|First off, I realize this topic could go in the XP section as well, but I felt that it would be better suited toward those who are hhaving trouble with Vista already installed on their laptops.|
After two years I finallly managed to get a clean copy of XP on my "Vista only" laptop, and want to share this information so that it may help others.
In December 2006 I purchased a Gateway P-6822 laptop. Like EVERY other laptop in the stores in my area, it only came with Vista. There was no "downgrade to XP" option, either. I chose this particular model because of preference.
Specs: 230 GB hard drive, 1 GB ram, Intel Core 2 Duo 1.5 GHz T5250.
I did a clean reinstall of the Vista disc that came with it, and used "Diagnostic Startup" with msconfig in order to get it to boot in reasonable time.
That wasn't good enough, so I tried installing XP and it would not detect the hard drive. Long story short, here is what I ended up doing to get it to work:
* If your hard drive is SATA (pretty much standard these days) you will need to search the manufacturer's site for a floppy disk SATA driver install package.
* You will need a USB floppy drive for installing XP.
* Copy the SATA drivers (should be denoted as "F6 drivers" or similar) to a blank disk.
* Have the USB drive connected. It should automatically map as A:\.
* Go into BIOS and find a setting for ACPI Compatible and set on.
* Now install XP normally from the CDROM, and when it says "press F6 to install third-party drivers", press F6 and follow the options to get the SATA drivers from the disk.
* Complete setup as normal.
That worked for me after much research and frustration. Now the laptop boots and is ready to use in 15 seconds instead of five minutes (no joking). I hope this info is helpful.