install Windows XP on Vista laptop
August 18, 2009 10:43 PM   Subscribe

Trouble installing windows xp on a vista laptop (Acer 6530)

I wiped my acer 6530 laptop hd, and upon attempting to install windows xp, it only recognizes 131 GB of the 250 GB hard drive.

Is this because I did not install the Win XP BIOS before I wiped the drive of Vista? (I have the XP bios on a flash drive, downloaded from the Acer site.) I did change the original Vista bios settings from AHCI to IDE, and boot order to DVD ROM drive first.

I'm considering 2 plans: 1) Install Win XP on the 131GB space I do have, and then install the Win XP BIOS, re-wipe the HD and re-install Win XP, or 2) Re-install Vista, replace those Vista BIOS with the XP BIOS, and then re-wipe the hard drive and do a clean install of Win XP. Which would you recommend?

Alternatives? Thanks...
posted by gigimakka to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
My guess: there's an invisible "restore" partition.
posted by Netzapper at 10:48 PM on August 18, 2009

Betcha that's the 128G limit on what WinXP can 'see' without SP1.

See here.

Grab a later install disc with SP1, or slipstream the latest XP Service Pack into your current one.
posted by Pinback at 11:03 PM on August 18, 2009

Best answer: There's no such thing as a "Windows XP BIOS". There's a BIOS (which lives in flash EPROM on the motherboard, and is usable or ignorable by any installed operating system) and there are drivers (which are OS-specific, and get installed as part of the OS). Don't mess with your BIOS unless you know exactly what you're doing and why.

The standard way that Acer sets its computers up is with three partitions: the first one is a hidden recovery partition (usually less than 10GB), the second (usually labelled Acer and assigned drive letter C:) occupies about half the remaining space and holds the Windows installation, and the third (Acer-Data, D:) occupies the remaining space and is pretty much empty.

If you reformatted C: but didn't change the hard disk partitioning, C: will still occupy only half the physical disk and D: may or may not be available. You can make it available by right-clicking My Computer, selecting Manage, then clicking Disk Management and following your nose.
posted by flabdablet at 11:11 PM on August 18, 2009

There is a 137G limit that many older BIOSes had and I think XP might as well. Google for "137g limit".
posted by chairface at 9:35 AM on August 19, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you all, esp. flabdablet. Really great. Later disk with SP2 I believe is the answer I'm looking for, and I did not know about the size issue (my XP disk I got from a friend at Microsoft just after it came out, like late 2002 I think). Will let you know what happens.
posted by gigimakka at 6:49 PM on August 19, 2009

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