Installing XP On A Dell Inspiron 518   36 comments

Dell’s Inspiron 518 line only comes with Vista pre-installed.  Unlike some other machines you may order from Dell, they don’t give you two copies of the installation media, Vista is all that you get.

We don’t use Vista (and probably won’t for a while yet), so I needed to back-port a pair of these machines to XP.  Someone else out there might want to do it.  Here’s how (disclaimer: there is no modem or card reader, and only onboard video in these machines, you may have trouble with models that are configured otherwise):

First, you’ll need a USB key or some other removable media.  Boot the box into Vista, connect to the network, and go to the Realtek website and download the WinXP (WinServer 2003) Driver… file name  Next, go to the Intel website and download the XP drivers for the video chipset… file name win2k_xp14363.exe. The network and video drivers are the two drivers that you *must* get before you start the reinstall process, there are XP-compatible drivers on the Dell Resource CD that shipped with the computer for the Intel chipset and sound card, but the network and video card drivers on the Resource CD is Vista-only.

Next, you need a Windows XP Professional installation disk.  If you have the Volume Licensing Edition (like Caltech does), you don’t need to worry about licensing… you can install any version of Windows on a machine you want, provided you bought it with some Windows license on it.  If you don’t have access to the Volume Licensing Edition, you need (a) to have ordered your computer with either Vista Business or Vista Ultimate in order to have access to Microsoft’s “back-port” terms; and (b) a Windows XP installation disk (and key) of any type.  If you bought it with Vista Home, you’re stuck shelling out the $$ for the license.

Boot the box with the XP installation disk in the CD/DVD drive, destroy the existing partitions, and install XP like you normally would (if you don’t understand what I mean by “destroy the existing partitions”, you probably shouldn’t be attempting this until you do).

Boot into XP, connect your USB drive, and uncompress the file to your desktop.  Open up the Device Manager, browse to the network card, and choose update driver.  Don’t let the wizard search, choose “I will choose the driver”, and use the “Have Disk” option.  Browse to the uncompressed folder and select the .inf file.  The wizard will complain that the driver might not work, but this is Realtek’s driver and so far it seems to be fine in production, so you can probably safely ignore that 🙂

After the network is working, stick in the Dell Resource CD.  Cancel the autoplay, open up My Computer, and right-click on the CD/DVD drive and choose “Explore”.  In the “Zipfiles” directory, you’ll see a long list of executables, you want these ones:

  • R180772.EXE (audio drivers)
  • R180776.EXE (Intel chipset drivers)

Install those drivers, and you should have a working sound card, and USB hub.  Enjoy!

[edited to add]: There are XP drivers available for the Conextant modem that comes as an option to this machines.  If any visitors to the blog have a 518 with the media card reader, please let me know if you’ve found XP drivers for that as well, so I can add it to this post.  Already this post has had five Google search visitors looking for “Inspiron 518 XP drivers”…

[edited to add]: Thanks to Michael S., in the comments, the drivers for the all in one card reader driver for XP:


Posted September 25, 2008 by padraic2112 in hardware, PC, tech

36 responses to “Installing XP On A Dell Inspiron 518

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  1. This was a great solution thanks for providing.

  2. I still cannot get the internet to work on the XP side. When I try installing the network adapter drivers, the computer tells me that the .nif file does not have the information I need.

    Exactly what adapter’s driver should I be trying to install. Thanks.

  3. James:

    Are you certain that you have the Realtek network card?

  4. I downloaded the realtek file “Driver_XP_5702_0922” and got my network working. This is for a 8111C Nic card.

  5. Bill ->


    That should be the Vista drivers. Do the Vista drivers work under XP?

  6. Pingback: Installing Windows XP on a Dell Inspiron 1420 laptop « Pat’s Daily Grind

  7. The win2k_xp14363.exe will not install under XP but gives a message

    “Computer does not meet the minimum requirements for installing this software”

    It’s a brand new Dell 518 Intel Quad core…

    Does anyone have a suggestion?

  8. George -> You probably have a machine with an add-on video card, and you’re not using the on-board video chipset. Most likely you have an ATI video card in there. Check your order, and see if this is the case.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing.

  10. Pingback: Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 - Best Day « Pat’s Daily Grind

  11. Thank you so much for this post. This is EXACTLY what I was looking/hoping for when I took to the ‘net in search of help. I was not looking forward to finding all of them myself. Cheers!

  12. Thanks to padraic2112’s posting, I’ve successfully installed the ethernet and Intel chipset graphic drivers in Windows XP on my Dell Inspiron 518. By the way, the Intel file has been changed to win2k_xp1437.exe, and it works just as great. Now, I have this “SM Bus Controller” problem. Can I fix that? Many Thanks!

  13. The posting is very helpful. The driver file for the Intel chipset has been changed to win2k_xp1437.exe. After all the things listed in your posting have done, there still is one driver not installed correctly: the SM Bus Controller. This has to be fixed by downloading the “Intel® Chipset Software Installation Utility” from thsi website:*+XP+Professional&lang=eng&strOSs=44&submit=Go%21 and updating the driver using the inf file.

