Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Windows Vista can have trouble running some applications. There are several options for running Windows XP, from a re-install to virtual machines.
I recently purchased a computer. It came with Vista premium. The programs I bought this computer for will not work with Vista. It keeps telling me there are compatibility issues and to got to the Microsoft website. I found no support there. I guess what I'd like to know is if it is possible to remove the hard drive with Vista and install my last hard drive with XP? All the programs I need will work fine on XP. My old processor just wasn't fast enough. I know the question is kind of vague and might not be answerable with the lack of info I have given. My old computer was a put together by a friend who gave it to me when he was done with it. The new one is a HP a1700n. Or, is there a way to remove Vista and install XP on this one. In order for me to use Vista, I will have to replace most of the programs I work with. That is a little too spendy. Any suggestion would help.
I haven't taken the Vista plunge just yet (though Vista Ultimate is sitting on a shelf behind me as I type), but your complaint is one that I've been hearing from time to time: Vista doesn't run everything just yet. Normally it's a problem with hardware drivers, but I understand some applications may have difficulty as well.
So what's the best way to "revert" to Windows XP?
There are a couple of options, but none of them are truly seamless.
Unfortunately the idea that you have - just swapping out the hard drive - will probably not work. Windows XP on the old hard drive is configured for all the hardware on that old machine. Booting it in the new machine will at best confuse the heck out of Windows as nearly all the hardware is changed out from underneath it at once. At worst Windows XP simply won't boot.
You could certainly remove Vista and install XP. Just grab a Windows XP install CD, boot from it and proceed to install Windows XP from scratch. When it asks you to choose a partition, choose the one with Vista on it, and have it reformat the disk. Vista will be gone, XP will be in its place, and you can proceed to set up the applications you need. Be sure to keep the Windows Vista installation DVD that should have come with the new machine for use someday in the future.
If the hard disk is big enough, you might consider a dual-boot option allowing you to boot your system into either Vista or XP. It's been a while since I've played with dual boot, but it's a viable option if you want to keep Vista around for other things.
The approach I would take, however, is similar, but significantly more flexible.
I would use a virtual machine.
Virtual machines are, in essence, a virtual "PC in a window". When you start a virtual PC, for example, the first thing you see is a virtual BIOS screen as it starts up and tries to boot. I use a virtual machine to run Ubuntu Linux in a window on my Windows XP laptop:
I also use a virtual machine to run Windows XP on my MacBook Pro running OS X. It's pretty amazing technology.
So you can probably guess where I'm headed. I would leave Windows Vista installed, and create a separate virtual machine that would run Windows XP as a "guest operating system" in a window within Vista, where Vista is the "host operating system". That installation of XP could then run all of the applications that you care about.
It's the best of both worlds, in my opinion.
The virtual machine technology I'm using is Parallels Workstation for Windows. While I've not run Parallels under Windows Vista, they do list it as supported, as both the host operating system, and as the "guest" - meaning I should be able to try Vista in a virtual machine within Windows XP as well.
Parallels does an excellent job of mapping almost all the hardware through to the guest operating system, with the most notable exception of 3D graphics acceleration, so no gaming, but most everything else is available and operates at near full speed.
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