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I am downgrading my laptop, (Acer Extensa 4420), back to XP from Vista. Please help with detailed steps! Answered

I am downgrading my laptop, (Acer Extensa 4420), from Vista to XP (Windows XP Essentials 2 Professional)

I wanted to know what exactly I need to do. I have a back up of my drivers, both on CD and Flash drive just in case, and I have been reading this guide on how to do so.


But before I do anything, I want to know if I have everything in order, because this is my personal/school laptop and only means for internet. The main part I am worried about is looking in my device manager for what AHCI Disc controller I have. I'm worried that I will not have reconfigured the BIOS right on the XP installation and that I might mess up my computer entirely. Please help me with some good instructions on just what I should do! Thanks!


Make a copy of all of your drivers before downgrading, otherwise you will have a nightmare trying to find them after.

save time and wait until MS Windows 7 comes out. I am currently using the Beta version on my laptop and it is better than MS Vista. If you want to put MS XP Pro on your laptop i would buy a new hard drive and use that

Chances are, going down to XP will have your computer running faster, as it's less of a resource hog. Why would he want to wait to go up?

you get the look of Vista but the benefits of XP

And, you forgot, the resource-hog -iness of Vista, as well.


9 years ago

It sounds like you've taken good steps by having a back up of all of your drivers. I'd also make sure that I had all of my data saved and fully backed up. The biggest thing I'd recommend is printing out the instructions for upgrading. While you're upgrading your computer, you won't be able to use the internet to check instructables (unless of course, you have another computer). Basically, if you just follow the steps you should be fine.

Yeah, I have a back-up DVD made with the Acer E management thing, and I downloaded each individual driver from a driver index online too. I also have moved the files that I want to keep over onto my data hard drive, I only plan to download my operating system onto one drive. But that also brings another question: If I delete all of the partitions and make one giant one, will that combine those two drives together into a sole C: drive? I so, then I might just back up the files I want to keep and make one drive.

Oh, and I was wondering how to make a back-up of Vista, just in case XP doesn't in fact work. I don't have a disc for vista, just whats on my computer.

There's a utility to make backup discs built into Vista. This can only be done once. You'll need probably 3 DVDs or about 20 CDs. Go to Start>All programs>Recovery Manager>Recovery Disc Creation. This will start the wizard to create your set of backup discs. Just feed it CDs or DVDs until it stops asking for more. ;)

I had just returned from buying 25 dvd's, so I'm good on that. I'll go ahead and make the back-up now then.

Okay, I don't have such a file under my start menu. Perhaps thats because mine is an Acer? I have an Acer E management, which has multiple back-up type things. What am I looking for? A factory default disc? That is one of the options, and then there is an option for a driver disc, and an option for current configuration settings.

Oh, I'm sorry, I assumed you were using Vista. I don't know where I got that from. Yes, you are looking for something to make a set of backup discs. The factory default sounds about right.

Okay, so I made the backup for Vista, my drivers are doubled up and backed. All thats left is to read through the instructions and ask questions about what isn't understood. (Lucky for you guys. ;) ) Firstly, I couldn't find what this asks for: -Thirdly, look in Device Manager to see what AHCI Disk Controller you have! Write this down. On the Best Buy Acer Extensa 5620-6830, it's the 'Intel 82801HEM/HBM SATA AHCI.' Other models may be slightly different. This info is important later, and it can be difficult to find out without some annoying trial and error.

Okay, new problem. I can't update my graphics card, it wont even install Catalyst control! My card is an ATI Radeon Xpress 1250, integrated and whatnot. Please help! (I'm going to post this question again as a new question too.)

What I'm trying to do now is install a driver detector. It seems that right now I can't install .net framework though, at any version. I hope thats just a server problem because it wont connect. But if I get this driver detector to work, it will find updates for mine. But are you able to look into the .network installer? The Microsoft pages don't even load when I click download.

Ah, I see. I thought you meant you just needed one specific driver for it. Well, the Microsoft download pages load just fine for me. You're trying to download the .network installer and it won't give you the download page for it, right? Or did I get it wrong and you have the file but it just won't install on your computer? Perhaps try a hard reset of both your computer and your router if the problem persists?

I'll try that in a second, but what happens is after I click the download now link, in order to produce the prompt to accept the download, it only starts to load the page, then goes to and error for connection. I already had a spare one downloaded though, I was only trying to redownload it because the first didn't work either. It starts to install, but attempts to connect to the microsoft server five times, failing at all of them.

I rebooted and re connected my network and still nothing. I think it might just be a down server... Too bad for me, I kinda need a graphics card to run a computer. Even when I move a window around, it gets all jumpy and whatnot. XD

I just tried installing my Zune Software. It too wont install. Do I have installation through Microsoft period just not working?

I'm going to have my friends look at this laptop tomorrow, and if all fails, I'll use the weekend to just reformat the hardrive and reinstall XP again. I hate that, that would be the third time now.

Actually, I'm going to see if a reinstalled OS will work now. I'll see you in a bit if you come back!

I just wanted to say thank you. I now have XP, fully operational with all my drivers and old programs, and I would not have gotten through it without your help and the guide. Thank you so much!

congrats man!!!! do you mind if i ask you one thing though??? why did you go to XP

I'd suspect because Vista is a ridiculous resource hog and if you actually care about USING your computer rather than simply staring at eye candy and waiting and waiting (particularly on a machine with <4GB or RAM) something like XP is a much better solution. XP runs much faster than Vista, even with the eye candy turned off. Older application compatibility is still also an issue sometimes. Side note. Clonezilla is a free bootable CD based tool to create a disk image backup like Drive Image or Ghost, etc. Partimage is also useful as it is a free bootable CD based tool to partition a hard drive like Partition Magic or other commercial apps. Likewise, these and/or other free tools are often included as part of small bootable live Linux distros such as Puppy Linux, DSL, Slax, etc.

i totally agree all my machines (9) run on linux or XP except my mac and my newest add on the vista which sucks majorly which i am converting to XP this weekend feel your pain OK graphics suckish everything else

That's quite strange. Following the link you gave me, I was able to download it with no problems. Since I have it, and you are having problems, I'm uploading it here for you. I'll attached below in a comment. You can download it by doing right click>save as. When you download it you'll need to rename the extension to .exe. Hopefully that will fix it.

What operating system are you downloading? Linux?

You mean will it combine two physical drives and look at them as one C drive? No, it won't do that. (Okay, technically you *could* combine them, but you'd have to buy special softwareand hardware and it would be hard to get to work) If it were me, I would back up my files on one drive, and use the other one to install your operating system.

Okay, new problem. I can't update my graphics card, it wont even install Catalyst control! My card is an ATI Radeon Xpress 1250, integrated and whatnot. Please help! (I'm going to post this question again as a new question too.)

To be clear; you are not downgrading you are retrograding.

you should be fine.... just make a shadow copy of your hard disk

It's hard to really and truly break a computer to where nothing can fix it, software-wise. You can almost always wipe and reinstall the OS if something goes very very wrong. I'd download DSL (or a full distro of linux if you can) and burn a bootable CD in case of emergencies, so you could at least get online and get information and help troubleshooting if something did go wrong.