- 1). Place your Windows XP disk into your computer's CD drive and restart your computer. This will reboot your computer and make it read from the disk in your CD Drive. Press any key to begin the boot from your CD.
If you do not see this option appear, you will have to set your BIOS boot options so the computer attempts to boot from your CD drive first. This is done by going to your BIOS setup screen when your PC starts (either by pressing "Delete" or "F8"--the button differs based on motherboard manufacturer), finding the "Boot Order" option (which will either be labeled as a standalone option or under "Basic CMOS Options" and swapping the device order so that your CD Drive comes on before your hard drive). For more detailed information, see the Resources provided at the bottom of this page.
- 2). Press the "R" key when prompted by the Windows Setup utility. This will open the Recovery Console, where you will be asked to choose a type of Windows installation. Type the number "1" and press Enter.
- 3). Type the following commands into the Recovery Console command prompt, being sure to press the Enter key after each line.
ren windows winvista
Once you press "Enter" after typing "exit" your computer will restart and boot into your Windows XP install.
- 4). Allow Windows XP to finish its installation. The install will begin automatically and, apart from needing to swap out disks (depending on your build of Windows XP), is completely automated. Once the install is complete, allow Windows XP to restart and boot into the operating system.
- 5). Move the documents and other files from Windows Vista you wish to keep from the new "Winvista" folder located in your primary hard drive (normally the C:\ drive). Once you have moved the files you wish to keep, as well as reinstalled Windows XP versions of your device drivers, delete the "Winvista" folder to restore the hard drive space the unused OS took up.
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