Article ID : S1F0337 / Last Modified : 10/22/2007

Perform a Clean Install of the Microsoft® Windows® XP Operating System

Applicable Products and Categories of This Article

This document explains the Sony recommended procedure for downgrading a VAIO® computer from the Microsoft® Windows Vista® operating system to the Windows® XP operating system by performing a "Clean Install" of a retail version of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system.

When downgrading from a computer with the Microsoft® Windows Vista® operating system, you must follow the "Clean Install" process for installing the Windows XP operating system. You will need to install a full version of the Windows XP operating system. Sony does not support the upgrade option.

IMPORTANT: Use a version of the Windows XP operating system that includes Service Pack 2 or higher.

WARNING!!: The Clean Install process requires that the hard drive be formatted and reimaged before installing the Windows XP operating system. This will result in the loss of all files, software programs and data stored on the hard drive.

Please print and read all information carefully before performing the Clean Install process.

What is Supported

Drivers and software for operating systems other than the one that originally came with the computer are provided for customer convenience. Sony provides support only for the installation and operation of these drivers and software, not for installation of the operating system itself. Support for the retail version of the Windows XP operating system is provided by Microsoft.

Functionality Changes

IMPORTANT: Because your computer is optimized for use with the Windows Vista operating system, some functionality will be lost under the Windows XP operating system.

Some hardware and software intended for use with Windows Vista operating system may not function correctly with the Windows XP operating system. This includes, but is not limited to, the following items:

  • Hot Keys - Some function keys may not work correctly.
  • Special Buttons
  • VAIO Power Management - Since the camera driver is not Windows XP WHQL certified, the battery life may be shorter than is normal.
  • Battery Care - Since the camera driver is not Windows XP WHQL certified, the battery life may be shorter than is normal.
  • Battery Checker - Since the camera driver is not Windows XP WHQL certified, the battery life may be shorter than is normal.
  • Bluetooth® - BroadCom® Bluetooth® software does not work.
  • Fingerprint Sensor
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
  • Wireless Switch Setting
  • Intel® Graphics - It may be necessary to install the Windows XP driver more than once.
  • Wireless WAN

Some hardware devices may present a yellow exclamation point in Windows Device Manager which indicates that the driver for the device is installed but did not load successfully. If this occurs, check to see if there is an applicable Windows XP driver available for your computer model.

Things to Know and Do Before You Perform the Clean Install Process   Back to Top 

  • WARNING!!: The Clean Install process requires that the hard drive be formatted and reimaged. This will result in the loss of all files, software programs and data stored on the hard drive.
  • Drivers for the Windows XP Operating System:
    The Clean Install process requires drivers available on this web site. It is strongly recommended to download the necessary Windows XP compatible drivers listed for your computer model and to burn them to CDs or DVDs, BEFORE beginning the Clean Install process.
  • Create a Recovery Media Kit:
    If you have not already done so, it is strongly recommended that you create a Recovery Media Kit (create your recovery DVDs) before installing the Windows XP operating system. The Recovery Media Kit will enable you to restore your computer operating system and software to the original factory shipped configuration if you chose to do so at some future date.
  • Backup Important Information:
    It is highly recommended to backup any all important files and data and any software that did not originally ship with the system, as well as write down any important configuration information such as Internet Connection settings, Network configuration settings, application serial numbers, registration information, and software updates for applications that did not come pre-installed on the computer. You may need this information or updates to reinstall the software after installing Windows XP operating system.
  • Third-Party (non-Sony) Devices:
    Device drivers and other software required by third-party hardware devices. Please visit each product manufacturer's support Web site for Windows XP compatibility information and for any updated drivers or software.
  • Non-original Operating Systems:
    If another operating system or boot management software has been installed on the computer, please remove it entirely before installing Windows XP operating system. It may also be necessary to remove any non-DOS (Windows) partitions present on the computer. For assistance removing these partitions or non-Sony software, please refer to the product documentation or contact the software manufacturer.

