HP Customer Support - Knowledge Base







HP Notebook PCs - Problems when Installing Windows XP

This document is for HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario Notebook computers being downgraded to Windows XP from Windows 7 or Vista. This document does not apply to Commercial Notebook or Desktop computers.
HP stopped shipping consumer notebooks with Windows XP in April, 2010. Depending on how and when you acquired your copy of Windows XP, Microsoft might no longer provide mainstream support. Mainstream support includes, but is not limited to, drivers for new hardware, updated drivers, security, fixes, patches, or updated software.
Downgrading to a retail version of Windows XP on an HP notebook computer that is under warranty voids the software portion of that warranty. The software portion of the warranty only covers the original software and operating system that shipped with the notebook. It does not cover software modifications made after purchase.
The hardware warranty is valid for the specified warranty period. However, if you have a hardware problem, you might be asked to reinstall the original operating system to verify the issue is caused by hardware failure.

Known issues when downgrading from Vista or Windows 7 to XP

If you have an HP Pavilion or Compaq Presario consumer notebook computer that shipped with Windows 7 or Vista, changing the operating system (OS) might 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 research the support policies for your hardware, and review the problems experienced by other users, before you consider changing the operating system.
Microsoft has stopped the sale of its XP operating system, and provides limited support for existing installations. See the Microsoft web site for their usage and support policies.

Makers of new hardware components do not provide XP drivers

Hardware technology has changed since newer Vista and Windows 7 operating systems were introduced. Some component manufactures are not supporting XP. You might experience the following conditions if you downgrade an HP Pavilion or Compaq Presario consumer notebook, which was designed for Vista, to an older operating system:
  • HP does not provide Windows XP-compatible drivers for functions such as sound, video, graphics, network connectivity, drives, or other devices and peripherals for these consumer notebooks.
  • Changing the operating system might require you to reinstall the original software image when troubleshooting possible software and hardware issues with technical support.
  • Newer hardware might be specifically designed to work with a more modern operating system, such as Vista or Windows 7. As a result, some component manufacturers might not provide Windows XP-compatible drivers.
  • 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 computer might be less than optimal.

Use Window Update and HP Help & Support to find compatible drivers

Both Microsoft and HP provide tools to help find compatible drivers and software. Because some updates cannot be installed until other updates are installed and the computer is restarted, you should run the update tools multiple times.
  • The Windows Update function is part of the Vista and Windows 7 operating system, and is run from the hard drive. For XP, go to the Microsoft web site and run a web-enabled update utility over the Internet. To run Windows Update, do the following.
    1. Open a browser, and go to the www.update.microsoft.com web page.
    2. Select the options to check for updates for both the operating system and for Microsoft software, such as Word, Excel, or Office.
    3. Allow the program to analyze the computer and check for updates and patches. The latest Service Pack for Windows XP, which contains all the drivers that Microsoft plans to release, is SP3. Microsoft does not plan to create any more drivers and software for Windows XP.
  • The HP Help & Support application for XP has some maintenance tools, but it does link you to Instant Support Professional Edition diagnostics tools that are run over your web connection. The tools were designed for known hardware and operating system combinations. It might not deliver any updates if your specific notebook has an unknown configuration.
    1. Download the HP Help & Support for XP program at HP Self-Support Options.
    2. Click Start, and then select Help & Support.
    3. Select Update, and then follow the on-line prompts.

Run HP Notebook Utilities for XP

HP notebook computers have unique features that are lost when a standard Windows XP operating system image is installed. Although you can search for and install the individual utilities, HP prepared a softpaq SP27720 - Notebook Utilities for Windows XP that contains several Notebook Utilities. The utilities help you calibrate the battery, switch the display using the shortcut keys, quick lock the system, and use Wireless functions.
Download and Save the softpaq file to the computer. Do not try to Run the program from the web. Some of the utilities examine the hard drive for an earlier version of the program and display a message to uninstall the existing program:
  1. Open the Control Panel, right-click the named program, and select Uninstall from the drop-down menu.
  2. Shut down and restart the computer before installing the new version of the utilities.

Update or reinstall drivers from Device Manager

If the notebook does not recognize some USB device, or the driver fails to install properly, an error message displays.
This device cannot start. (FailReasonString value) Value might change to reflect the hardware component that failed.
This device is either not present, not working properly, or does not have all the drivers installed. (Code 10)
If the failed device is an external peripheral such as a printer or USB hard drive, un-plug and re-plug the cable to ensure a proper connection. To resolve an error and install a compatible driver, connect the computer to the Internet and perform one or more of the following actions.

Update the device driver

  1. Click Start, and then right-click the My Computer icon.
  2. Select Properties, and then select the Hardware tab.
  3. Click the Device Manager button to start the Device Manager.
    Within the Device Manager, a graphic of an exclamation mark (!) inside a yellow triangle is used to identify a device that is not detected or a driver that is not installed and operating properly.
  4. Select the Driver tab.
  5. Click Update Driver, and allow Windows to search the computer and the web for the proper driver.

Uninstall and reinstall the device driver

  1. Open the Device Manager as described above.
  2. Select the non-working device identified with an exclamation mark (!) inside a yellow triangle, and click Uninstall.
  3. Close the Device Manager and shutdown the computer.
  4. Restart the computer and allow Windows to detect the plug-and-play hardware and install drivers. Allow WINDOWS to search the computer and the web for the proper driver.

Manually find and install alternate drivers and programs

If you know the model number of a specific hardware component, you can search for other computer products that use components from the same component manufacturer, and then search for compatible drivers. Since XP was built on older technologies, XP drivers might have limited functionality when compared to the Windows 7 drivers.
Search for drivers used on similar product models with the new OS. You can go to the HP Customer Support - Software and Driver Downloads webpage to search for updated device driver software for other computers in the product series.
Before installing an unspecified driver or software, you must verify that it is designed for the specific version of the hardware component. View the Readme file or installation instructions that relate to the updated file.
DO NOT install randomly selected drivers or software because an incompatible program might prevent the computer from operating properly or might cause the computer to stop working completely! For instance, attempting to install a BIOS for an Intel 32 bit processor on a computer with an AMD 64 bit processor might cause the computer to stop working completely, and it might not be possible to restore to computer to its previous operating condition.

Reinstall the original OS if your PC is not working properly

If you have already downgraded your computer from Vista or Windows 7 to Windows XP, you have probably discovered that features like sound, DVD drive, or the webcam have stopped working. You have looked on the product page for your specific notebook product, but there are very few XP drivers available. HP does NOT provide XP-compatible drivers for computers that were designed exclusively for Vista or Windows 7 drivers. If your computer shipped with a non-XP operating system, HP supports the installed hardware and software while the computer is operating with the original operating system, according to the written agreements. You can reinstall the original OS.
You might attempt to use 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 Vista or Windows 7 operating system.
To resolve your hardware and software problems, you MUST reinstall the original operating system that was installed on your computer as follows:

Dual-booting is not recommended

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 both XP and Vista might limit the amount of space that you have available for other applications, which might degrade performance.






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