  14. Hi, I have the Dell Inspiron 518 and am attempting to get XP working on it. I have installed XP Pro but am having problems getting the network card working. When I look in the device manager it tells me the device is working properly. However, when I look under “other devices” I see some Yellow Exclamation marks that indicate that the Ethernet Controller, PCI Device, and Video Controller are not working properly. I have tried all the fixes mentioned above in this post to no avail. I did run the Intel Chipset program which fixed the SMBus Controller but I’m still having problems getting the other 3 devices working. Anybody have any ideas? I’ve had this pc for 3 months now and i’m almost ready to just go back to Vista. When I look up my Asset Tag number on the Dell website to see the hardware specs they have them all coded so you can’t actually tell what the hardware is and when I open the box I cannot see any names for the devices. Everything is on the Motherboard though…there are no added PCI cards for Network or Video. Please help if you can. Thanks

  15. I’m trying to install XP on an Inspiron 518 after Dell royally screwed me. The PC is brand new out of the box, and booted into some sort of strange red diagnostic screen that kept referencing “C:\MFGMEDIA”. Dell Tech support got me to the point where the Vista install DVD will start, but it won’t let me install onto the partition… keeps saying it’s “unsuitable”. What BS. So, I’m trying to install XP instead.

    I’m considering booting a Linux Live CD like Knoppix, which will probably be able to tell me what the devices really are…

    ‘cat /proc/pci’ or ‘lspci’ might work. Who knows.

  16. Unable to install network card!

    I’ve tried everything you said to try. I have a dell 518 (purchased 12/15/08)

    I downloaded the “driver_XP_5699_0828 and in the device manager tried to select the .inf file. When i select it my computer gives me the error “the specified location does not contain information about your hardware” and does not let me continue.

    the audio, chipset, and card reader drivers all work.
    I would REALLY like to be able to connect my dell to the internet. Help is greatly appreciated. Thanks for everything so far!

    • I had the same problem with my Dell 518 onboard network driver not working. I just stuck a generic pci network card in the one available slot, xp loaded the driver seamlessly. After getting online I ran Windows Update and it loaded a driver for the onboard network adapter. I removed the pci card and system works perfectly. Incidently I also discovered the video driver for the dell 530 works with the 518 system under xp.

  17. Followed original instructions, and when I ran into a problem I read each and every post. The answers are all here, and it is great that everyone is helping each other.

    Rita, from the response that George got, my question to you is do you have the original onboard network connection? Or did you install a new NIC?


  18. @ Laurie

    > The answers are all here, and it is great that everyone is
    > helping each other

    That’s what The Magic Internet Machine is supposed to be for, after all 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!

  19. Great info. Thanks for posting. I installed Windows XP Media Center and going to install the xp drivers. I could find any drivers for XP on dells website.

  20. it was the original network card. I couldn’t resolve the problem so i went out and bought a wirless usb adapter. its nice to get wireless anyway.

  21. “BillS said
    October 3, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    I downloaded the realtek file “Driver_XP_5702_0922″ and got my network working. This is for a 8111C Nic card.”

    THIS was the exact driver I needed! Thank you SO much!!!

  22. Hi All,

    R180772.EXE is no longer included on the Resource CD, however, if you do a search for Realtek ALC888 audio drivers for XP, you’ll find what you need on the realtek site. Worked great.

    Thanx to all who helped with this problem!

  23. Excellent and very useful post. On my side, I had the most trouble with the network installation. What finally made it for me was this one:


  24. if you have the 518 with the Core Duo 2 Quad – the network controller is a different beast!

    It is in fact – if you check the vendor ID and Device ID – (My Computer -> Properties -> Hardware -> Device Manager -> (select the (?) Ethernet
    – its is PCI\VEN_10EC&DEV_8168&SUBSYS_027D1028&REV_02
    – or Vendor ID 10EC (Realtek) and Device ID 8168 —-> RTL8168/8111

    Now I search google for this and “XP drivers” and after a lot of fruitless dead ends back to realtex,
    found this:
    and used that file successfully! (6ar101ww.exe)


    • Thanks so much been struggling all day with this. this one worked for me i have network again!@!! cant believe they don’t have the drivers for XP with the machine. i really tried to use Vista – it just doesn’t work. definitely a BETA software. will never install it or use it again. cant believe Dell shipped PCs with it on them. like buying an icemaker that doesnt make ice.

    • OMFG – thank you for this. I was close to heaving this POS out the window.

  25. This machine has also the wireless card. Does anyone know where I can get the driver

  26. So far, so good. The info here works great.

    It seems that my CPU fan is on high, pretty much all of the time. Is there a XP patch that will throttle it down?

  27. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have an Inspiron 518 with Vista, which I despise. I’ve been planning to tackle the downgrade to XP, but haven’t so far. This will be helpful.

  28. Thank you guy a lot for all the useful infomation. I recently downgraded from Vista to XP on my Inspiron 518. Since then i have been feeling the squeeze trying to find the xp drivers. I have a WLAN 1505 mini card. I wonder if anyone has information on finding the driver for that to be used with the XP operating systems.

    Thank You

  29. Haven’t tried this yet but someone may want to give it a try.

  30. For those who are having problems with some of the Ethernet drivers on your Inspiron 518 when installing Windows XP, I went to the Dell Inspiron 530 drivers and downloaded the Windows XP drivers and it worked.

    Hope this helps!

  31. Hey!
    i am building a new Inspiron 518 and installing XP on it. Will the 530 Bios and Chipset work on this?

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