Jump to content

Make Disk Image And Downgrade From Windows 7 To Xp?

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone-


I'm hoping the experts on here can help with my dilemma. I just purchased a new laptop with Windows 7 installed, but I would like to reformat the drive and install XP instead. So my questions are...


1. How do I save Windows 7 so that it can be reinstalled at a later date if/when I choose to do so?


2. How do I reformat/prepare the drive for XP?


And 3. Should I choose to reinstall 7 what would be involved?


While I feel very comfortable using XP, I have no experience with Windows 7 so I don't even know where to start or how to find the most basic things. Unfortunately you'll have to spell out any instructions having to do with Windows 7.


Hope someone can help me get this done!


Link to post
Share on other sites

First up why? Why would you want to remove W7 and install an outdated OS?


1. Never tried - but I'm guessing any imaging software, Acronis etc would enable you to do this.

2. When you run the XP disc - choose to reformat the drive - be careful to make sure you delete any recovery partitions the manufacturer may have installed.

3. You'll need to wipe the drive, using something like 'Boot and Nuke' then reinstal the image.


Before you try anything - check all the components for your laptop to ensure they are XP compatible. As you are aware XP is approaching the end of it's life cycle - no more security updates, also manufacturers are phasing out support for legacy system drivers.


If you have a decent laptop - try running XP in Virtual Box or some other VM ware.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Nigsy-


I want to go back to XP because windows 7 just makes no sense to me. At all. I can't find anything, my software won't run on the machine, and it just seems very counter-intuitive for someone who's used to XP. For example, where's the "My Computer" icon? I'm sure it sounds silly to someone who's comfortable with computers but I feel like I've finally gotten a handle on XP and 7 is like a whole other world... worse than a mac even. There have got to be other people out there like me who feel the same way...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm moving this to User 2 User:


But I really do say, stick with 7; Not because i'm a fanboy, but it is a better OS.


To get 'My Computer' on the desktop:


Click on the start (Windows Orb) bottom left corner - right click on 'Computer' in the right hand list and select 'Show on Desktop'.


What software are you having issues with?


We may be able to help/ or suggest alternatives.


No post for help is daft.....so ask away!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

What you want to do is huge job and not for the inexperienced computer user. The biggest problem is drivers for your hardware does the computer builder provide XP drivers for your laptop? Very likely they don't so you would need to try drivers for older model laptop since computer builders use combination hardware that require very specific drivers. Trying to go back two operating systems may or may not be sucessful.

Whatever you decide be sure to make a disk image of the win 7 operating system and do not wipe the recovery partition because by changing the operating system you void your warrenty. It would be far better and easier to learn win 7. What can be done with win 7 is to install a virtual machine which would allow you to run your old programs. Additional note you will have to buy a win XP disk you can't use an XP disk from another computer to install XP on your new laptop.

Edited by mouse
Link to post
Share on other sites



I want to go back to XP because windows 7 just makes no sense to me. At all. I can't find anything, my software won't run on the machine, and it just seems very counter-intuitive for someone who's used to XP. For example, where's the "My Computer" icon? I'm sure it sounds silly to someone who's comfortable with computers but I feel like I've finally gotten a handle on XP and 7 is like a whole other world... worse than a mac even. There have got to be other people out there like me who feel the same way...


I can sympathize with the very sad dilema Microsoft created for many people by letting Windows XP live 6 years longer than they should have. All they did was create a scenario where people were reluctant to try anything new, and who are resistanat to change.


The first advice I would give you is, do not seriously downgrade you operating system to one that support is ending for. There are numerous reasons I recommend you do not do this.


The first is security related. Windows XP is perhaps inherently the most insecure operating system I have seen in 15 years.


The second is that such an insecure system with end of life, and ending support leaves you with a system that is even more insecure.


That said, it can be hard to change after so many years of being locked into one way of doing things, but not to do it now only prolongs the problems you are having getting accustomed to newer operating systems.


I highly recommend you work at familiarizing yourself with Windows 7, completely forget Xp and don't look back.


The problem isn't that Windows 7 is difficult in comparison to XP, the problem is you simply used XP far too long. With a little patience, and an open mind you will discover that Windows & is actually easier to use, has many more features and much more secure.


Yes things are located in different places, and they are done a little differently, but now so much so that you won't be able to learn it if you approach things with a fresh and open look at the new to you Operating system. You won't learn it all in a day, week, or month, but you will adapt and get used to it.


