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My Laptop came with Vista installed on it, I decided to try out W7RC, now I want to install XP on it. Step by step, how do I do this? As far as I can see my hdd is not partitioned so I may need to format. If I right click C: I get a message "you cannot format this volume". I am yet to try it in dos format. What truly amazes me is the total lack of information I have been able to discover on the subject through Google considering W7 apparently requires a clean install from W7RC and thousands who installed W7RC will want to get rid of it when it restarts their PC every hour.

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You cannot format the partition when you are actively using it.

First, you will need to obtain a copy of Windows XP on CD. When booting, enter your BIOS configuration (F2 for me, will vary from board to board but a quick message will pop up and tell you). Once in there, you will use the arrow keys to navigate through the menus and you want to find a page that allows you to change the boot sequence. Make sure your CD/DVD drive is first on the list, then save changes and exit. Instructions on how to navigate and save should be visible in the BIOS configuration.

Then pop your CD in and reboot. You will be prompted to press a key to boot from CD. Do so, then follow all on-screen instructions. One of the first few steps is to format the drive. It is very straightforward. Delete partitions you don't need then use the entire volume. Choose quick format as NTFS then be sure to read everything on the screen before proceeding.

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Thanks John T for all your help – Bill Fraser Nov 16 '09 at 1:58

Step by step:

  1. Put in the XP CD
  2. Restart the computer and make sure you boot from CD
  3. Navigate through the prompts and choose to do a new install
  4. When you see the screen that lists all the partitions, if you no longer need any of them, just choose delete on them all.
  5. on the unpartitioned space, click enter and choose to quick format as NTFS
  6. Install and follow the rest of the prompts.

If you are seeing a special partition that will not allow you to format it, it is probably the recovery partition that comes with many new laptops. You have to either leave this alone or use something such as Gparted which will allow you to remove it.

As for Windows 7, having a hard time understanding exactly what you are saying but Windows 7 RTM (the edition available in shops) is final and providing you have full edition, you can install on your machine from scratch without any problems - as for restarting the pc every hour, the RC is simply a pre-release trial - the full edition does not do this.

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Thanks Wil and John T for your feedback. I will do as suggested. Wil I new about RC being a trial but just wanted a look at it and as it was a new laptop with only a few programs installed and maybe I misunderstood Google headings that seemed to suggest that RC needed to be formatted before W7 RTM could be installed. Anyway Thanks again for all your help. – Bill Fraser Nov 16 '09 at 1:18
You understodd, but I didn't exactly what you wrote - you do need to format as you cannot upgrade from RC to RTM... Basically you can only upgrade from Vista to 7 (talking about actual installable paths, not upgrade edition...). – William Hilsum Nov 16 '09 at 1:26
No worries, Mate (yep, I'm an aussie) – Bill Fraser Nov 16 '09 at 1:54

the easy way out: wipe the disk thoroughly (delete ALL existing partitions) with DBAN or Active@Killdisk and then run Windows XP Setup.

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Thanks, Molly. I will take a look at these. – Bill Fraser Nov 16 '09 at 1:52

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