This tutorial is written for every computer user who is currently experiencing some kind of remorse after upgrading their precious Windows XP system to the buggy Windows Vista. Read below to find out how you can downgrade from Windows Vista to Windows XP without formatting your hard drive and without losing any files.

The first step that you are going to have to take to get your XP machine up and running, is of course to ensure that you have a copy of your Windows Vista administrator password written down and placed conveniently next to your PC.


If you are unsure of how to find/change your administrator password in Windows Vista then follow the tutorial below to find it in 2 minutes:


Once you have found and recorded your “administrator” password for Windows Vista, you can proceed to the next step.


The first step towards installing Windows XP over the top of Windows vista, without formatting your harddrive, is to open your computer’s disc tray and insert an original “Windows XP Install” disc. Once you have inserted the disc, you must close the disc tray and then restart your computer.


Once your computer restarts you will notice that the first prompt you will see is a “Press any key to boot from CD” prompt. When you see this prompt hit the “Enter” key, this will begin loading the boot files from the Windows XP disc.

Note: If you are not presented with the “Press any key to boot from CD” prompt, even though the disc is in the drive and you have tried resetting the computer once again, then you will need to configure your BIOS to boot from CD.


Assuming that you have been given the “Press any key to boot from CD” prompt and have hit the “Enter” key, you will need to wait for the first page to display. On the first page you will be prompted to enter a letter corresponding to your desired option, in this case you will need to hit the “R” key. Hitting the “R” key on the first screen, once setup has loaded, will log your computer into the “Windows XP Recovery Console”, which we are going to use to fool the computer into thinking it is not running an operating system at all; this allows you to downgrade to Windows XP.


Once you have hit the “R” key and entered the “Recovery Console”, you must type the following commands in the order shown below:



cd \

ren windows winvista



After you have entered the above commands into the “Recovery Console” your computer will restart. If your PC does not restart then hold the power button down for 5-10 seconds, or until your PC turns off.


Once your computer has restarted, you must keep the “Windows XP Install” CD in the disc tray and then boot from the CD just as you did before. This time though, you must install Windows XP just as you usually would by following the installation prompts.

Well done, you have just saved yourself a whole lot of hassle and a whole lot of money trying to find a computer technician to do that for you, also you now have something to show off to all of your geeky friends! Enjoy your newfound Windows XP installation knowledge.