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HP Notebook PCs - Issues with Changing the Operating System from Windows 7 to Windows Vista or XP

This document is for HP Notebook PCs that shipped with Windows 7.

Issues you might experience if you downgrade from Windows 7 to Vista or XP

If you have an HP notebook PC that shipped with Windows 7, you should not attempt to downgrade to Windows Vista or XP. Changing the operating system (OS) can cause severe operational problems. Many of the components, such as sound, video, graphics, network connectivity, drives, or other devices and peripherals, might have limited functionality, or might not work at all. You should do some research on the support policies of hardware and software manufacturers, and review the problems experienced by other users, before you consider changing the operating system.
You might experience the following conditions if you change the OS of an HP notebook, which was designed for Windows 7, to an older operating system:
  • HP might not provide Windows Vista/XP-compatible drivers for functions such as sound, video, graphics, network connectivity, drives, or other devices and peripherals for these notebooks.
  • Changing the operating system might require you to reinstall the original software image when troubleshooting possible software and hardware issues with technical support.
  • Some component manufacturers do not provide Windows Vista/XP-compatible drivers for components that they designed for Windows 7.
  • Even if a third-party company or Windows itself can provide generic drivers that allow all of your devices to operate, the performance of your HP notebook PC might be less than optimal.
If you decide to change the OS of your PC from Windows 7 to Windows Vista/XP, in spite of the known hardware and software problems, or if you have already tried to make the change and your PC does not work properly, read the other sections of this document. There is also a section that discusses the problems with setting up a dual-boot system.

Things to do before you make any changes to your PC

If you decide to change the OS of your PC from Windows 7 to Windows Vista/XP, or to make any other OS changes, in spite of the known hardware and software problems, you might find the following recommendations useful.
  • Create a set of Windows 7 Recovery DVDs. You were prompted to create a set of recovery DVDs the first time that you started your Windows 7 PC. If you create a set of recovery discs, and then encounter problems after changing your OS, you can use the set of recovery discs to reinstall Windows 7 with all of the required hardware drivers to restore your PC to its original condition.
    If you have not yet created a set of recovery discs, please get at least two (2) DVD-R discs and create a set of Windows 7 recovery discs now. With these recovery discs, you can return your PC to a stable base state if problems occur. To create the recovery discs, re-start the PC, and then press F11 to launch the HP Backup and Recovery Manager. You can make one (1) set of recovery discs.
    If you cannot locate your recovery disks, or if the attempt to create the recovery discs failed, contact HP to purchase a replacement Windows 7 recovery disc.
  • Research Vista/XP drivers. Check the list of devices that are on your computer, and go to the manufacturers' websites for information about what drivers they provide for their devices. Please be aware that some components work together, and if drivers for one component are not available, the other devices might function poorly, or not at all.

Things to do if you changed the OS and your PC is not working properly

If you have changed the OS from Windows 7 to Windows Vista/XP, you have probably discovered that your PC does not work properly. You might have noticed that features like sound, DVD, or the webcam on your new PC have stopped working. You are probably wondering where you can find the right drivers. HP might NOT provide Vista/XP-compatible drivers for PCs that were designed exclusively for Windows 7. If your PC shipped with Windows 7, HP supports the installed hardware and software while the PC is operating with the Windows 7 operating system, according to the written agreements.
note:
You might attempt to use non-Windows 7 drivers and programs that are provided by other companies; however, HP cannot provide technical support or diagnose potential hardware issues until you reinstall the original Windows 7 operating system.
To resolve your hardware and software problems, you MUST reinstall the Windows 7 operating system that was installed on your PC.

Things to do if you upgraded from Windows Vista to Windows 7 and want to return to Windows Vista

If you purchased a Windows 7-capable HP notebook PC that shipped with Windows Vista, and you upgraded it to Windows 7, you can reinstall Vista, provided that you reinstall all of the Vista-compatible drivers.
note:
In all cases, the BIOS and the hardware drivers must be designed as compatible with the operating system. Specifically, Vista drivers do not work with the Windows 7 OS, and Windows 7 drivers do not work with the Vista OS.
To resolve your hardware and software problems, reinstall the Vista operating system that was installed on your PC.
  • If you created Windows Vista HP Recovery discs while you were still operating with Vista, insert the first disc, and then restart the PC to restore your system to Vista.
  • If you did not create HP Recovery discs while you were running Windows Vista, you must order a Vista recovery disc set directly from HP. For more detailed information, go to Obtaining HP Recovery Discs or an HP USB Recovery Drive.
  • After the PC is returned to its original configuration, go to the Software and Driver Downloads webpage on the HP website and install any updated Vista drivers. Be sure to install the latest BIOS that is listed on the Vista pages and do not install any Windows 7 drivers.

Reasons not to try a dual-boot system

While documentation on how to use dual-booting might be available on the web, HP does not support computers that have been set up in a dual-boot configuration. The dual-boot requires hardware drivers for both operating systems, and HP does not provide drivers for components that were not designed for the specific operating system. Such a configuration change might require you to reinstall the original software image when troubleshooting possible software and hardware issues with technical support.
Additionally, even if you could find some generic third-party drivers that would allow you to setup a dual-boot configuration on your notebook, you should consider the size of your hard drive. Each operating system takes up a considerable amount of space on the hard drive. Installing more than one OS might limit the amount of space that you have available for other applications, which degrades performance.

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