Can vista be downgraded easily?

Discussion in 'Windows Vista General Discussion' started by friesian, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. friesian

    friesian Guest

    My friend has asked for a new computer for her birthday, but I Have
    recently learned that vista will not run her printer/fax.scanner
    machine. It would cost a couple hundred dollars to replace that
    machine when she has one that works fine. If she gets a new computer
    with vista, can it be changed to xp fairly easily?

    I do have original XP cds for my own computer. Would she lose anything
    important for her computer to remove the preinstalled os and reinstall
    the xp?

    Do they still sell desktops with XP?

    Also, does anybody know WHY a lot of hardware doesn't work with vista.
    Has there been any efforts to make them work? I wouldn't mind a new
    operating system if it didn't make my old equipment stop working. I am
    planning to get a new laptop myself this year, and I have the same
    printer/fax machine. It's a great machine, and I would have to
    consider the cost of replacing it (about $300 for a new equivalent
    machine) in the cost of the new computer.
    friesian, Mar 7, 2008
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  2. friesian

    Lukan Guest

    Do they still sell desktops with XP?

    All of mine worked correctly.

    It's worth keeping in mind that operating systems aren't designed to
    work with OLD hardware - new hardware is designed to work with current
    operating systems.
    Lukan, Mar 7, 2008
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  3. friesian

    Mick Murphy Guest

    If your XP disk came from an OEM computer pre-installed with XP; NO, you
    can't put it on her computer!
    Also, if you have a retail copy of XP, which you bought seperately from the
    computer,, you have to uninstall it from your computer before putting it on
    her new computer.
    The motherboard in the new computer might NOT have XP drivers written for
    it, meaning that you can not install XP on it.
    Mick Murphy, Mar 7, 2008
  4. friesian

    NoStop Guest

    In the Windoze world.


    What does Bill Gates use?

    Proprietary Software: a 20th Century software business model.

    AlexB's abacus:
    The closest to "computing" that man should go.

    Frank, hard at work on his Vista computer all day:
    NoStop, Mar 7, 2008
  5. friesian

    Rick Rogers Guest


    Before purchasing, the manufacturer should be contacted about downgrade
    rights. You won't be able to use your disks unless they are either retail or
    generic OEM, and the license is currently not in use. As well they may not
    contain needed drivers for any proprietary hardware that comes on the new
    system, so you must be sure that drivers are available from the
    It's because standards and requirements change with the development of a new
    operating system. Thousands of pieces of hardware work just fine in Vista,
    and more is being added all the time. You can check the latest working list

    The problem is that manufacturers of these devices have to write new drivers
    and supporting software that is in compliance with the newer standards in
    Vista. It's the same thing any time a new operating system is released. For
    the manufacturers this means a lot of work with no potential for profit, as
    it was already made when the unit was sold. Therefore, this support issue
    becomes secondary and often receives little, if any, attention. Some prefer
    not to do it at all, and instead just offer to sell a new device that is
    compliant. Similarly, software vendors also face this issue.
    Rick Rogers, Mar 7, 2008
  6. friesian

    friesian Guest

    So, it is not legal to remove a newer version and replace with an
    older version? I mean, buying the computer entitles you to a copy of
    vista. You aren't using that one also.

    I could see it being wrong to upgrade a computer to a system that is
    newer with a set of CDs that were purchased for another computer. But
    downgrading and choosing not to use the set that came with the

    I wish I had known this would be a problem. I would have told her to
    ask for a computer with xp, but she has already asked her family to
    buy her a computer and her birthday is in a week. They probably
    already bought one.

    friesian, Mar 7, 2008

  7. It will cost not far short of a couple of hundred dollars to buy XP and
    install it. It will need an XP license and you will have to check that XP
    drivers are available for the computer.

    This you do by going to the computer vendor site and looking for XP drivers.
    If you don't see any, don't try to downgrade.

    It may be that the computer vendor can supply a computer already installed
    with XP. Failing that look for a manufacturer that can.

    Personally, if I was going to buy a new computer, I would buy it with Vista
    and dump the printer. If the printer is so important, stay with the old
    computer (cheapest option)..

