support is OK as far as it goes but they make it clear that they do
NOT recommend this course of action ,saying that they do not support
downgrading the unit with anything other than what came pre-installed on
the machine. They warn of the risk of "product failure".

If the 'downgrade ' to Win XP can technically be done I'm willing to take
the risk but need a bit more help on the mechanics of doing it. I have
installed OSs on other PCs from scratch but this process, i.e. totally
removing a pre-installed OS which is in some hidden and protected part of
the hard drive, appears to be rather more involved and I'm way out of my
comfort zone! I need help and advice.

Acer say that to run XP I will need to create a bootable disk with SATA
drivers otherwise Windows will not detect the hard drive when the CD is
run. I think I've tracked these down on their download site, at least in
the driver download section these were the only ones to show up.

What's come up are a total of 6 for Chipset, Audio, Lan, Modem, VGA and
Wireless Lan. Each one is in a zipped folder.

Out of interest I compared these to the drivers listed for the
pre-installed version of Vista. The chipset version number is identical
to the XP version but the others have different version numbers and there
is a additional TV driver for Vista Home Premium (the L3600 is media
centre enabled).

So,

1. Are these 6 drivers in fact the SATA drivers Acer are referring to?

2. How do I create the bootable disk they refer to. When I've
installed an OS in the past I've used a floppy which was inserted early
during the install process when prompted to do so. I don't recall
there being 6 separate drivers though.
I have an external floppy disk drive and wonder whether this could
be used in this case? If not can anyone tell me how to do it and what the
procedure is when installing XP.

3. Is the removal of the pre-installed material simply a question of
formatting the entire hard drive? I thought of abandoning the idea of
having two partitions, 'C' and 'D' and, on this PC, using external drives
for all data storage.

4. Is there anything else of which I should be aware?

Regards,

Bill

Looking at the readme in the chipset drivers zip, it contains the SATA
driver and instructions on how to pre-load it before the OS. I didn't read
the whole thing in depth, but it looks like you need the XP OEM CD to do it.
IIRC, XP service pack 3 has SATA drivers included, so if you have an
installation CD with XP SP3 on it, you'll be able to do the install without
needing to load the SATA drivers yourself. (I'm sure someone will correct me
if I'm incorrect.)
If your XP CD is SP1a or SP2, you can slipstream SP3 with it and create a
new bootable installation CD that will have the same results. Here's a link
describing the process:
How to Slipstream Windows XP Service Pack 3
http://www.howtohaven.com/system/slipstream-xp-service-pack-3.shtml

If it were me, since you'll have to format your HDD to do the installation,
I'd do a disk image before attempting any of this. That way, if it all goes
horribly wrong, you can restore the image without having to reinstall all
your programs. There are a number of free imaging programs that will work
fine for you; just do a Google, Bing, or Yahoo for them.
Or if a new drive isn't too expensive or out of your budget range, just
start with a fresh drive and put your old one on a shelf for emergency
purposes. Then, if everything works out OK, you can always use it for a
backup drive. That's what I did when I upgraded from Vista to Win7 on my
notebook. I imaged my installed drive to a new one, then put it in the
notebook to be sure it worked, then upgraded to Win7. Now I have it running,
and a spare on the shelf if this one gets damaged. But that's just me; I
don't trust the integrity of notebook drives that much, and I'm careful not
to bang it around.

Download and extract all the driver files to a CD before you start this
project. After the XP installation and before connecting to the internet,
install all the drivers and see if they work OK. Then you can set up your
firewall and other security measures before connecting to the net and
getting all the XP security updates.

It's great that this is a second PC since then you won't feel rushed to
complete this. Rushing is one of the greatest creators of errors in a
project like this :) Certainly sounds like a fun thing to try! Best of
luck!
 
K

Ken Blake, MVP

I have an Acer Aspire L3600 mini PC, a great little second PC but for the
fact that it came with Vista Home Premium pre-installed in a "hidden" part
of 'D'.


Almost certainly, Vista is preinstalled on C, not D. What's on D is
not Vista pre-installed but what you need to reinstall it--to reset
the computer to the condition it was in when it came from the factory.
And it's not "part" of D, it's all of it; D should be reserved for
that use, and nothing else should ever be written there, since doing
so can screw up the restoration info that's there.

It has a built in facility where 'C' can be wiped completely clean
and restored to its factory default condition,


Exactly! That's what D is for. This is the way most OEM computers are
done these days.

data etc on 'D' hopefully
being untouched.


