Downgrading to XP Pro from 7 Starter edition on Acer netbook


K

Kalkidas

OK, so I really can't stand Windows 7 starter edition, which came
preinstalled on my Acer netbook AOD257. And I don't feel like paying
85.00 for an upgrade to Home Premium just yet. So I wiped the hard drive
and installed a legal copy of XP pro. The installation seemed to go
perfectly, but after it finished, the computer just rebooted over and
over....

Could this be a hardware problem with the Acer? Is it possible that it's
physically (i.e. hardware) impossible to run XP on it?

Acer tech support is useless. They just repeat that it is not their
policy to recommend changing or downgrading the OEM operating system.
 
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N

no_one

Kalkidas said:
OK, so I really can't stand Windows 7 starter edition, which came
preinstalled on my Acer netbook AOD257. And I don't feel like paying
85.00 for an upgrade to Home Premium just yet. So I wiped the hard drive
and installed a legal copy of XP pro. The installation seemed to go
perfectly, but after it finished, the computer just rebooted over and
over....

Could this be a hardware problem with the Acer? Is it possible that it's
physically (i.e. hardware) impossible to run XP on it?

Acer tech support is useless. They just repeat that it is not their
policy to recommend changing or downgrading the OEM operating system.
Do yourself a favor and install Ubuntu Linux. Did this on the wife's
computer. She is as happy as a clam.
--
 
V

VanguardLH

Kalkidas said:
OK, so I really can't stand Windows 7 starter edition, which came
preinstalled on my Acer netbook AOD257. And I don't feel like paying
85.00 for an upgrade to Home Premium just yet. So I wiped the hard drive
and installed a legal copy of XP pro. The installation seemed to go
perfectly, but after it finished, the computer just rebooted over and
over....

Could this be a hardware problem with the Acer? Is it possible that it's
physically (i.e. hardware) impossible to run XP on it?

Acer tech support is useless. They just repeat that it is not their
policy to recommend changing or downgrading the OEM operating system.
Well, did you ever get around to installing the "Windows XP" DRIVERS for
your hardware? Did you check the notebook maker has Windows XP drivers?
Many pre-built computers have a minimal or base version of Windows that
they support. Acer might not have Windows XP for that model. Go to
their web site and check if they provide Windows XP drivers for that
particular model.
 
P

Paul

Kalkidas said:
OK, so I really can't stand Windows 7 starter edition, which came
preinstalled on my Acer netbook AOD257. And I don't feel like paying
85.00 for an upgrade to Home Premium just yet. So I wiped the hard drive
and installed a legal copy of XP pro. The installation seemed to go
perfectly, but after it finished, the computer just rebooted over and
over....

Could this be a hardware problem with the Acer? Is it possible that it's
physically (i.e. hardware) impossible to run XP on it?

Acer tech support is useless. They just repeat that it is not their
policy to recommend changing or downgrading the OEM operating system.
Are you getting an "Inaccessible Boot Volume" error ? Windows XP doesn't
have an AHCI driver, and if your disk interface is set that way, you
may need to press F6 and offer a driver for the disk interface.

Normally, when WinXP reboots over and over again, you'd want the
"Automatically Restart" option to be unticked. As then, the Blue
Screen Of Death (BSOD) information sits still on the screen and you can
write it down. In your situation, that may be hard to set up.

You can try starting in Safe Mode, via pressing F8, but I don't know
if that will escape a disk driver issue.

*******

The AOD257 uses dual core N570 and NM10 chipset with two SATA ports.
From the spec sheet for NM10:

"The SATA controller contains two modes of operation -
a legacy mode using I/O space, and an AHCI mode using
memory space".

On my Acer laptop, the *only* setting in the BIOS, is to enable
or disable AHCI. If such a setting is available, I would disable
AHCI and try WinXP again. The SATA ports would then run in legacy
mode, and any SATA disks would look like "they were on a ribbon
cable" to the OS.

If there is no AHCI disk operating mode setting to disable in the
BIOS, then an AHCI driver will have to be offered via pressing F6
during the install of WinXP. Some people solve this, by integrating
the AHCI Intel driver (a.k.a slipstreaming), using NLite from nliteos.com .
To slipstream drivers, they must be in a certain format, for that
to work.