Hardware/Software Requirements   Back to Top 

  • A VAIO computer for which Windows XP drivers are provided by Sony
  • The computer must be plugged in and running from AC power
  • An active Internet connection
  • A full version retail copy of the Windows XP operating system (with Service Pack 2 or higher)
  • The Product Key which is included with the retail version of Windows XP (also known as the CD Key or Install Key)
  • Disconnect all external hardware devices and do not reconnect them until the Clean Install process is complete

Depending on the computer model, you may also need:

  • A USB Floppy Drive
  • A blank Floppy Disk


Section I. Create an Intel® SATA/RAID Driver Disc   Back to Top 

The SATA/RAID driver enables the operating system to detect your hard drive.

  • If you are not sure whether or not your computer shipped with a SATA drive or included a RAID configuration, and therefore are not sure if you will need the SATA/RAID driver, consult the Marketing Specifications posted for your computer model.
  • If you purchased a Configure-To-Order model computer, the Bill Of Materials listed on the computer purchase receipt will include information as to whether or not your computer shipped with a SATA drive or included a RAID configuration.

If your computer does not require a SATA/RAID driver, please skip to Section II.

If your computer does require a SATA/RAID driver, please follow these steps:

  1. To ensure that no other program interferes with the installation, save all work and close all other programs. The Taskbar should be clear of applications before proceeding.
  2. Ensure the USB Floppy Disk Drive is connected to the computer.
  3. Insert the blank Floppy Disc into the USB Floppy Disk Drive.
  4. If you have not already done so, download the SATA/RAID driver to a temporary or download directory.
    IMPORTANT: Make note of the directory where the SATA/RAID driver was saved.
  5. Open the directory where the SATA/RAID driver was saved and double-click the SATA/RAID driver file icon to begin the installation process.
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to extract the driver files to the Floppy Disk (A:\) Drive.
  7. At the WinZip Self-Extractor prompt, click Unzip.
    Note: By default the utility unzips all files to the blank Floppy Disc in the USB Floppy Disk Drive.
  8. At the 6 file(s) unzipped successfully prompt, click OK, and then click Close.

The Intel SATA/RAID Driver files are now ready for use in performing an installation of the Windows XP operating system.

Section II. Download the Windows XP drivers for Your PC and Burn Them to a CD/DVD  Back to Top 

The Sony recommended procedure for downgrading to the Windows XP Operating System requires drivers available on this web site. You must download the files and burn (copy) them to a CD/DVD BEFORE beginning the Clean Install process.

  • IMPORTANT: You must complete the Clean Install Process BEFORE Installing these files.
  • Download only the Windows XP drivers listed for your computer model. Installing drivers intended for other computer models may generate unexpected results or the system may be rendered inoperable.

  • Burn the downloaded drivers to a CD or DVD. Keep the CD/DVD handy because you will need it to install these drivers after the Clean Install process is completed.
  • The Windows XP drivers provided by Sony will vary by model. Not all files are required or available for all models.
  • Driver List:

    Unless noted otherwise, install the Video, Audio, Sony Shared Library and Notebook Control Device driver BEFORE installing the Notebook Utilities and other drivers. Please install the files in the order presented below.

    • Video:
      The Video driver will enable the user to obtain improved display and resolution quality.
    • Audio:
      The Audio driver will enable the notebook speakers to have sound.
    • Sony Shared Library (Located under System Components):
      The Sony Shared Library allows other Sony applications (Notebook Utilities) to function correctly.
    • Notebook Control Device (Located under Notebook Control and Utilities):
      This program installs essential system components that enable Sony utilities (Notebook Utilities) to run properly.
    • Sony Notebook Utilities (Located under Notebook Control and Utilities):
      The Notebook Utilities driver will install the VAIO software component that may allow some functionality for the FUNCTION key.
      Note: There may be some limitation of the function keys. Please read the disclaimer.
    • Chipset (Located under Motherboard):
      The Chipset driver allows the motherboard to communicate with other hardware devices.
    • Modem:
      Allows the user to use a dial-up connection.
    • Network:
      The Network driver will enable connection to other devices (E.G. Routers, Notebooks, Modem).
    • Wireless LAN:
      This will enable Wireless connection with other devices (E.G. Routers, Notebooks).
    • Bluetooth® (Located under Bluetooth® Wireless):
      The Bluetooth® driver will enable the user to use the Bluetooth® to connect to other devices.
    • Camera:
      The Camera Driver will allow the user to use the Camera that is built-in to the computer.
    • Memory Stick:
      The Memory Stick Driver will allow the user to use memory cards (E.G. SD Card).
    • Memory Card Reader/Writer:
      The Memory Card Reader/Writer will enable the user to use external memory cards (E.G. SD/MMC)

