Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
If you can find a copy of XP, and if you can find drivers for the new hardware it's possible that it may work okay.
I would like to purchase one of the now very nominally priced Windows 8 Notebooks without a touch screen or a desktop, uninstall Windows 8, and then do a fresh install of Windows XP. Can this be done or does one have to remove the hard drive and install XP from a clean hard drive?
You don't have to remove the hard drive. There's no need for that. If you manage to install Windows XP on the machine, one of the things that you will do when you install it is overwrite everything on the hard drive. But I'll get to that in a minute.
There are several problems that you may end up running into if you elect to go down this path.
First is simply finding a copy of Windows XP. You won't find it on the shelves anymore and it's going to be difficult to get a new copy legally that you can in fact use for this purpose.
After XP has been installed, the other problem that you may run into is support for the hardware on these newer machines. Some of the hardware may require drivers that do not exist for Windows XP.
Now so far it hasn't been a huge problem, but it is a problem with newer machines. I expect it to get worse over time. Manufacturers are simply no longer supporting Windows XP, so they're not bothering to provide drivers for the hardware in those new machines.
The other issue of course is that XP support is ending in a little more than a year. You're not going to be able to get security updates past that point. Even if you do manage to install it successfully and use it after that point, your machine will become slowly more and more vulnerable to malware that is discovered after that point.
What I would really like to do is have you review an article that I wrote not long ago called "There's just no need to hate Windows 8." The issue is that Windows 8 is a fine operating system.
I really don't recommend you go down the path that you're going down. Windows 8 does not require a touch screen. It will work just fine without one. In fact it's working just fine on my machine here at home that has no touch screen using only a mouse and a keyboard like a traditional desktop or a laptop would. I honestly believe Windows 8 is something that you don't need to uninstall, you don't need to remove; it is perfectly viable as an operating system on a new machine. I recommend that.
If you go down this path, I want you to do one thing for me first. Humor me if you will. Before you install Windows XP from scratch, take a system image backup of the Windows 8 system. In other words, do a system image backup using your favorite backup program. I recommend Macrium Reflect. Take a complete image of that machine; save that somewhere.
I predict that at some point in the future, you're going to want to go to Windows 8 for one reason or another. By saving a system image today, that gives you the ability to revert to the Windows 8 installation that your machine actually came with.
After you've taken that system image then install your Windows XP if you've managed to find a copy. Make sure that it formats or erases the entire hard drive and installs Windows XP from scratch and then see how it goes. It's possible that it may work okay. It's just not something I recommend and not something I recommend for the long term.
Comments on this entry are closed.
If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.
If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.