If you insist on your endeavor to downgrade your operating system and prolong your pain, then Acronis True Image can make an image of your current system, http://www.acronis.c...mage/index.html


You will first have to find drivers for XP for your new computer starting with the sata drivers, you will need those drivers on a floppy, or CD drive so when you attempt to install XP it can see your hard drive, then once up and running you will need XP drivers for a lot of hardware on the machine that is far too new for XP to make function without those third party drivers.


Getting used to Windows 7 will be far less trouble then attempting to make a useable image of your hard drive and then installing and configuring XP.


In short, it is time to move up, move on, and forget the last century of computing, and move on to the current systems and keep an open mind for future systems.


I wish you luck.


As for the My Computer icon on the desktop


Right-click on the desktop and choose Personalize, then click on "Change Desktop Icons" on the left-hand side of the screen.


In the Desktop Icons panel you can choose which of the built-in icons to show on the desktop:

Edited by Bruce
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the responses. I didn't think it would be easy to switch operating systems but it seems like this will be a real pain, much more so than I anticipated.


I understand that support for xp will end, but how soon are we talking about?


My response to why I want to go back to xp still holds true, but there are other factors that I didn't mention. This laptop is meant for my mom - an older lady that's finally gotten the hang of clicking on the start button to find programs. I regularly get calls asking how to do the most basic things. If I don't know how to use the software I can't provide "tech support" for someone who knows far less than I do.


Is there some way to at least make windows 7 -look- like xp? That would be a place to start...


My other concern is that my software won't work and the thought of buying all new programs is not realistic. For example, I was playing with the laptop last night and installed Microsoft security essentials but I got an error saying that it couldn't run because it wasn't 64 bits (not the exact wording but you get the idea). I managed to find a version that worked, but if Microsoft can't get their own programs to run in 7 what hope do we have for other software brands?

I'm also thinking ahead as I'd like to get a laptop as well and I do design work (amazing that I don't like Mac, I know). I cannot afford to buy new windows 7 friendly versions of adobe creative suite, dreamweaver, etc. If only for financial reasons I may be forced to revert to xp.


Maybe I have this all wrong and there's a secret magic setting in 7 that makes programs run and let's you navigate like in xp... but I haven't found it yet.


Any suggestions?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Click the start menu,


On the right hand side. right Computer.


When the window opens, on the left hand side, click on Advanced system settings


Click the settings button in the Performance section..


Select Adjust for best performance.


Click OK

Link to post
Share on other sites

" but if Microsoft can't get their own programs to run in 7 what hope do we have for other software brands?"Posted Image

You've downloaded a 64bit programme for a 32bit PC? It's hardly Microsoft's fault that it won't run!! you would have had the same issue in XP.Posted Image


MS Support for XP



Windows 7, works the same way (More or less) as XP, clicking the start Orb will show all your programmes. The only real learning curve for a new user would be libraries, I hated the concept at first, and wanted my old 'My Documents' setup back that I had loved in NT2000 /ME and XP, but I wouldn't swap it for anything now I've got it sorted.


Try installing software manually. Browse the CD for the setup file or .exe file - right click and select troubleshoot for compatibility. We have to accept that some things won't last forever despite how much we pay for it, you're trying to load a C90 cassette tape into a MP3 player and wondering why it won't work. Microsoft (or any other) manufacturer can not keep ensuring that 3rd party parts/ software will be compatible with their new systems.


Also, you could try (as already suggested) a VMware version of XP if you have the original XP cd:


Create VMware XP on W7


This gives the best of both worlds, a windows 7 PC with the ability to switch to XP in a virtual environment.


Or you could buy W7 ultimate which comes with XP mode.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another big THANK YOU to all who have responded. :clap:

Based om your info I've decided that I'll leave 7 installed but set up the VM software/tweak the settings so at least it looks like XP. One thing I definitely want to do though is to reinstall 7 to get rid of all the "extras" that came pre-installed on the computer. If this were XP I'd know what to do, but it isn't and I don't. So, I'm once again asking for help. How do I do a fresh install of windows 7?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Can someone please tell me how to make a backup of the operating system in Windows 7? It didn't come with a disk and apparently this is something I'm supposed to do myself, but how? I did something last night that required 4 DVDs(?) but how do I make sure that's what I've done?