Section III. Perform a Clean Install of the Windows XP operating system   Back to Top 

It is strongly recommend to read through the Microsoft Getting Started guide carefully before beginning the installation of the software.

  • WARNING!!: During the installation process, do not start any application or restart the computer unless directed to do so by these instructions or by either the Windows XP documentation or an on-screen message. Failure to do so may generate unexpected results and potentially an inoperable system.
  • The Windows XP installation discs include the option to format the hard disk drive before installing Windows XP operating system. Please follow the onscreen prompts to format the hard disk drive.

Please follow these steps to perform the Clean Install process:

  1. If you will be installing the SATA/RAID drivers, attach the Floppy Disk drive to the computer.
  2. Turn on the computer.
  3. Insert the Windows XP Disk into the CD/DVD drive.
  4. Restart the computer.
  5. When the words Press any key to Boot from CD appear, press any key on the keyboard.
  6. If the computer requires a SATA/Raid driver follow steps A-F below. However, if the computer does not require SATA/Raid driver, please skip to step 7.
    1. In the Windows Setup screen (the second screen after installation starts), at the Press F6 if you need to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver message (bottom of the screen), press the F6 key.
    2. When the next screen appears, press the S key to specify an additional device.
    3. Insert the floppy disk containing the SATA/RAID drivers into the Floppy Disk drive.
    4. From the provided list, select the correct Intel® ICH Driver.
      Notes:
      • The proper SATA/RAID driver will be displayed under the Hard Drive tab on the Sony eSupport USA page specific for your model.
      • There are normally more than 8 SATA/RAID drivers on the list. If your driver is not on the list, please use the UP and DOWN arrow keys to locate the proper SATA/RAID driver.
    5. The SATA/RAID drivers will now load.
    6. At the Setup will load support for the following mass storage device(s) prompt, press the Enter key to continue.
      IMPORTANT: If a Blue Screen occurs after you press the Enter key, then the incorrect SATA/RAID driver was selected. If this occurs, repeat Steps a through d and select the correct SATA/RAID driver.
  7. The installation program will now check your hardware, install default-set drivers, and load files necessary for installation. When the Welcome to Setup screen appears, Press the ENTER key to begin the installation process.
  8. Read the License Agreement, and then, if you agree to its terms, press the F8 key to so indicate.
    Note: If a prompt appears asking if you want to repair your computer, press the ESC key to avoid the Repair (ESC=Do not Repair).
  9. On the next screen there will be a summary of the available partitions on the installed hard drives. At this point, you should see only one entry, Un-partitioned Space highlighted in gray. Press C on your keyboard to begin creating partitions for the drive.
    IMPORTANT: If you do not see Un-partition Space, please perform steps A-E:
    1. Use the UP and DOWN arrow keys to highlight the C: drive.
    2. Press the D key to delete the partition (D=Delete Partition)
    3. At the The Partition you tried to delete is a system partition screen, press the Enter key.
    4. At the You asked Setup to delete the partition screen, press the L key to delete the partition.
    5. Continue to the next step.
  10. Enter the maximum size in megabytes for the new partition.
  11. The system will create your new partition, and you will now be at the partition summary screen once again. Select your new partition, usually labeled C: Partition 1 [Raw] and press the ENTER key.
  12. Select either Format the Partition using the NTFS File System or Format the Partition using the FAT File System, and then press the ENTER key.

