Can I change my OS?

By The Lost Chord
Mar 4, 2008
  1. Hi everyone! Again, I'm back for some tech help from the experts here at Techspot.

    I have Windows Vista given me by Dell without my consent. My first Dell broke under warranty and they sent me a new PC with great specs, but it does not have XP. I have been using Vista for a while and I am finally beginning to crack. I ONLY use my PC for old stuff I have realised, old games, old programs etc. XP has always worked perfectly, but Vista has ran some problems here and there.

    Here are my specs:

    Dimension DXP061
    Windows Vista Home Premium
    Intel Core 2 CPU 6600 at 2.4 GHZ
    2046 MB RAM
    32 Bit Operating System

    Now, I could reformat this bad boy and not shed a tear. All I care about on here are a few files and my music, which I have backed up on an external HDD.

    So, what can I do? I have plenty of those Windows XP cds from my old Dell computers, will one of those work? Is it a hard process, should I have an expert run it through? Is it even possible?

    Thanks for any help, much appreciated as always!
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

    Installing Windows XP isn't difficult at all however; I very well could be wrong on this, but, I doubt you will be able to use an XP CD from your previous Dell PCs if they are labeled "Reinstallation Disks". I believe these disks have some form of an integrated file or files that attempts to identify specific hardware (which the original PC shipped with) and if it fails this check it will request that you activate your product upon completing the installation, which, you won't be able to do with the OEM key provided by Dell (the one stuck onto the other PC's case).

    There are ways around this I believe by altering a files "Reinstallation Disk", however, I believe that would terminate the license agreement, which would be considered illegal and we're not allowed to discuss such things here.

    Unless you actually have a full copy of XP with a non-OEM product key, you will probably have to buy a one.

    That said, you can always give it a shot and see if you can get away with it, no harm done if it doesn't work, you can just buy a licensed copy.

    Before that though, you should be sure that Dell will provide XP compatible drivers for your PC's components (or that you can find the proper drivers elsewhere). Some proprietary companies are now only providing drivers which are Vista compatible, which would not be fun to discover after you've successfully downgraded your operating system to XP ;).
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    yep; the old CD will not work and you will need to purchase a full retail version.
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    If you upgrade your Vista to Ultimate, then that gives you the right to use XP Pro.. :p
  5. labateca

    labateca TS Rookie

    use XP Pro :)
  6. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    Nodsu, for future reference, having downgrade rights to XP from Vista is something I have heard of, but precisely how do you go about claiming and implementing those rights?

    I mean, do you have to arm-wrestle MS to get them to give you an XP pro full install CD, or Dell, or download a Gb or so, or what? Seems to me a dodgy thing, as Dell for instance, only supply a restore partition ready-loaded on the HDD which is a lot cheaper than actual media.

    Please expand.
  7. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    You can downgrade to XP Pro from OEM Vista Business and OEM Vista Ultimate versions.

    You have to have the XP CD and license yourself. Microsoft says that you have to own these, common sense says that this is bull**** and you can just as well borrow the CD and key :p Your computer maker may offer downgrade CDs too.

    You simply install XP and activate it via phone. Explain the Microsoft drone that you are downgrading from Vista and give them your Vista key. They will give you an activation key for the XP.
  8. jordan.1

    jordan.1 TS Rookie

    go for a dual boot! :p
  9. The Lost Chord

    The Lost Chord TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 41

    Thanks for the help, guys! I am now concidering just keeping XP...most of my games have been running better, and I got some patches and everything seems OK...I am just scared that future game purchases may end up have problems, you know.

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