    Mike Hall - MVP
    How to construct a good post..
    How to use the Microsoft Product Support Newsgroups..
    Mike's Window - My Blog..
    Mike Hall - MVP, Mar 7, 2008
  8. friesian

    Phisherman Guest

    The hardware driver is a big issue for me. I'd upgrade several PCs to
    Vista, but there are two hardware devices that just won't work with
    Vista. There were no problems upgrading from Win98 to Win2000, nor
    from Win2000 to XP. When a peripheral is unique, critical, and costly
    there is no choice. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Vista is not
    as popular as it could be.
    Phisherman, Mar 7, 2008
  9. It is not legal to run XP licensed for one computer on two computers.
    If you got it to work, Windows would complain about not being Genuine.

    You could buy her an all-in-one printer which is compatible with Vista.
    Maybe her parents will tell you what they got her - that would give you
    something to go on. She might prefer Vista to XP - this is possible.
    Michael Jennings, Mar 7, 2008
  10. friesian

    Dwarf Guest

    Hi friesian,

    It depends upon whether or not XP compatible drivers are available for the
    machine in question. However, you also need to be aware of the implications
    it may or may not have on your warranty should you choose to install an
    alternative operating system on the machine to that which came with it. You
    will need to use a new copy of XP to install because of licensing and
    activation restrictions which prohibit the use of a single copy of XP on more
    than one machine at a time. An OEM disk, which is what you probably have, is
    tied to the original system that it was installed on and lives and dies with
    that system, so you would be unable to use that disk.
    Dwarf, Mar 7, 2008
  11. friesian

    R. C. White Guest

    Hi, Friesian.

    You never mentioned the make and model of that printer. If you tell us
    that, maybe someone here will recognize it and know how to make it work with
    her new Vista.

    As the others have said in one way or another, it will cost as much - in
    time and effort - for her to go backwards to WinXP as to go forward to
    Vista. And she would still have the almost-inevitable migration to Vista
    some day looming ahead of her.

    Printers, including all-in-one machines, are so cheap these days that she
    can buy a new one for about what a new WinXP license would cost.
    (Thankfully, the HP OfficeJet that I paid $500 for in 2000 is still working
    well, but when it dies, I probably can get a newer one with more features
    for $100. About the price of 2 sets of ink cartridges for the old one!)

    R. C. White, CPA
    San Marcos, TX

    Microsoft Windows MVP
    (Running Windows Live Mail 2008 in Vista Ultimate x64 SP1)
    R. C. White, Mar 7, 2008
  12. Yes it is "legal" to remove Vista and install XP. What is not legal is:

    1) to install a full-version retail copy of XP on that new computer that is
    already installed and being on another computer. If you uninstall it from
    the current computer it is running on, then you can install it on the new PC
    2) to install an OEM copy of XP on the new computer. An OEM copy of
    Windows is licensed to the specific computer it was reinstalled on when it
    was purchased.
    A license for Windows has always been for one computer only. It is a
    violation of the license agreement to install a copy of Windows on more than
    on system. It was easy to do that with versions of Windows older than XP
    because there was no validation check but it was always a violation of the
    license agreement to do so. Unfortunately, the fact that your friend is
    paying for a version of Vista that she won't use has no bearing on this.
    If XP drivers are available for this new system then it can be "downgraded"
    to XP but she would still have to purchase a retail version of XP to
    install. Are you both sure that the printer she is using will not work in
    Vista? I have both an Epson and a Brother all-in-one that are not new and
    work fine on Vista because both Epson and Brother have provided the drviers.
    I also have an Epson photo printer that is five years old that also works
    fine in Vista.
    Pete Stavrakoglou, Mar 7, 2008
  13. You mean Vista isn't designed to work with old (meaning last year's)
    hardware. Even previous versions of Windows would generally support almost
    arbitrarily old hardware.
    the wharf rat, Mar 7, 2008

  14. It depends. Some new computers (laptops in particular) may only have
    Vista drivers, and not XP drivers, for some hardware components. If
    that's not an issue, there is not likely to be any reason why XP can't
    be installed.

