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Vista > XP Downgrade for Lenovo X200

Vista > XP Downgrade for Lenovo X200

Old Aug 24, 08, 10:30 am
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Vista > XP Downgrade for Lenovo X200

I'm getting a X200 soon with the intent of downgrading and was wondering:
1. is it possible to go back to vista once downgraded?
2. when I downgrade do are the drivers for the X200 included or do I need to go to lenovo site and download everything
3. wasn't not planning on purchasing the optional part that has the CD/DVD but wondering if I need that for the downgrade...I understand that windows is not loaded but on accompanying disks
3. anything else I need to know?
CVO 1K 2 Million is offline  
Old Aug 24, 08, 11:25 am
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Sorry, I haven't ordered a X200 but have purchased a lot of T61s with the XP downgrade.

1. Of course the hardware will support Vista but I don't know if you can get the install from Lenovo. I dislike Vista so much I've never researched it.

2. The laptop should arrive configured with XP with all the drivers loaded. Make sure to run XP update & Lenovo update to automatically make sure that you have the latest revs.

3. There is a tool on the laptop to burn a set of Reinstall disks which will bring your hard disk back to factory settings in case of a nasty crash. Make sure to run this as the first thing you do, it can be a lifesaver.

3. (again) Lenovo makes great quality laptops, the IBM attention to detail lives on after the sale & I'm sure you'll be very happy with the new toy.
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Old Aug 24, 08, 3:51 pm
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You will need to order a system with Vista Business or Ultimate to qualify for the XP downgrade. The system will be preloaded with Vista and shipped with XP downgrade discs.

1. Yes, you will be able to switch between XP and Vista any time you want. Make sure you create the Vista recovery discs first before loading XP.
2. The XP recovery discs will recreate the Lenovo preload image with the drivers and ThinkVantage applications integrated.
3. Yes, you will need an optical drive to load the XP recovery discs and to create the Vista recovery discs. A generic external optical drive will work just as well as the Media Slice.
3. Lenovo's page on downgrading to XP should cover the important steps in your downgrade process.
msb0b is offline  
Old Aug 24, 08, 5:00 pm
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I just did this with an X300. As above poster says, it comes with Vista installed and you have to get a separate CD with the XP downgrade. This is not an instll disk, rather replaces Vista on the hidden service partition and then you install from this. So any subsequent restore of the OS using Lenovo Rescue and Recovery will restore XP. To go back to Vista, you need to use a Vista CD, made with the Lenovo utility before you do the XP downgrade, to put Vista back into the hidden service partition and then do an install.

After the XP install, most drivers for my X300 worked fine, but not the WAN wireless. This was downloadable from the Lenovo website and worked fine.

I did run the machine with Vista for a while prior to making the decision to downgrade. Only one thing worked better in Vista than in XP and that was the WAN integration - Vista handles this natively, with XP one has to use either Access Connections or the software from the service provider.
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Old Aug 25, 08, 12:46 pm
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I've done numerous Vista to XP downgrades, but never with the Vista Ultimate downgrade route, instead I do an XP install from scratch. Here are the drivers I have dug up, let me know if you run into any problems so I can update this post if needed...
Chipset, this is a driver for a dell with the same chipset, so it should work
WiFi, let me know what you have and I can add it
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Old Mar 26, 10, 11:28 pm
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Some Additional Information & a Question

I'm trying to downgrade an X200 using my customer's XP (upgrade) installation CD (w/ valid PID), and the setup is failing after all the drivers have been loaded and Windows Setup is started, with a BSOD of a "07" error (I can give the specific BSOD error number later, but it refers to New Hardware, Viruses, hard drive erros, and suggests running "chkdsk /f".

The drive is malware and error free.

Hiren's (v. 10) boots to the "Mini XP" just fine, so the optical drive is working. Setup also fails in the same way when I attempt to install with an XP OEM disk (not an "upgrade" version).

At this point, my current theory is that the X200 (Thinkpad) is so hardware-specific and picky, that only the factory installation disk for XP will work, and that any attempt at installing XP from a standard Installation CD will fail. I hope I'm wrong, and am hoping someone can tell me that they've been able to successfully install a Vista-to-XP downgrade using a standard XP Installation disk, and how they were able to do it.

Another thought that I have is that, due to the way that the partitions of the hard drive were structured (there are three), the XP Installation disk may be trying to write it's installation files to one of the two Recovery Partitions, which are protected in some (possibly IBM-specific) way. So, I'm hoping to verify if this is true, and how to get around it. Perhaps it's possible to point to the middle partition (where Vista is currently installed) somehow, instead of a protected Recovery Partition. Why there are two, and what their different purposes are, I don't know.

Any help would be appreciated. I've enabled the ability to recieve e-mails from Members, so I would welcome a direct response. I'll also monitor this thread in case something helpful is posted here.
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Old Mar 26, 10, 11:30 pm
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I'm guessing you need the sata drivers, but that's a pure out my you know what guess.

