Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

More on switching back to XP

Many of you are going to acquire a new PC for the Holidays, and most (if not all) of those PCs are going to come with Vista,.. and — judging from the number of ‘hits’ certain articles of mine are getting — many of you are going to want to remove Vista and install XP on the new machine.

There are various reasons people have for wanting to go back to XP, but I would like to point out that most of these reasons are not really valid when Vista is pre-installed on a new machine — all the appropriate device drivers will be installed and there will not be the compatibility issues (like you might face if you upgraded an older [XP] machine to Vista) with the machine’s hardware.. and Vista has been out long enough now that there should be drivers for your attached hardware (printer, scanner, storage, etc.) even if they’re older.
Also, the finalized Vista Service Pack 1 is almost here (the “release candidate” {final Beta} is already available).

At this point in history, the main reason people have for wiping Vista off of a new machine and installing a copy of XP is that they don’t “like” Vista… and they don’t “like” Vista because it is “different” (we fear change).

[Please note: I am talking about new machines with Vista already installed here. This is not the same advice I have for people who have purchased a Vista CD and “upgraded” an older PC.. and not been happy with the results. For those folks, my advice is contained here,]

Tip of the day:It is my humble opinion that it is well worth your time to learn and get comfortable with your new machine and Vista. Yes, it will feel “different”. It’s ‘look’ is more.. modern. But a true Geek will tell you that Vista is not a whole new operating system so much as it is XP Service Pack 3. Everything is still there, pretty much in the same place, but it may have a slightly different name– “My Computer” has become “Computer”, and “All Programs” is now “Programs” for instance.

Here is some of my reasoning:
• Vista is “safer” than XP. It is harder for a distant hacker to attack, and it has better defenses against malware infections.
• Vista is inevitable. XP will fade into memory just as Windows 98 has. Sooner or later the computer you use at your job will be a Vista machine. Sooner or later, Microsoft will stop supporting XP. Sooner or later, you will be faced with a Vista machine.
• Vista has more features built into it than XP (features that most people will appreciate — such as the Media Center, and music library sharing, and slideshow widget) and improves on features already in XP — such as the Search tool and home networking.
• Programs, today, are being written to run on Vista.. not XP. So, while almost every program you buy today will run on either XP or Vista, that will not always be the case. There are already games that require Vista, and soon almost all new releases will (to take advantage of Vista’s new DirectX engine).

If, however, you aren’t feeling inclined to just “get used to it”, and are not swayed by the arguments presented above, and are bound and determined to put XP on your new machine — well, that’s what the “P” in PC stands for: “personal” — and I have some advice for you as well: device drivers.

Your new machine, and the manufacturer’s disks that come with it, will have Vista device drivers– most of which will not work with XP.
When you have finished wiping Vista from the machine, and completed the XP install, the odds are good that the machine will not be fully functional: you might not have sound, or your wireless networking might not work. You can remedy this in Device Manager and following the method for installing device drivers I published herewith this caveat — you will not be looking for the latest driver, but looking for older drivers.. XP drivers. (So, the Update Driver button is the incorrect tool.)

You will (probably) need to find XP drivers in this order:
1) motherboard (sometimes referred to as “chipset”)
2) graphics adapter*
3) network adapter*
4) sound*
*(if not ‘cured’ by the motherboard driver)

The manufacturer will be your best source for finding what you need. First, visit the PC manufacturer’s website and enter the model number of your new PC. You are looking for the “specifications” area, where hopefully you will find the make and model of each component (you may need to call the Tech Support number and ask a live human) you need a driver for.

Then, armed with the model number, you will go to that manufacturer’s website and click on either their “downloads”, or “support” page and look for the XP driver, and click on the download link.
This will (usually) download a self-installing driver package, and all you’ll have to do is double-click on it and an Install wizard will guide you through the process: simply “accept” and click “next”.
If, instead, you do not get a self-installing package, you will have to use the Add New Hardware Wizard and decline the “automatically install” option, and point it at your downloaded driver file (I describe the steps in the article mentioned above).

Or.. you could just get used to Vista. I think you’ll like it if you give it a try.

Today’s free link: today’s link is a repeat, but it is relevant to today’s discussion because it will help you identify the Make/Model of the components inside your PC, which is a necessary first step in getting the proper device drivers installed. Sandra Lite is a free benchmarking tool which (among other useful things) scans your computer for installed hardware and software.

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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December 19, 2007 Posted by | advice, computers, device drivers, how to, PC, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | , , | 8 Comments