How to switch back to Win XP without reformatting

Asked By 230 points N/A Posted on -

I recently installed windows vista on my laptop and used it for 2-3 months.

Now after experiencing a lot of bugs in the windows vista I want to install my old XP back but the problem is that I can’t.

When I insert my XP CD and try to install it the system says you already have the latest version installed. My friend told me to format my pc and then install it but that means re installing all my required software and also taking a huge back up.

Is there any easy way to get my XP back without formatting my computer.

Best Answer by Peter Kent
Best Answer
Best Answer
Answered By 0 points N/A #106598

How to switch back to Win XP without reformatting


What you will need to do is to downgrade you Windows Vista to your old Windows Operating System. The computer manufacturers like HP and Lenovo offers a pre-installed operating system of Vista on their computers. If you want to have an XP version of Windows you can have a downgrade disk for the computers with Vista installed on it.

Microsoft is not promoting this kind of offer but they knew that some customers prefer to have a Windows XP for as their operating system.

The Microsoft define downgrade as licensing rights it grants to older operating system so you won’t have to spend money to have another license, hence the license that you have in your Vista operating system is transferred to your XP. They grant such privilege because some vista users experienced compatibly issues regarding hardware, like LAN cards, printers, video cards etc. Some says that Windows Vista is full of bugs more than XP.

Others reported frequent crashes and freezes when using Internet Explorer or Windows Media Player. Some programs that work well on Windows XP cannot operate under Windows Vista and the so called “Digital Rights Management” and User Account Control limits the users from some actions. Because of these issues, most of the users seek to revert their Vista operating system to XP and some organizations in the government as well as some markets said that the prefer Windows XP rather than Windows Vista, so they might not upgrade to Vista and just wait for the Windows 7 to come up. (declared last year 2009).

When you installed the Window XP operating system, you will notice that the Microsoft allows you the options to have your old Windows 98 back if any problem occurs. If you want to really have your Windows XP back you should back up all of your files and leave your installed program even if you don’t like it, because your Vista will be completely wiped out. Here’s how you do it.

  1. Back up your data manually by using CD or use 2BrightSparks.
  2. Insert you windows installation CD and configure your BIOS to boot from CD-ROM.
  3. When the Windows XP loads up, just follow the guide in installing the Windows XP.
  4. Select the partition that contains the Vista and delete it. Press Enter and “L” to delete all the data and software.
  5. It will become an unpartitioned space, press C to create new partition and provide a partition size that you want to use.
  6. Press Enter and choose NTFS file format end press enter again.
  7. Follow the guide for XP installation. When finished restore your files through backups and install your applications.
Answered By 0 points N/A #106600

How to switch back to Win XP without reformatting


Hi Jimmy,

Yes there’s a way to downgrade from Vista to XP without formatting your hard disk but, be carefully!

You must have a backup in case something goes wrong during your installation.


  • Your old Vista programs will not work, so you must reinstall all your software and drivers.
  • You must assure you that your hard disk must have at least 3 GB free.
  • Take the Windows XP installation CD and boot your computer with it.
  • During CD boot press “R” key when setup first page will appear so “Recovery Console” will be opened.
  • Recovery Console checks for Windows Installations, confirm and enter your administrator password.

On the recovery console type the following commands:

1. Fixboot

2. Fixmbr

3. Cd

4. Ren windows winvista

5. Exit

When the computer reboots, start with your CD another time and go on with your XP installation.

Important: After the installation you must move your user data from “C:Users” to “C:Documents and Settings”.

Login/Register to Answer

Related Questions