My earlier post on how to roll-back-a-Dell-Inspiron-518-to-XP gets quite a few hits, so I’m adding this one for a different model. Unlike the previous post, this one concerns a laptop, and requires a few additional steps.
To perform this install, you will need:
- a USB floppy drive
- a USB flash drive
- an XP installation CD
- a working network connection
Boot your laptop into Vista, then launch the Control Panel, and make a note of the following devices if they’re different from what I have listed here:
- Video Device (in my case, this is an Intel Mobile 965, XP driver available here, file name R181739.exe)
- Intel Mobile Chipset (XP driver available here, file name R153997.exe)
- Ricoh Chipset – media card (XP driver available here, file name R141246.exe)
- Modem (in my case, this is a Conextant HDA D330 MDC V.92 Modem, XP driver available here, file name R167368.exe)
- Modem Utility – optional (XP version of the utility available here, for that Conextant modem, file name R148605.exe)
- Network Devices (in my case, this is a Broadcom Netlink Fast Ethernet, XP driver available here, file name R155246.exe)
- WIreless Devices (in my case, this is a Dell Wireless 1395 WLAN Mini-Card, XP driver available here, file name Dell_multi-device_A17_R174291.exe)
- Bluetooth Devices (in my case, this is a Dell Truemobile 355 Bluetooth, XP driver available here, file name R127314.exe) – this one is tricky, there’s no link to it on the Inspiron 1420 page.
- Audio Devices (in my case, a Sigmatel 92xx, XP driver available here, file name R171789.exe)
- Dell Touchpad (the default XP driver will work, but there is added functionality you can get with the Dell driver, XP driver available here, file name R165804.exe)
Then connect your laptop to the internet, and download all of those files, saving them to your USB flash drive. You’ll need those later. If you have devices other than these (there are a lot of different configurations for the 1420), you may need to find the XP drivers for those devices on the Dell Support website for the Inspiron 1420. Note, however, that if you miss something this is not a terribly big deal, as long as you get the wireless or wired network drivers correct, you can always connect to the Dell Support website at that link *after* you’ve installed XP and find the driver for your mystery device.
Then you connect your USB floppy drive (you’ll also need a floppy, btw), and download the XP mass storage driver for your laptop from the Dell Support website. Run the executable, and unpack the driver files to c:\temp\intel, and then copy the contents of that directory onto your floppy drive (iaahci.cat, iaahci.inf, iastor.cat, iastor.sys, you don’t need the text files). Then open your CD tray and insert your Windows XP installation CD. Close the CD tray, and reboot your laptop.
At the BIOS loading screen, hit “F12” to pull up the boot order – the default is to boot from the hard drive. Boot from the CD drive. In a few seconds you’ll see “Hit any key to boot from CD…”, hit the keyboard (not too hard), and then the XP installation will begin. At the bottom of the screen you’ll see “hit F6 to add a storage driver”, HIT F6. The XP installation will load a few drivers, and then ask you if you want to add a storage driver. Hit “S” to load the mass storage driver. This will read the iastor file(s) off of the floppy drive, and prompt you with four options for mass storage drivers, two desktop drivers and two mobile ones. Unless you’ve chosen two hard drives as an opion, you want the Mobile AHCI driver, not the RAID driver (you’ll get an error if you choose the RAID driver and you’ll need to start over).
Assuming you’ve gotten this far (it could fail if the floppy drive or disk is broken, and you’ll have to create a new floppy from inside Vista and start over), you’ll move on to the next step of the installation. Blow away all of the existing partitions, unless you want to keep the Dell Diagnostic partition (it’s the smallest Fat32 one). Then install XP following your normal XP installation guide (there’s a ton available on the Internet, I’m not going to write up a specific one here today). After the installation is complete boot into XP, connect your flash drive, and install the XP drivers for all the devices that you downloaded above… then enable the firewall (if your XP installation disk is pre-SP2), connect the XP laptop to the Internet, and download the four gajillion XP patches and update your laptop.