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October 6, 2010 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Can I load Windows XP Professional on this new Windows 7 machine?

Not doing this by choice, but because the industry software I use is only compatible with XP right now.

My google-fu has failed me regarding hardware compatibility, and my last (new) machine didn't have the right drivers available to run XP Pro. (?)

Unfortunately, Windows XP mode/virtual machines aren't an option because product support requires native XP. I need to load XP as the sole OS.

Thanks in advance!
posted by bradly to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
Yes as long as you have a cdkey to go with it.
posted by majortom1981 at 10:13 AM on October 6, 2010

I'd be worried about XP drivers not existing for some of components (sound card, chipset, network, etc). You might have to call Gateway and see if their support reps can figure this out, most likely they've been trained to read a script that tells them only 7 is supported.

To be on the safe side you should buy from a manufacturer that still sells XP. I know the HP and Lenovo business lines still support XP. BTW, its complete BS they dont support virtual machines. The OS cannot tell the difference between virtual or hardware.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:13 AM on October 6, 2010

Seconding damn dirty ape here. Unless there's a specific piece of hardware you need (dongle, adapter, whatever), you should be able to just use a VM and then lie about it over the phone.
posted by Oktober at 10:20 AM on October 6, 2010

What is the name of the software you are wanting to use?
Are you 100% sure that it doesn't work under a virtual machine?
Does the software provider have an upgrade path from XP to Windows 7?
Is this a system you already have, or are considering purchasing?

I am assuming that it's a dongle issue based on some previous experience; usb dongles seem to work with VMWare, but not LPT-based.

As for putting XP on a Gateway system: check their support forums for pointers to the proper hardware drivers that other users have found (calling support will either fail outright or escalate to a 1-900 support). Write down ALL of the information that Windows 7 says it has as for hardware, and download and run SIW.EXE (google it) and print out the hardware report. This will help tons with finding the proper drivers before you whack Windows 7.

And finally, back up using some sort of disk imaging, or even better, pull the harddrive with Windows 7 on it and stick in a fresh one.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:26 AM on October 6, 2010

You may or may not know about this, but Microsoft offers Virtual Windows XP for Windows 7 (for free), which should be 100% compatible with any GDI-based apps.
posted by neckro23 at 2:03 PM on October 6, 2010

Gateway are like Dell, in so much as that if they don't list the exact model of a network adapter/sound card/modem etc then it is invariably the most popular and cheapest industry standard and has probably been the mainstay of integrated components for mid-range PCs for years. In short, I don't think Windows XP will even bat an eyelid at that system. Graphics card aside of course, and I think you'll be wasting some of them cores, as if memory serves Windows XP only supports up to dual core. I may be wrong though.
posted by dougrayrankin at 2:39 PM on October 6, 2010

Ehhhh, I've had some real trouble lately getting stock XP SP3 to install on pretty basic Dell Optiplexes. I'm pretty sure the motherboard and IO drivers for the Core i3/5/7es isn't included in SP3.
posted by Oktober at 7:53 PM on October 6, 2010

I run Win7 on a Dell Studio 1535 machine that actually came with Vista installed. I'm using the freebie Windows XP Mode VM to run XP SP2. This is why I upgraded to Win7 in the first place.

I don't know what chipset you have, but the Win7 XP Mode takes advantage of Intel hardware virtualization which makes it a little faster than using VMware (which I still use most of the time). I don't know how the XP Mode drivers work, but I know that VMWare uses virtual drivers which seem to make it optional to care about the actual hardware. You can install the drivers into the VM if you want (I have a printer driver that only works on XP, for example), but you don't have to.

BTW, don't install SP3! I got stuck needing to use a product (Cognos) that absolutely, positively required IE6 or IE7 because of some nonstandard rendering garbage that MS discontinued after that. SP3 has IE8 baked in, and it can't be uninstalled. You don't mention what the product is, but if you are using some software that requires XP, you may have this limitation as well. MS, in its crappitude, won't let you run different versions of IE on the same machine. You can pick what version of XP you want on your free VM.

If you want anything in SP3, you can always install it over SP2, which will give you the option to roll back the upgrade if you need to.
posted by mneekadon at 11:34 AM on October 7, 2010

All the above was in support of damn dirty ape's point -- you probably don't need to pitch Win7 and have XP only. It can't hurt to at least give it a shot before you wipe your HD.

You'd need to pitch the OS if it were Vista, though.
posted by mneekadon at 11:54 AM on October 7, 2010

BTW, don't install SP3!

This is terrible advice. MS doesnt release security patches for SP2 anymore and there have been some pretty high profile exploits since, especially the shortcut exploit. Not to mention SP3 does not include IE8.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:03 PM on October 7, 2010

SP3 has IE8 baked in

This is not the case.
posted by tracert at 11:10 PM on October 7, 2010

+1 XP Mode.
posted by bbyboi at 12:14 AM on October 8, 2010

Right. The main driver issue with XP these days with modern PCs is the motherboard chipset, including sound, network, sata and possibly graphics.