Again, you should never write any data to D. That's *not* what it's
for.

I don't like Vista much and would prefer to install my full retail version
of Win XP on this PC. I don't mind giving up Vista completely.

Acer's support is OK as far as it goes but they make it clear that they do
NOT recommend this course of action ,saying that they do not support
downgrading the unit with anything other than what came pre-installed on the
machine. They warn of the risk of "product failure".


I don't recommend it either. If Vista is new to you, your dislike of
it is probably mostly due to unfamiliarity. Give yourself enough time
to get accustomed to it, and you may very well find that your views
will change completely. But it's certainly your choice.

If the 'downgrade ' to Win XP can technically be done I'm willing to take
the risk but need a bit more help on the mechanics of doing it. I have
installed OSs on other PCs from scratch but this process, i.e. totally
removing a pre-installed OS which is in some hidden and protected part of
the hard drive, appears to be rather more involved and I'm way out of my
comfort zone! I need help and advice.


First of all, realize that a downgrade is not possible. What you need
to do is clean install Windows XP. Clean installation is very easy and
straightforward. You boot from the installation CD and follow the
prompts for a clean installation. It will begin by formatting the
drive and wiping out everything there, so be sure you have first
backed up anything you need to external media.


Acer say that to run XP I will need to create a bootable disk with SATA
drivers otherwise Windows will not detect the hard drive when the CD is run.
I think I've tracked these down on their download site, at least in the
driver download section these were the only ones to show up.


I don't know anything about the details of your computer, and it's
best to get all the info about drivers etc. that you need from Acer.

What's come up are a total of 6 for Chipset, Audio, Lan, Modem, VGA and
Wireless Lan. Each one is in a zipped folder.

Out of interest I compared these to the drivers listed for the pre-installed
version of Vista. The chipset version number is identical to the XP version
but the others have different version numbers and there is a additional TV
driver for Vista Home Premium (the L3600 is media centre enabled).

So,

1. Are these 6 drivers in fact the SATA drivers Acer are referring to?


Check with Acer to be sure.

2. How do I create the bootable disk they refer to.
When I've installed an OS in the past I've used a floppy which was inserted early during the
install process when prompted to do so.


It's a bootable *CD* you need, not a floppy


I don't recall there being
6 separate drivers though.


That depends entirely on what hardware you have.

I have an external floppy disk drive and wonder whether this could be
used in this case? If not can anyone tell me how to do it and what the
procedure is when installing XP.


Again, check with Acer.

3. Is the removal of the pre-installed material simply a question of
formatting the entire hard drive?


Yes, and as I said above, that formatting is part of the clean
installation, and doesn't need to be done first.

I thought of abandoning the idea of
having two partitions, 'C' and 'D' and,


Again, your D is not for data, it's for restoration of Vista

on this PC, using external drives
for all data storage.


I don't recommend that. Store data within C, and use your external
drive(s) for backup. If you travel with this laptop, why would you
want to carry around any external hard drives? It just means more
weight and space you have to carry.
 
B

Bill

Many thanks for the helpful advice in the replies. One small point about
Ken Blakes comments on the D drive. Acer have said "Doing a restore back to
factory default will erase everything completely i.e. even viruses/trojans
on your C:\ drive. Restore back to its original state.
The D:\ drive will be left untouched as it contains your Recovery image file
which is hidden away." which led me to suppose that data files should be
kept on D as otherwise it would be erased.
 
S

Shenan Stanley

<snipped>

Almost certainly, Vista is preinstalled on C, not D. What's on D is
not Vista pre-installed but what you need to reinstall it--to reset
the computer to the condition it was in when it came from the
factory. And it's not "part" of D, it's all of it; D should be
reserved for that use, and nothing else should ever be written
there, since doing so can screw up the restoration info that's
there.
<snipped>
Many thanks for the helpful advice in the replies. One small point
about Ken Blakes comments on the D drive. Acer have said "Doing a
restore back to factory default will erase everything completely
i.e. even viruses/trojans on your C:\ drive. Restore back to its
original state. The D:\ drive will be left untouched as it contains your
Recovery
image file which is hidden away." which led me to suppose that data
files should be kept on D as otherwise it would be erased.


Your misunderstanding of what the D drive for does not change that it should
not be used if you plan on ever being able to go back to the original
installation state without worries. The recovery partition is seldom larger
than it needs to be. In other words - it is usually *quite small* in
comparision to the drive they leave for your use. The really sad part is
that this is probably one of the worst ways an OEM can supply for an
end-user to restore their computer in case of a problem - because it is
*worthless* if the physical hard disk drive dies.