I'm also concerned about this recovery partition... I'm thinking worst-case scenerio here, wherein I have to completely reinstall everything. With my XP computers when I had a bad virus I'd remove the hard drive, put it in an enclosure, save my pics & docs and reformat it completely. Then I'd put it back into the computer and reinstall the OS, which was easy because I had an installation disk. I want to be able to do the exact same thing with windows 7. Not to downgrade to XP but just in case. My fear with this (which has happened in the past) is what I'd do if the hard drive is corrupted or dies. I couldn't reinstall the OS -within- the OS, I had to get a new drive and reinstall from the disk.


Question 2

If I run the PC Decrapifier to get rid of the bloatware and then I save or backup the OS, will it reappear in a reinstall?

What if I decrapify the computer, get it to the state I want, and then make an image of the hard drive. Can I reinstall from this, just like a windows disk, minus all the extras?


Curious to hear your thoughts on this.....

Edited by sourmusic
Link to post
Share on other sites

Backups - It seems if you used 4 DVDs - I'd say you've made a back up that you will be able to use to reinstall - to a factory state -IE bloatware 'n' all. I would keep these discs just in case.


I would advise using Joes 'Decrapifier' suggestion, install everything you want and then create another image using Acronis or another backup utility, then if you have an issue you can reinstall from this. (No bloatware)


You will have the same issue with any OS if the hard drive fails - you will have to do a full re-install.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi nigsy-


Thanks for the feedback. I know that should the drive fail I'd need to completely reinstall (Tis a pain, for sure). I'm just saying that I've been told by friends and colleagues that "you already have a backup of windows - on your hard drive!" i.e. the i386 folder and the reinstall options that xp offers. So I was making the point that yes, that's doable but not if the hard drive goes bad. Hence my desire to have a copy of the os on a disk separate from the hd should I encounter this problem again.


You also confirmed what I hoped would be the case - that is, remove all the extras and get the os configured and then make an image of the drive which would allow for a reinstall minus the bloatware.


I ran the decrapifier but I have to say I was disappointed that it only found one thing to remove - the rest I had to do manually. I also had a lot of what looked like useable stuff until the "this is a free 30 day trial" notice popped up. That software was also deleted. But I believe that the machine is now "decrapified" as it were, so mission accomplished.


I'm also discovering tweaks and add-ons to customize 7 to look like XP, so I can find things more easily. I haven't begun installing any software so that will be the real test. Can anyone tell me about the xp emulator feature? I read that only some versions of 7 have this feature. My computer has home premium. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this version includes that feature.

Edited by sourmusic
Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad you are starting to tweak and get on with W7 - it will all be worth it!!


You're version does not have the emulator, it's in Ultimate and Professional. But as in my previous post, if you have a XP disc, follow the instructions in my link and set up XP in a virtual machine.


I run XP, Win2000 and Ubuntu in separate virtual machines all through W7 Home Prem'. Posted Image

Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course the version I have doesn't come with the xp emulator. :mrsgreen: I'll try the virtual machine trick you mentioned. I'm wondering though, can I move things, like copy and paste, between the two operating systems? Or do they basically ignore each other? Do they each need an antivirus installed, or will the one on 7 scan both?

Link to post
Share on other sites

You won't be able to copy and paste between systems from VM, nor access any shared folders. The only way I have found around this (And I would love somebody to offer a solution) is to either email myself smaller files from the VM machine or move larger files to external storage - USB stick or external hard drive.


Good question about firewalls etc, never really thought about it - If I get chance today I'll do some investigating - or maybe somebody else might post back.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always been able to use and set up file shares in virtual machines.


Both VMWare, and Suns/Oracle VirtualBox.


Bruce, without hijacking the thread as the OP may find it useful,


How did you get file sharing to work - I've tried everything right down to sharing the root of the virtual drive, setting up samba server in my Ubuntu VM machine, still cant get it to work?? Is it because the host machine is W7 - I have home group switched off and can network all the other PC's in the house Linux and XP.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never set up a virtual machine in windows. I have windows up inside Linux, and never had a problem, simply allowed file and printer sharing in windows, and it sees my Linux shares, and any other shares on my network. Of course windows likes to be in the same workgroup as the shares or it just doesn't like to see them.


If it won't see them then try using the IP address of the share.


I don't do anything special in the virtual machine, I just set up shares and they work.


Maybe you are looking at all the wrong things, just set up things as you normally would in the OS.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...