That particular PC looks to be a Gateway DX4320-04e which has an AMD880G motherboard chipset. Given gateway only appear to let you download drivers by serial no, not model, we go looking up a sample 880G based motherboard (which particular one is in the gateway is unknown), a gigabyte ga-880 reveals a bucket load of standard XP 32-bit drivers. Realtek network card, amd sata driver and a UAA driver for XP for the azalia soundcard.

Radeon mobility drivers for the graphics will be obtainable for XP for sure, though not from direct IIRC.

While the minor details of the chipset may vary on this particular model, that the 880G boards use realtek azalia audio and network, with amd standard sata should mean it'll work just fine with XP, with appropriate drivers in hand. You should hopefully be able to get them direct from the gateway site.

Note, given it's sata, you'll need a usb floppy drive plus F6 boot drivers, or to put it in IDE compatibility mode in the BIOS to install a vanilla copy of XP. (you can also slipstream your own custom driver into an XP install disk, but that's more complex)

BTW, don't install SP3!

Bad advice. New security patches are only now available for SP3, and there have already been some exploits that are unpatched on SP2. Especially if you're running as your main OS, SP3 should be considered mandatory at this point. It does not force IE8, though it does bundle it in if you pull it down via windows update I believe.

I also do recommend running XP under a VM if at at possible, quite possibly XP mode for simplicity. Bear in mind, XP mode is *only* available (for free) with windows 7 professional or better; it won't install on windows 7 home premium, which is what comes on that gateway. You'll either need to upgrade to windows 7 pro, say using the anytime upgrade approach, or hack it on there using virtual pc.

XP pro works on up to 8 cores; home up to 4 cores (two physical CPUs and 1 CPU also, respectively IIRC) so you'll want XP 32-bit professional to use all 6 cores. You'll also lose the use of a big chunk of the RAM using a 32-bit OS. With the 512MB RAM on the GPU, you'll probably only be able to use about 3.2GB of the 6GB RAM.

XP-64 really, really sucks for drivers and app support, so I don't suggest it.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:41 AM on October 8, 2010

Went back over the activity on this and want to clarify -- it's not the SP3 upgrade that you shouldn't install; it's WinXP with SP3 already in it. You should install XP with SP2 and then put XP3 on top of it, if you're going that route.

But if someone can tell me how to get my XP3 install to run IE7, I'd be much obliged.
posted by mneekadon at 5:57 AM on October 13, 2010

... and in case anyone is reading -- If you buy a CD with XP w/SP3 and do a clean install of it, you will NOT be able to roll back to IE7. Or so says Microsoft.

I'm no MS expert, but I'm guessing that whatever Cognos needed to function actually used the security exploit from SP2/IE7 to work right.
posted by mneekadon at 6:05 AM on October 13, 2010

If you have IE8 installed before you do SP3, then yes, you can't get rid of it theoretically, and presumably that also applies to a slipstreamed XP SP3 disk.

If you've patched from SP2 to SP3 post IE8, then you can uninstall SP3, and then use add/remove programs to remove IE8; or following this, run


from a command prompt - which *might* work even if you've got a slipstreamed instal of SP3.

You should be able to use nlite to remove IE8 from an XP install disk with it slipstreamed. Failing that, get a SP2 disc and slipstream SP3 into it yourself; that won't pull in IE8.

I presume with cognos, you've tried forcing compatibility view in IE8 which should force IE8 to pretend to be IE7, rendering bugs and all...
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:13 AM on October 13, 2010

And while I think of it, there's also IE collection, which basically allows you to install and multiple versions of IE at once.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:15 AM on October 13, 2010

Sorry, didn't mean to threadjack. I had a slipstreamed XP SP3 disk, and tried almost all the things ArkhanJG suggested, including attempting to use nlite to try to remove IE8 from the install. No joy. Did not try slipstreaming SP3 into the SP2 install, because I didn't have a clean SP2 to start with.

Also tried an app (MultipleIEs) that is supposed to allow multiple IE versions, but really it just tries to emulate and didn't work. Compatibility view in IE8 did bupkis. Using spuninst.exe only works if you've installed SP3 over an existing SP2.

Final answer was: upgraded my Vista OS to Win7 Pro and install Virtual PC. Loaded the XP OS with SP2 in it. Worked fine. Cost a hundred dollars, but now I get to use Win7, which is nicer than Vista anyway.

To sum up, I did NOT have to uninstall Win7, and I don't think you should have to either, though you may have to upgrade it.
posted by mneekadon at 5:40 PM on October 13, 2010

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