    IMPORTANT: NTFS is the recommended method, supporting a larger amount of disk space per partition than FAT, and including security features at the file system level. NTFS also includes system level compression. If your partition is larger than 32 Gigabytes, you must choose NTFS. However, with a partition less than 32 Gigabytes, you can choose FAT, and convert to NTFS later should you desire. Be aware that NTFS cannot be converted back to FAT.

    Note: It is strongly recommended to avoid the Quick Format option, as this skips an important process that checks the hard drive for errors or bad sectors. This scan is what consumes the majority of the time taken when performing a full format. If there are errors on a disk at the physical level, it's best to catch them now rather than later.
  13. The system will now format the partition. The length of time this process requires depends on the speed and size of the drive, and the type of file system selected earlier. In most cases, the larger the partition, the longer the process will take.
  14. Windows will now start copying files from the installation disc and prompt you to reboot the computer when the process is completed. Press the ENTER key when prompted to restart the computer, otherwise it will do so automatically after 15 seconds.
  15. When the computer restarts, do not press the ENTER key to boot from the disc this time. This will allow the computer to boot from the hard drive.
  16. The setup program will display various marketing information to you as it installs and configures itself to your system. The estimated time remaining is displayed in the lower left corner.
    Note: It is normal for the screen to flicker, turn on and off, or resize during this process.
  17. A dialog window will appear, asking you to choose your Regional settings. Select appropriate settings native to your area. Click the Next button when that is completed.
  18. Enter in your Name and Organization then click the Next button.
  19. When prompted, enter the Product Key which is included with your retail version of Windows XP (also known as the CD Key or Install Key), and then click the Next button.
    IMPORTANT: You will not be able to complete the process without a valid Product Key. If you do not have your Product Key, please contact Microsoft for assistance.
  20. At the Computer Name and Administrator Password prompt, you have an option to create a password for the Administrator Account or leave it blank. When finished, click the Next button.
  21. Select the appropriate time zone and ensure that the date and time are correct, then click the Next button.
  22. At the "Typical Settings" screen, unless you have a specialized access device or protocol required, leave the selection as Network Setup.
  23. At the "Workgroup or Computer Domain" screen, choose whether your computer is in a workgroup or on a domain, and then click the Next button.
  24. Setup will continue to install other devices and peripherals connected to your machine, give you marketing and capability information, then restart automatically.
  25. Remove the CD from the drive.
  26. Upon restart, when prompted that Windows will be changing your visual settings to improve quality, click the Yes button.
  27. At the "Welcome to Microsoft Windows" screen, click the Next button.
  28. At the "Help Protect your PC" screen, choose either Help protect my PC by turning on Automatic Updates now or Not right now, and then click the Next button.
    IMPORTANT: Sony strongly recommends that you choose Help protect my PC by turning on Automatic Updates now.
  29. At the "Who will use this computer" screen, create a User Name, and then click the Next button.
    • Notes:
    • The Computer Name must be different for each computer connected to the network.
    • The Computer Name must be alphanumeric, may not exceed 15 characters, and may not include the following characters: ! # $ @ % & ' ) . ( - ^ _ { }
    • The Computer Name must begin with a letter of the alphabet.
  30. At the "Thank you" screen, click the Finish button.
  31. The Clean Install Process for the Windows XP operating system is now completed. Please continue with Section IV below.

Section IV. Install the Windows XP drivers   Back to Top 

Now that the Clean Install process has finished you can install the Windows XP drivers that you downloaded and burned to CD/DVD as instructed in Section II.

Unless noted otherwise in the individual driver installation instructions, please install the Video, Audio, Sony Shared Library and Notebook Control Device driver BEFORE installing the Notebook Utilities and other drivers. It is recommended that you install the files in the order presented in Section II above.

Once the drivers are installed, the downgrade process for the Windows XP operating system is complete.