In any case - in reference to your original questions...
http://groups.google.com/group/micr...d_support/browse_frm/thread/4b95364e6900c82f/

First, I would suggest going to Windows 7 instead of Vista.

Second, you don't necessarily need a bootable installation CD with
integrated SATA drivers. It may be okay just to change the SATA operation
to 'legacy' and XP will install as is and/or you can use a floppy diskette
during the installation (look into pressing "F6" during the first part of
the installation.)

Looking on their web page, driver downloads for the machine you mentioned
include:
- Chipset: Intel Chipset Driver v8.3.0.1014, 2.0 MB, last updated
2008/12/10
http://snipurl.com/uxhc6
- Audio: Realtek Audio Driver v5.10.0.5449, 24.6 MB, last updated
2008/12/10
http://snipurl.com/uxhcd
- Lan: Intel LAN Driver v1.159.2.6, 1.0 MB, last updated 2008/12/10
http://snipurl.com/uxhch
- Modem: Pro-Nets Modem Driver v2.1.70, 721.4 KB, last updated 2008/12/10
http://snipurl.com/uxhcs
- VGA: Intel VGA Driver v5.10.00.1026, 16.4 MB, last updated 2008/12/10
http://snipurl.com/uxhcw
- Wireless LAN: Foxconn Wireless LAN Driver v4.100.15.5, 2.6 MB, last
updated 2008/12/10
http://snipurl.com/uxhd4

There is no specific SATA driver - my guesses would be you don't need it,
you could use the Intel Chipset driver and/or you could change the BIOS
settings so the SATA operation is legacy and you would need to worry about
anything until the installation was actually done and then you could install
all the drivers inside of Windows XP from above.

So...

1) No.
2) Slipstream/Integrate them in. If you are asking this - it is probably
something that would take you longer to do than the suggestions already
given (you've never done it, nLite *might* be able to do it for you - but if
one of the suggestions above work - you don't have to worry about it.)
Yes - one of the suggestions was a floppy drive - but depending on other
BIOS settings and the floppyt drive in question - sometimes a USB one is
worthless during the installation.
3) When you install Windows XP - you might as well drop any pretense you
will ever use the recovery partition (D) to go back to Vista and use the
installation steps to delete all partitions and create one single partition.
4) Yeah - if Acer doesn't directly support it - your attempt may fail and if
they did not give you actual external recovery/restoration/installation
media for Windows Vista - once you wipe that recovery partition (D) on the
drive - you have no options beyond calling Acer and asking for media or
buying another OS.
 
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K

Ken Blake, MVP

Many thanks for the helpful advice in the replies. One small point about
Ken Blakes comments on the D drive. Acer have said "Doing a restore back to
factory default will erase everything completely i.e. even viruses/trojans
on your C:\ drive. Restore back to its original state.
The D:\ drive will be left untouched as it contains your Recovery image file
which is hidden away."


Right. That's essentially true of all restoration drives, regardless
of whether it's Acer or anyone else.

which led me to suppose that data files should be
kept on D as otherwise it would be erased.


Sorry, but that's a very bad supposition, for several reasons:

1. There's not enough room there.

2. If you fool around with D: you run the risk of screwing up your
recovery image.

3. The way to protect your data is not to put it someplace "safe" on
your drive. It's to back it up on removable media, and not kept in the
computer. What you are contemplating doing leaves you susceptible to
simultaneous loss of the original and backup to many of the most
common dangers: user errors, severe power glitches, nearby lightning
strikes, virus attacks, even theft of the computer.
 