    Also, be aware that some computer manufacturers may consider that if
    you change the operating system, it voids your warranty.

    Three points here:

    1. The license to use those disks is one copy (or one license) for
    each computer.

    There's nothing new here. This is exactly the same rule that's been in
    effect on every version of Windows starting with Windows 3.1. The only
    thing new with XP is that there's now an enforcement mechanism.

    The only way she could legally use your CD would be if you took XP off
    of your computer.

    2. If your copy of XP is an OEM one (for example, if it came with your
    computer), she couldn't use it even if you took it off your computer.
    An OEM license ties that copy of Windows permanently to the first
    computer it's installed on. It can never legally be moved to another
    computer, sold, or given away, except as part of that computer.

    3. Besides the licensing issue, many OEM copies of Windows are
    BIOS-locked to the original motherboard, and will not work on another,
    unless it's identical to the original one.

    Yes. Some manufacturers do. You could also have a computer
    custom-built, get it without any operating system, and buy a separate
    copy of Windows XP.

    This has nothing to do with Vista in particular.

    Hardware either works or doesn't work with a particular operating
    system because a driver to use that piece of hardware with that
    operating system either exists or doesn't exist. The responsibility to
    write the necessary drivers is that of the hardware manufacturer, not
    Microsoft. Each manufacturer makes it own decisions about what new
    drivers it wants to incur the cost of writing. In many cases,
    manufacturers will unfortunately decide that it doesn't make economic
    sense to write a new driver for an older piece of hardware.
    Ken Blake, MVP, Mar 7, 2008

  15. Have you verified with the manufacturer that Vista-specific device
    drivers and any accompanying applications are not available?

    "Easily?" That depends almost entirely upon the specific computer your
    friend receives, and partially upon your technical skill set.

    There could be a couple possible adverse repercussions of which you
    should be aware. First and foremost, if the specific computer model in
    question was designed specifically for Vista, there may well be no
    WinXP-specific device drivers available to make the computer's diverse
    components work properly. Consult the computer's manufacturer about the
    availability of device drivers. Secondly, removing an OEM-installed
    operating system and replacing it with another will almost invariably
    void any and all support agreements and, sometimes, even the warranty.
    You would, at the very least, have to re-install Vista before getting
    any support from the manufacturer. Again, consult the computer's
    manufacturer for specifics. Thirdly, there may be the additional cost
    involved in purchasing a WinXP license for this new computer.

    After backing up any data you wish to transfer to the new OS
    installation, simply boot from the WinXP installation CD. You'll be
    offered the opportunity to delete, create, and format partitions as part
    of the installation process. (You may need to re-arrange the order of
    boot devices in the PC's BIOS to boot from the CD.)

    HOW TO Install Windows XP;en-us;316941

    Then, assuming you were successful in obtaining WinXP-specific
    device drivers so that the computer can be made to work with WinXP, the
    backed up data can be restored and applications (those that are
    WinXP-compatible, that is) re-installed.

    If this is an OEM (came pre-installed on your computer from the
    factory) WinXP installation CD, you may not use it on your friend's
    computer. An OEM version must be sold with a piece of hardware
    (normally a motherboard or hard rive, if not an entire PC) and is
    _permanently_ bound to the first PC on which it's installed. An OEM
    license, once installed, is not legally transferable to another computer
    under _any_ circumstances.

    Your friend would have to purchase a new WinXP license to go with
    the new computer.

    Well, yes. To downgrade the operating system, the hard drive would
    first have to be formatted, erasing everything.

    Several manufacturers do, yes.

    Because the manufacturers' of those incompatible products have decided
    not to support their customers by providing Vista-specific device
    drivers. They're hoping their customers will be stupid enough to buy
    another such device from them, despite their demonstrated lack of support.

    Some manufacturers have provided updated device drivers for their
    products. Check the web site of any hardware device's manufacturer to
    determine the availability


    Bruce Chambers

    Help us help you:

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
    safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~Benjamin Franklin

    Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do. ~Bertrand Russell

    The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has
    killed a great many philosophers.
    ~ Denis Diderot
    Bruce Chambers, Mar 8, 2008
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