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HP Notebook PCs - Issues with Downgrading HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario PCs to Windows XP and Restoring Windows Vista

This document pertains to HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario Notebook PCs that shipped with Windows Vista.

This document does not apply to Commercial Notebook and Desktop PCs. Select business notebook models; including the 2510p, 2710p, 6910p, 8510p, 8710p, 6510b 6515b, 6710b, and 6715b, as well as other models support Windows XP.

Issues you will experience if you downgrade from Vista to XP

If you have an HP Pavilion or Compaq Presario consumer notebook PC that shipped with Windows Vista, you should not attempt to downgrade to Windows XP. Changing the operating system (OS) will cause severe operational problems. Many of the components, such as sound, video, graphics, network connectivity, drives, or other devices and peripherals, may have limited functionality, or may not work at all. You should do some research on the support policies of hardware and software manufacturers, and review the problems experienced by other users, before you consider changing the operating system.

You may experience the following conditions if you downgrade an HP Pavilion or Compaq Presario consumer notebook, which was designed for Vista, to an older operating system:

  • HP does not provide Windows XP-compatible drivers for functions such as sound, video, graphics, network connectivity, drives, or other devices and peripherals for these consumer notebooks.

  • Changing the operating system may require you to reinstall the original software image when troubleshooting possible software and hardware issues with technical support.

  • Some component manufacturers do not provide Windows XP-compatible drivers for components that they designed for Windows Vista.

  • Even if a third-party company or Windows itself can provide generic drivers that will allow all of your devices to operate, the performance of your HP PC may be less than optimal.

If you decide to downgrade your PC from Vista to XP, in spite of the known hardware and software problems, or if you have already tried to make the change and your PC does not work properly, read the other sections of this document. There is also a section that discusses the problems with setting up a dual-boot system.

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Things to do before you make any changes to your PC

If you have decided to downgrade from Vista to XP, or to make any other OS changes, in spite of the known hardware and software problems, you may find the following recommendations useful.

  • Create a set of Windows Vista Recovery DVDs. You were prompted to create a set of recovery DVDs the first time that you started your Vista PC. If you create a set of recovery discs, and then encounter problems after changing your OS, you can use the set of recovery discs to reinstall Windows Vista with all of the required hardware drivers to restore your PC to its original condition.

    If you have not yet created a set of recovery discs, please get at least two (2) DVD-R discs and create a set of Windows Vista recovery discs now. With these Vista recovery discs, you will be able to return your PC to a stable base state, just in case things do not go as planned. To create the recovery discs, re-start the PC, and press F11 to launch the HP Backup and Recovery Manager . You may make one (1) set of recovery discs. For more information, see HP Notebook PCs - Using HP Recovery Manager below.

    If you cannot locate your recovery disks, or if the attempt to create the recovery discs failed, contact HP to purchase a replacement Vista recovery disc.

  • Research XP drivers. Check the list of devices that are on your computer, and go to the manufacturers' web sites for information about what drivers they provide for their devices. Please be aware that some components work together, and if drivers for one component are not available, then the other devices may function poorly, or not at all.

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Things to do if you changed the OS and your PC is not working properly

If you have already downgraded your computer from Vista to Windows XP, you have probably discovered that your PC does not work properly. You may have noticed that features like sound, DVD, or the webcam on your new PC have stopped working. You are probably wondering where you can find the right XP drivers. HP does NOT provide XP-compatible drivers for PCs that were designed exclusively for Vista. If your PC shipped with Vista, HP supports the installed hardware and software while the PC is operating with the Vista operating system, according to the written agreements.

NOTE: You may attempt to use non-Vista drivers and programs that are provided by other companies; however, HP cannot provide technical support or diagnose potential hardware issues until you reinstall the original Vista operating system.

To resolve your hardware and software problems, you MUST reinstall the Vista operating system that was installed on your PC as follows:

  • If you created your Windows Vista HP Recovery DVDs while you were still operating with Vista, insert the recovery disc and restart the PC to restore your operating system to Vista. For more detailed information, see HP Notebook PCs -- Using HP Recovery Manager .

  • If you did not create your HP Recovery DVDs before downgrading your computer to Windows XP, you must order a recovery disc set directly from HP. For more detailed information, see HP Notebook PCs - Obtaining a Recovery CD or DVD set .

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Things to do if you upgraded from Windows XP to Vista and want to return to XP

If you purchased a Vista-capable HP notebook PC that shipped with Windows XP, and you upgraded it to Vista, you can reinstall XP, provided that you reinstall all of the XP-compatible drivers.

NOTE: In all cases, the BIOS and the hardware drivers must be designed as compatible with the operating system. Specifically, XP drivers will not work with the Vista OS, and Vista drivers will not work with the XP OS.

To resolve your hardware and software problems, you may reinstall the XP operating system that was installed on your PC as follows:

  • If you created your Windows XP HP Recovery discs while you were still operating with XP, insert the first disc and restart the PC to restore your system to XP.

  • If you did not create your HP Recovery discs while you were running Windows XP, you must order an XP recovery disc set directly from HP. For more detailed information, see HP Notebook PCs - Obtaining a Recovery CD or DVD set .

  • After the PC is returned to its original configuration, go to the Software and Driver Downloads web page on the HP web site and install any updated XP drivers. Be sure to install the latest BIOS that is listed on the XP pages and do not install any Vista drivers.

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Reasons not to try a dual-boot system

While documentation on how to use dual-booting may be available on the web, HP does not support computers that have been set up in a dual-boot configuration. The dual-boot requires hardware drivers for both operating systems, and HP does not provide drivers for components that were not designed for the specific operating system. Such a configuration change may require you to reinstall the original software image when troubleshooting possible software and hardware issues with technical support.

Additionally, even if you could find some generic third-party drivers that would allow you to setup a dual-boot configuration on your notebook, you should consider the size of your hard drive. Each operating system takes up a considerable amount of space on the hard drive. Installing both XP and Vista may limit the amount of space that you have available for other applications, which will degrade performance.

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