"Integrate Drivers button..."

http://www.nliteos.com/guide/part1.html

This is an example of an AHCI driver, which with WinXP, would be
put on a floppy diskette while pressing F6 to enter this driver.

http://downloads.zotac.com/mediadrivers/mb/Intel_AHCI.zip

You'd copy the contents of the f6flpy32 folder to a diskette,
so that seven files are copied to the top level of the floppy
diskette, and TXTSETUP.OEM one of those files. Similarly, if
slipstreaming with NLite, it would likely involve those seven files.

Looking in the IaStor.inf, there are text strings. I can see this,
but I can't be absolutely sure about the VEN and DEV. I've been
unable to verify what values NM10 chip uses.

PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3B22&CC_0106.DeviceDesc = "Intel(R) PCH SATA AHCI Controller"

*******

If you had a Linux LiveCD to boot, and run dmesg or lspci -nn
or the like, you could verify the VEN (8086) and DEV (3B22 or
whatever), as a means of determining whether the computer
is in AHCI disk mode or in legacy mode. The AHCI drivers
aren't necessary if in legacy mode. But if the BIOS has no
setting to disable AHCI, then the contents of "f6flpy32"
folder may help.

I tried to verify, that the "3B22" value was correct, but
the Intel datasheet and spec_update documents, have no details
on the subject. Which is strange, and stupid.

Another example of an NM10 driver package, is on the Asus
site for their AT5NM10-I motherboard (with soldered CPU).
When you unzip this, you'll also find an "f6flpy32" folder
suitable for slipstreaming. The rest of the package is
likely useless.

http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/misc/utils/IMSM_V8901023.zip

The Asus motherboard, offers these settings.

"Configure SATA as [IDE, AHCI, Disabled]

Sets the configuration for the Serial ATA connectors supported
by the Southbridge chip.

SATA Run Mode Configuration [Compatible, Enhanced]
Sets the SATA run mode configuration.
"

A setting of "IDE", "Compatible", should work with an older OS.
But in the case of the Acer, with Insyde BIOS, it's likely to
just be "AHCI" [Enable, Disable] and Disable would be a good
choice for any OS.

Paul
 
K

Kalkidas

Are you getting an "Inaccessible Boot Volume" error ? Windows XP doesn't
have an AHCI driver, and if your disk interface is set that way, you
may need to press F6 and offer a driver for the disk interface.

Normally, when WinXP reboots over and over again, you'd want the
"Automatically Restart" option to be unticked. As then, the Blue
Screen Of Death (BSOD) information sits still on the screen and you can
write it down. In your situation, that may be hard to set up.
Yeah, I can't read the error message, it goes by too fast. So I should
be able to turn off auto restart in the BIOS???
You can try starting in Safe Mode, via pressing F8, but I don't know
if that will escape a disk driver issue.
Yeah, no matter what f8 option I choose, the computer always reboots.
*******

The AOD257 uses dual core N570 and NM10 chipset with two SATA ports.
From the spec sheet for NM10:

"The SATA controller contains two modes of operation -
a legacy mode using I/O space, and an AHCI mode using
memory space".
On my Acer laptop, the *only* setting in the BIOS, is to enable
or disable AHCI. If such a setting is available, I would disable
AHCI and try WinXP again. The SATA ports would then run in legacy
mode, and any SATA disks would look like "they were on a ribbon
cable" to the OS.
If there is no AHCI disk operating mode setting to disable in the
BIOS, then an AHCI driver will have to be offered via pressing F6
during the install of WinXP. Some people solve this, by integrating
the AHCI Intel driver (a.k.a slipstreaming), using NLite from nliteos.com .
To slipstream drivers, they must be in a certain format, for that
to work.

"Integrate Drivers button..."

http://www.nliteos.com/guide/part1.html

This is an example of an AHCI driver, which with WinXP, would be
put on a floppy diskette while pressing F6 to enter this driver.

http://downloads.zotac.com/mediadrivers/mb/Intel_AHCI.zip

You'd copy the contents of the f6flpy32 folder to a diskette,
so that seven files are copied to the top level of the floppy
diskette, and TXTSETUP.OEM one of those files. Similarly, if
slipstreaming with NLite, it would likely involve those seven files.

Looking in the IaStor.inf, there are text strings. I can see this,
but I can't be absolutely sure about the VEN and DEV. I've been
unable to verify what values NM10 chip uses.

PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3B22&CC_0106.DeviceDesc = "Intel(R) PCH SATA AHCI
Controller"

*******

If you had a Linux LiveCD to boot, and run dmesg or lspci -nn
or the like, you could verify the VEN (8086) and DEV (3B22 or
whatever), as a means of determining whether the computer
is in AHCI disk mode or in legacy mode. The AHCI drivers
aren't necessary if in legacy mode. But if the BIOS has no
setting to disable AHCI, then the contents of "f6flpy32"
folder may help.

I tried to verify, that the "3B22" value was correct, but
the Intel datasheet and spec_update documents, have no details
on the subject. Which is strange, and stupid.

Another example of an NM10 driver package, is on the Asus
site for their AT5NM10-I motherboard (with soldered CPU).
When you unzip this, you'll also find an "f6flpy32" folder
suitable for slipstreaming. The rest of the package is
likely useless.

http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/misc/utils/IMSM_V8901023.zip

The Asus motherboard, offers these settings.

"Configure SATA as [IDE, AHCI, Disabled]

Sets the configuration for the Serial ATA connectors supported
by the Southbridge chip.

SATA Run Mode Configuration [Compatible, Enhanced]
Sets the SATA run mode configuration.
"

A setting of "IDE", "Compatible", should work with an older OS.
But in the case of the Acer, with Insyde BIOS, it's likely to
just be "AHCI" [Enable, Disable] and Disable would be a good
choice for any OS.

Paul
Thanks. Your info is extremely helpful. I do have an AHCI/IDE option in
the BIOS. I'll try changing to IDE and reinstall.

Thanks again!
 
R

Rodney Pont

Thanks. Your info is extremely helpful. I do have an AHCI/IDE option in
the BIOS. I'll try changing to IDE and reinstall.
Don't you need to load a SATA driver from another disc to install XP on
a system with SATA drives?
 
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C

Char Jackson

Don't you need to load a SATA driver from another disc to install XP on
a system with SATA drives?
I thought SP3 (and maybe earlier? SP2?) includes SATA drivers.
 
P

Paul

Char said:
I thought SP3 (and maybe earlier? SP2?) includes SATA drivers.
I guess we'll find out soon, whether this works or not.

My SATA disk here, uses the built-in PCIIDE and PCIIDEX files.

Paul
 
G

Gordon

I thought SP3 (and maybe earlier? SP2?) includes SATA drivers.
Possibly - but that implies a slipstreamed disk. Vanilla XP certainly
does NOT have SATA drivers...
 
R

Rodney Pont

I thought SP3 (and maybe earlier? SP2?) includes SATA drivers.
I can't see that the OP said which service pack the XP installation is
using. I thought the neighbours was SP2, but might be SP1, and that
didn't include the SATA driver.
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

Yeah, I can't read the error message, it goes by too fast. So I should
be able to turn off auto restart in the BIOS???
Unfortunately, that's a Windows setting, which is why Paul suggested
trying to get into safe mode. Which you have reported fails :-(

The other suggestion, turn off AHCI in the BIOS, has worked for me
recently. Give it a try...
 
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R

Rodney Pont

Possibly - but that implies a slipstreamed disk. Vanilla XP certainly
does NOT have SATA drivers...
Microsoft did release some XP installations that had service packs
included. The one the neighbour has had a service pack included but
didn't have SATA drivers.
 
C

Char Jackson

I can't see that the OP said which service pack the XP installation is
using. I thought the neighbours was SP2, but might be SP1, and that
didn't include the SATA driver.
Oh well, I probably assumed that everyone was up to SP3 by now, but of
course that won't be true. Lots of people probably still have their
old media.

I just checked some of my old notes and I see where my copy of XP SP1
worked fine to install onto a SATA drive, but there's a slim chance
that I slipstreamed the drivers and don't remember doing so.
 
O

occam

Acer tech support is useless. They just repeat that it is not their
policy to recommend changing or downgrading the OEM operating system.
Yes. It is after a few encounters like yours that I developed the motto
"Never Acer Again!"

I believe the advice of VanguardLH is good - make sure you have the
correct XP drivers for your model. Assuming you can stop the endless
reboot cycle. Good luck.
 
C

charlie

Yes. It is after a few encounters like yours that I developed the motto
"Never Acer Again!"

