So I really can't just erase Vista?

My Dell Inspiron 1420 came pre-installed with Vista. I thought, “Yeah, I know people say it sucks, but I’ll just try it, and if it really does suck, I’ll have my old XP disks to install.”

Well, I long ago erased Vista (or so I thought) and installed Ubuntu. Now, I want to dual boot with XP and Ubuntu. But, when I tried to install XP, the installer crashes. After doing some searches, I’ve found that this has something to do with Vista and the BIOS and not being able to completely delete Vista (which I don’t even pretend to fully understand).

The message I get from the BSOD is:

All of the solutions I’ve found for this have to do with me doing something or other in Vista to make it so I can install XP, though I can never fully erase Vista. My problem is that (1) it sucks that Vista will always be taking up space on my harddrive and (2) if I have to do something in Vista, that means I’ll have to reinstall Vista just so that I can install XP.

Does anyone have any recommendations? (other than buying a Mac, which I will do when I have the money)

Call me crazy, but can’t you just format the drive (or even go crazy and use a program to write all zeroes over it) and effectively remove anything on a hard disk? How would Vista circumvent this?

A little research seems to indicate though that some newer machines don’t have XP drivers available. Might be time to check with Dell.

Assuming you deleted partitions when you installed ubuntu, no you do not have any tattered scraps of Vista remaining, what you have is most likely a device without an xp compatible driver. I have come across 2 instances of this now however neither stopped the xp installer.

Are you sure you created a proper second partition for the xp install, one of the causes of this error is a lack of hard drive space.

Your SATA hard drive is probably set to AHCI (or Native) mode in the BIOS. XP doesn’t have the driver built-in for that, you either need to change the SATA mode in the BIOS to ATA/IDE or hit F6 during XP install and use a floppy with the chipset driver.

It has nothing to do with Vista at all.

You will probably need to fully format your HD, then reinstall. It sounds to me that when you installed Ubuntu, you didn’t format the drive, just replaced the installer with a new one. When you tried to install XP, it looked at the old installed, saw Vista installed on there, and then failed.

So I’d recommend:

  1. Formatting the drive, then installing dual-boot software; might mean you have to install XP first, then install Ubuntu, or
  2. Format and install Ubuntu then install XP as planned.

But Vista doesn’t write to the firmware or BIOS, so it’s not like it’s the hardware saying you must run Vista.

Or try what Yoyodyne said - it might be the HD is not recognized by XP, but that should be just a question of downloading the right XP HD device drivers.

yoyodyne, this is something I’ve read a lot of people saying, but when I go to the BIOS it just turns out to be a w.a.s.t.e. of time because I don’t see exactly what it is that I need to change. I do certainly see a place to change from SATA to ATA, but I still get the same crash when I change it.

Gomiboy, this sound like what I’m going to do. If the installer didn’t ask me to reformat, I didn’t do it. How does one go about reformatting a harddrive?

Also, I have an external harddrive with copious amounts of space, so how could I make the best use of this in the process?

The XP installer should have the option to reformat the drive. Otherwise, the Ubuntu installer should be.

As for the BIOS settings, the Drive settings are going to be in different places on different BIOSes so it’s difficult to say where to go exactly.

This results in a no hard drive detected IME, not a stop 7e.

It is inadvisable to have external drives plugged in during an xp install. You can end up with non C: windows boot drives all too easily.

The XP installer didn’t even get far enough to give me options. When I put it in and start the computer, it runs through some setup stuff for about three minutes then gives me the error message. Never at any point do I choose anything. That being the case, it seems I would have to reformat before running the installation somehow.

Yup, that happened to me. Had to re-install XP.

Ew…messy. All I can think of is do you ever see something like “press f6 to install other/third party drivers” along the bottom edge of the screen. If so you may be able to download controller/sata drivers to a floppy and go from there.

If not…go back to ubuntu or vista…this may be outside the scope of a DIY fix.

Yup. might not be an easy fix.

If you’ve another PC, you can create an XP boot disc, but that’s not all that easy either.

Couldn’t the OP just get a format utility (downloaded from another computer) then run that? Wipe the drive clean and re-install Ubuntu and/or XP.
What you’ll be doing is starting over as if you just purchased the drive from the store with zero data on it.
You could purchase a drive (maybe a smaller cheaper one) from the store and use it as your primary drive, then once you’ve got your OS installed to your liking install the drive you have now and use that for your data and backup.

Do you have a floppy drive for it? If so, download this, extract it, and copy the extracted files to a floppy. Hit F6 when it says to at the bottom of the XP install screen, and select the driver from the floppy.

If you don’t have a floppy, you can create a new XP install disc with the drivers already available on the CD (slipstreamed). The easiest way to do that is by using nLite.

Just a crazy question… has this computer ever had Windows XP successfully loaded on it? Because unless it had, there would be no reason whatsoever to assume that a PC shipped in 2008 and loaded with Vista would necessarily work with XP, which is 7 years old. Just because Ubuntu and Vista work on it doesn’t mean XP will.

Windows installation bootstraps itself from the CD. Leftovers on the hard drive aren’t going to affect it. The likely situation here is that XP won’t run on this computer.

I bought a notebook in February 2007 which came with Vista Home Basic.

As part of a recent Extension class at the local university, I was given installation media for XP, included with the tuition.

But I couldn’t install it. I got the error message which says that the current version of Windows is higher than the one I was trying to install. I took it to the Geek Squad, and they couldn’t do it either.

I resigned myself to Vista. But I was able to solve my immediate problems by upgrading to Vista Business. My problems were related to running SQL Server 2005 and accessing databases from C# programs. Also, I doubled the RAM from .5G to 1G. Having done all that runs pretty well now.

Try to find a program to move the data and resize the partitions without erasing them. Make the unix partition smaller and create a windows partition and attempt to install windows to it.

My comp. doesn’t have a floppy drive… only USB’s, SD card slot, and DVD.

Oh…that looks like what I’ll have to try…