Yes, another techie post I'm afraid. I thought I'd share some of the more common questions.
First of all, can you get XP for a Vista only PC? The long answer is yes. One of the biggest problems is getting Sata drives to work on XP, but a bit of slipstreaming of the Intel Sata drivers into the XP installation with Nlite, life is a lot easier. Once you have XP installed, 99% of the time the graphics won't work, or the sound, or the network drivers (including those pesky laptops with wireless). I use Everest to find out what hardware is in the system, but as newer devices appear, you'll find that Everest can't tell you what they are. This is very often the case with the above devices and also modems, of which a dozen or so new chipsets appear each week. The way to tackle this is to identify the raw Plug and Play (Plug and Pray) ID number, and then find out the device online. This is done by going to System Properties (Windows Key and Break is a really nifty shortcut for this), Device Manager, find your device and then right click and go to properties.
Click on the Details tab at the top, and you'll see something similar to the window on the left. Take the 4 digit hex number after the VEN and the 4 digit hex number after the DEV and google them with a colon in the middle. In this instance google 10EC:8167 and you will see that it is a Realtek 8169/8110 Network adapter. Windows already knew this because the name is at the top, but in unknown devices this also works. Once you know the device, just copy and paste the name into another google windows, and include driver download like this and you'll usually see something like softpedia come up with a link to the driver.
If you can't find it, because you're installing XP onto some crappy Compaq/HP laptop with obscure unheard of hardware inside, then you might be able to use the driver from the company website, but this is a last resort. This also happens with Dell quite often.
Installing Service Pack 3 is a real must nowadays with XP, but one of the more common things that happens is Internet Explorer 6 gets cattled. The way to fix this is to either install firefox (something that will have my father spitting feathers), or get IE7. The problem with this is people don't like it's minimalist layout, and want to go back to IE6 but with it working. It turns out, you can without much curfuffle. In the windows folder is another folder called IE7 (normally c:\windows\ie7) and there is an executable in there called iexplore.exe. Create a shortcut to your desktop, and there you have IE7, but looks like IE6.
Now, if only I can make XP look like windows 3.11... Oh hang on, Start, run, progman. Bugger...
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