Will Vista-Native drivers work in XP Pro? Y/N
March 5, 2007 10:52 AM   Subscribe

I have a client system that has Vista preinstalled. The client wants XP Pro on the system. It's a laptop, and the manufacturer (HP) only provides Vista drivers. Will the Vista drivers work in Windows XP? Is there a hardware-equivalent HP system that is the Windows XP version that I can get drivers for to use on this one? It's an HP DV6235NR. Thanks!
posted by SlyBevel to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Most machines' hardware works OK in XP. The reason this laptop comes with Vista drivers is that they are currently hard to find. Just install it. If you need additional drivers, however, make sure you have another computer on hand to get them (and a thumbdrive).
posted by Xoder at 11:34 AM on March 5, 2007


It's not that simple. This is a fancy laptop with fancy doodads like TV tuners.

The the question is important. Any help?
posted by SlyBevel at 12:52 PM on March 5, 2007

Uh. Looking at the spec sheet, I see no TV tuner, nor do I see anything that would be difficult to find XP drivers for, and in fact HP seems to provide some XP drivers.

However, if it does indeed have a TV tuner and possibly other unknown quantities, your best bet is to just go through the device manager and find drivers for individual components. I'm fairly sure ALL hardware out there that has Vista drivers also has XP 32-bit drivers (I make no such assumptions about 64-bit XP).

Since it's a new laptop, you can also just make a Vista install disk from the hard drive, install XP and see how it goes, if it doesn't work out then reformat and install Vista again.
posted by anaelith at 1:29 PM on March 5, 2007

Well, I'm daring to disagree (in a polite way :D ) with anaelith.

Looking at that HP driver page I don't see anything relevant to getting anything working. The networking assistant is not even a driver persay - it's an HP utility manages the wireless connections. You can try to find drivers for all the devices, but based on experience you are probably not going to find much. You will get most of your functionality but don't expect any of that custom/fancy pants equipment to work right. You might be able to cobble something together. But I wouldn't get my hopes up.

As far as your backwards compatibility question:

Vista may not look that different than XP (at least to most of us). But it's what's under the skin that counts. Vista has an entirely different underpining than XP. That's why companies are having to release Vista compatible drivers. Because the drivers are having to be rewritten for the new OS. That's what it is too. A new OS - regardless of what everyone is calling it. It's more comparable to the win 3.1 to 95 jump than from 2k to XP. You wouldn't expect 95 drivers to work in 3.1 would you? It's that big of a jump in terms of coding if nothing else.

However, the only way to know for sure is to try it. HP's come with utilities to burn off recovery CDs - I'd image you'd be able to find out in less than an hour or two whether or not it's possible. If not, roll it back to factory image and get the client up. I work in a retail store tech shop and we do similar things for customers. Not a very high success rate for laptops. I'm also working with our Vista pilot for my "real" job and we've been running into the same problems you have. We've been dualbooting the OS's to try and get a feel for the application differences. It's a PITA either way. Put your head down and go for it.
posted by unvivid at 2:05 PM on March 5, 2007

I stand corrected. The Drivers Page for the model has two TV tuner drivers, apparently for add-on tuners that don't come with the base model.

I did see the three drivers provided for Windows XP, but none of them are hardware drivers in the true sense, so I don't consider them part of the solution.

I've searched through HP's support database and found equivalent XP drivers for most items on the Vista page, and I think I'll be ok.

But I'm making Vista restore discs, just to be sure.
posted by SlyBevel at 2:15 PM on March 5, 2007

I'm also in the throes of implementing stuff on Vista, and echo unvivid's doubts that you'll get things working properly with XP. Driver hooks in Vista a very different than previous Windows versions.

You client is absolutely on the mark in wanting to avoid Vista, but he won't get the same functionality in XP -- that's the carrot MS is using to force digital rights restrictions on the world.

Ugh. Words fail.
posted by anadem at 2:27 PM on March 5, 2007

My client is avoiding Vista on my advice. The last thing I need is to be supporting this crazy not-even-ready-for-consumers OS crap in my clients' businesses.

I fully understand that we're missing out on Vista's features by going with XP (GASP!) but really, what's to miss in a business environment?

Other than a new TCP/IP stack, that is.

Anyway...I'll update here as to whether the replacement drivers I searched down at HP do the trick.
posted by SlyBevel at 2:42 PM on March 5, 2007

Maybe something like driver collector would do the trick? it doesnt say it works in vista
posted by psychobum at 5:06 PM on March 5, 2007

Will the Vista drivers work in Windows XP?

No. They will not.

But fear not. Don't forget that what's inside the HP is just commoditized hardware from various disparate sources. The video card, for instance--the Intel 950 drivers are friggin' open source! So no problem there. The network peripherals are probably the same as a dozen other laptops, and I'd bet my right nut that Windows XP will detect them out of the box.

You just have to find out who the OEM is for the hardware, then go to their websites and download the drivers.

Intel 940GML Chipset
Intel 950
Intel 3945ABG Wireless
Intel HD Audio drivers (Should be compatible with Conextant's implementation. You can also get the Conextant drivers, but you'll need to run an XP update -- read for more info)
Conextant HDAUDIO v.92 Modem with SmartCP
Yuan EC300 DVB-T TV
Ricoh 5-in-1 Card Reader
Broadcom 802.11i Wireless
TouchPad, BIOS, etc.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:34 PM on March 5, 2007

Obviously this hardware wasn't born in the last two weeks so the stuff should be available somewhere. When I have these issues with Toshiba I contact tech support they give me access to what I need though it can take a while to be kicked high enough. You may need to go through your reseller.
posted by Mitheral at 7:31 PM on March 5, 2007

CD and Mitheral get Best Answers.

CD because three of his links are links that I used (the first two and the last) to get some working drivers.

Mitheral because HP hid the drivers so well that their support database couldn't find them for me, so I did a live chat with a support agent (that lasted two hours!) who took roughly twenty minutes per link to find pages for me to get valid XP drivers from.

I earned every penny of my fee last night. I'm very glad to be done with this system.

There is one thing...A "Network Controller" device in the "Other Devices" area of the Device Manager. All devices installed fine, and both the ethernet connection and the 1394 connection (technically a network device, stupidly) check out, so it appears to be a quirk of new hardware with wonky drivers.

Now, if I can just get the client to stop buying grey market software, we'll be in good shape.
posted by SlyBevel at 7:31 AM on March 6, 2007

Oh, and one more thing:

Most machines' hardware works OK in XP. The reason this laptop comes with Vista drivers is that they are currently hard to find. Just install it.

People giving this sort of advice clearly haven't earned their techie chops.

I normally wouldn't make a special comment for it, but as strong a technical community as ask.mefi is, you clearly can't take every answer to every question as anything approaching gospel.

Proceed with caution, and it never hurts to check profiles. My two best answerers here are frequent answerers, and show a history of being helpful.

Many thanks.
posted by SlyBevel at 7:38 AM on March 6, 2007

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