S

smlunatick

Many thanks for the helpful advice in the replies.  One small point about
Ken Blakes comments on the D drive.  Acer have said "Doing a restore back to
factory default will erase everything completely i.e. even viruses/trojans
on your C:\ drive. Restore back to its original state.
The D:\ drive will be left untouched as it contains your Recovery image file
which is hidden away." which led me to suppose that data files should be
kept on D as otherwise it would be erased.
Almost certainly, Vista is preinstalled on C, not D. What's on D is
not Vista pre-installed but what you need to reinstall it--to reset
the computer to the condition it was in when it came from the factory.
And it's not "part" of D, it's all of it; D should be reserved for
that use, and nothing else should ever be written there, since doing
so can screw up the restoration info that's there.
Exactly! That's what D is for. This is the way most OEM computers are
done these days.
Again, you should never write any data to D. That's *not* what it's
for.
I don't recommend it either. If Vista is new to you, your dislike of
it is probably mostly due to unfamiliarity. Give yourself enough time
to get accustomed to it, and you may very well find that your views
will change completely. But it's certainly your choice.
First of all, realize that a downgrade is not possible. What you need
to do is clean install Windows XP. Clean installation is very easy and
straightforward. You boot from the installation CD and follow the
prompts for a clean installation. It will begin by formatting the
drive and wiping out everything there, so be sure you have first
backed up anything you need to external media.
I don't know anything about the details of your computer, and it's
best to get all the info about drivers etc. that you need from Acer.
Check with Acer to be sure.
It's a bootable *CD* you need, not a floppy
That depends entirely on what hardware you have.
Again, check with Acer.
Yes, and as I said above, that formatting is part of the clean
installation, and doesn't need to be done first.
Again, your D is not for data, it's for restoration of Vista
I don't recommend that. Store data within C, and use your external
drive(s) for backup. If you travel with this laptop, why would you
want to carry around any external hard drives? It just means more
weight and space you have to carry.

Drive D holds the "factory" copy of Windows (The Windows that was
installed when the system was shipped out for the factory and the one
YOU selected to use -- if you had a choice.) No files are normally
saved to this drive adn all your data will not be placed onto this
drive.
 
M

Mike Hall - MVP

Bill said:
Many thanks for the helpful advice in the replies. One small point about
Ken Blakes comments on the D drive. Acer have said "Doing a restore back
to factory default will erase everything completely i.e. even
viruses/trojans on your C:\ drive. Restore back to its original state.
The D:\ drive will be left untouched as it contains your Recovery image
file which is hidden away." which led me to suppose that data files should
be kept on D as otherwise it would be erased.

The recovery partition is set at a size that will hold all data necessary
for complete recovery without ever generating a 'low disk space' error. As
you have already been advised, backups (saves) should be on media which can
be physically removed from the computer configuration.

An external drive is good for the purpose, as are DVD's. Flash drives are
not so good as they can just 'pop' without any warning..
 
P

pratishtha

Mike said:
"Bill" (e-mail address removed) wrote in message
Many thanks for the helpful advice in the replies. One small point
about
Ken Blakes comments on the D drive. Acer have said "Doing a restore
back
to factory default will erase everything completely i.e. even
viruses/trojans on your C:\ drive. Restore back to its original
state.
The D:\ drive will be left untouched as it contains your Recovery
image
file which is hidden away." which led me to suppose that data files
should
be kept on D as otherwise it would be erased.-

The recovery partition is set at a size that will hold all data
necessary
for complete recovery without ever generating a 'low disk space' error.
As
you have already been advised, backups (saves) should be on media which
can
be physically removed from the computer configuration.

An external drive is good for the purpose, as are DVD's. Flash drives
are
not so good as they can just 'pop' without any warning..

I have an Acer Aspire L3600 mini PC, a great little second PC but for
the
fact that it came with Vista Home Premium pre-installed in a "hidden"
part
of 'D'.


Almost certainly, Vista is preinstalled on C, not D. What's on D is
not Vista pre-installed but what you need to reinstall it--to reset
the computer to the condition it was in when it came from the factory.
And it's not "part" of D, it's all of it; D should be reserved for
that use, and nothing else should ever be written there, since doing
so can screw up the restoration info that's there.
 
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G

GS

1. if not too late, before you do anything, create the restore DVD disk
using Acer's utility
before you attempt anything. this way you will have the option to go back to
vista anytime.

2. if you insists on going back to xp, you will either
a- slipstream the xp install disk with the drivers required like people
suggested
- and install the usual way
or
b- create the floppy for sata driver
- start install with xp
- add the other drivers from floppy or external drive when xp is
installation is done
- note you don't need audio, usb nor lan to get xp installed
most of the time the basic video drive will get you by until xp
install is done
- do install security software before connecting to internet to apply
updates

If you all you want is the flexibity of have D; data drive, you can after
creating the restore disk, boot form the restore disk, and do custom vista
install.

and you can have then be able to choose say 50 to 60 GB for C: the OS, the
rest for your data drive D:

you can also make vista to behave like winxp if you prefer. However with
powerful pc CPU and gpu ( experience rating of 4.5 is adequate), I found
vista is easier for me to get any applications running or selected from a
number running apps.

and if you do like to run very large number of apps or do you some fancy
photo editing, 64 bit vista with 4 or more GB of ram works far better than
xp.

Also studies have show vista has lower infection rate by malware then xp
 
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