I believe the advice of VanguardLH is good - make sure you have the
correct XP drivers for your model. Assuming you can stop the endless
reboot cycle. Good luck.
To the originator of thread - -
Before you do in the Acer, have you downloaded from Acer any available
drivers that are for XP? (And saved them on CD or DVD?) This can be
quite important with some model laptops. If no drivers are available,
you may have only limited functionality available in stand alone XP.

The suggestion mentioning Linux is sort of the tip of the iceberg, in
that Linux has boot related capabilities that can allow XP and 7, along
with Linux (naturally) to coexist on the same HD.
Not being a Linux Guru, (Far from it, actually!) I won't try to describe
the process.
 
K

Kalkidas

I guess we'll find out soon, whether this works or not.

My SATA disk here, uses the built-in PCIIDE and PCIIDEX files.

Paul
I took your advice and "nlited" the driver from the link you gave.
Worked like a charm. Thanks!
 
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P

Paul

Kalkidas said:
I took your advice and "nlited" the driver from the link you gave.
Worked like a charm. Thanks!
Those "f6 floppy" files, are good for AHCI or RAID mode. So if the
files were really necessary, then chances are the BIOS is set to
something like AHCI.

AHCI is a default, for new pre-built computers shipping with Windows 7.

But if you build your own computer, using a "motherboard in a box",
bought at retail, the default there is IDE. The difference is, the
pre-built computers are assuming Windows 7, which is equipped with
AHCI driver. The motherboard in the box, makes no assumption
about the OS, and the default mode of IDE, covers the widest range of
OSes possible (as IDE works with virtually everything, Win98
or Windows 7). That's not to say an ancient OS will run well,
but at least the install won't fail completely due to no disk
driver.

For example, I installed Win98SE on my Core2 system, and it can
only use one of the two cores of my dual core processor. But it
still felt pretty snappy. I installed it as a joke, just to prove
it could be done. The reason I could do it on that particular
system, is the chipset was from VIA, and VIA is good at legacy
support.

Paul
 
L

Leon Manfredi

To the originator of thread - -
Before you do in the Acer, have you downloaded from Acer any available
drivers that are for XP? (And saved them on CD or DVD?) This can be
quite important with some model laptops. If no drivers are available,
you may have only limited functionality available in stand alone XP.

The suggestion mentioning Linux is sort of the tip of the iceberg, in
that Linux has boot related capabilities that can allow XP and 7, along
with Linux (naturally) to coexist on the same HD.
Not being a Linux Guru, (Far from it, actually!) I won't try to describe
the process.
I have a (Vista) Acer Aspire wireless, which they declared was not upgradeable.
HA! HA! HA! ...... According to them.......................................
I now have an Acer Aspire Windows7.
 
C

charlie

I have a (Vista) Acer Aspire wireless, which they declared was not upgradeable.
HA! HA! HA! ...... According to them.......................................
I now have an Acer Aspire Windows7.
I know how that goes! Sitting in the other room is what was in 2006-7, a
very decent large screen laptop made by HP. It came with Vista, long
since upgraded to Vista Ultimate with a Microsoft "courtesy" (marketing)
copy, and has all the multimedia whistles and bells. Unfortunately, the
processor is a 1.2Ghz dual core, and a bit slow with Vista. Only some of
the drivers are available for Win XP, and
other problems abound in getting things to work with the XP era
multimedia package. Since HP recently replaced the battery gratis
(recall, etc.), I may have to break down and spend some time and effort
in seeing if Win 7, Linux, and XP can co-exist and be of some use.

These days, I generally use a netbook when a really portable computer is
needed.
 
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U

Unk

OK, so I really can't stand Windows 7 starter edition, which came
preinstalled on my Acer netbook AOD257. And I don't feel like paying
85.00 for an upgrade to Home Premium just yet. So I wiped the hard drive
and installed a legal copy of XP pro. The installation seemed to go
perfectly, but after it finished, the computer just rebooted over and
over....

Could this be a hardware problem with the Acer? Is it possible that it's
physically (i.e. hardware) impossible to run XP on it?

Acer tech support is useless. They just repeat that it is not their
policy to recommend changing or downgrading the OEM operating system.

Enter the BIOS and look for an AHCI mode. Change it to IDE or Compatible.
See if iWindows will start up. If not, reinstall with the new BIOS setting.

Unk
 

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