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Old Mar 27, 10, 12:11 am
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What he said ^

The easy workaround is to go into BIOS and change SATA mode from AHCI to compatibility. That will at least get XP to boot. You can then install the Intel Matrix Storage Drivers and switch back to AHCI.

Lenovo's XP preload/recovery image already have the SATA AHCI drivers already integrated so you don't have to mess around with it. Windows Vista and 7 already has the necessary driver built-in.
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Old Mar 28, 10, 11:04 pm
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Good News !

Thanks to the both of you, you were exactly right. "Needing the Drivers" was something that I suspected, but I thought that the only way to get them was off the Lenovo Factory Restore Disk. But the next post mentioned
"AHCI" which is something that I have seen/recognized in various BIOS's, but never have had to deal with.

Turns out, that was the problem and the solution. I went to BIOS, flipped the switch from "AHCI" to "Compatibility" and instantly on the next reboot the Windows XP Professional (Upgrade) Installation Disk was working just fine, with no BSOD.

So thank you very much. You had the exact piece of information at the exact right time. I've got until 8:00 a.m. tomorrow to get this thing downgraded, updated, AV installed, optimized, etc..., so I've got to get to work. Thanks again.
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Old Mar 29, 10, 3:02 am
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The Next Step: Installing ALL the X200's Drivers

I'm going to post this for posterity, on the chance it helps someone else.

I just spend almost 4 hours getting the last 5 drivers installed. First thing, you'll do well to have a USB NIC to use to connect to the internet, until you can download and install the wireless network drivers.

I'll try to keep the rest in as sequential an order as I can remember. It's 3:35 a.m., please keep that in mind...

1) I installed SP3 Standalone, a copy of which I keep on my USB thumbdrive. Good move. Dramatically reduces the number of updates you need to wade through at Windows Update.

2) Same-same for IE8. Also good to do this before going to Windows Update, but after the wireless interent (or wired, I suppose) is up and running, so that you can update IE8, and not have IE6 and all it's updates, IE7, etc... cluttering up the Update window.

3) At Lenovo's Driver download page. Someone somewhere mentioned something about installing some kind of automatic software to find, download and install all the drivers automatically. I read this after spending 3 hours trying to find them all one at a time. Unfortunately, the message I got from Lenovo when trying to run this tool was that it was only designed to be used with Windows 7. Might have been a glitch, and might work for someone else. Figured I'd mention it early so that if it does work, someone doesn't waste time.

4) The Lenovo Drivers are REAL tricky. You'd like to think it's just a matter of downloading them, saving them, launching then and the installation is automatic. No, no, NO ! Don't think that way. That thinking cost me 2 hours or more. After running the installation/set-up/whatever file, you then MUST read the "read me" text file on the Lenovo driver page, because many of the drivers have a different installation method. A few want to be run from a specific directory (usually where the set-up file dumps them), and one wants to be run from the Start > Run > cmd (command line). Many of the "set-up" files do not actually set-up and/or "install" anything (although some do), they just copy the data from where you launch the set-up to a "C:\drivers\win\..." directory. You have to go there to actually launch the REAL installation executable. Oh yeah, and at least one of the drivers needs to be installed by working backwards from Device Manager>Update Driver>Install from specific location and then aim the wizard at the driver directory that you find in the "read me" file.

MAIN POINT: Read ALL the "read me" files. It's goofy stupid, tedious and time consuming, but the only alternative is to miss this point, and keep hunting for drivers when their installation files are buried on your hard drive already.

5) Oh yeah. Do the CHIPSET drivers. Duh. They solve I think 2 of the last oddball hardwares missing drivers. SM Bus Controller, I think. I should note here that ALL the drivers I needed came from the Lenovo Driver page. Other forum's posts have people saying they can't find them there, and they are going to other sites, and using drivers for other models of laptops, etc... Completely unnecessary; everything I needed was on the Lenovo site.

6) Install the Proset utility, but don't install any of the software; it's not needed. Just the driver is good enough. Windows Wireless Configuration can run the wireless just fine; you don't need to different softwares installed, both trying to do the exact same thing. Plus, Proset is junk and WZC gives massages with happy endings.

7) Lessee, what else... Oh yeah, don't forget to install the software for the tablet stylus pen. I downloaded software directly from Waccom (Google "x200 stylus") and I think it's different than the software you would (probably, I was in a hurry and was tired of looking at Lenovo) find at Lenovo. The Waccom software was quick, and seemed more functional than what I think I remember was on the Vista O/S. Not my computer so I can't say for certain. The Wacomm software has a "calibrate" function if the stylus is 3/4" from where the mouse is (mine was). "Calibrate" fixed that in about 30 seconds.

8) Umm... Well I went crazy and used Easeus Partition Manager (used to be Magic, I think) and made an 11 Gbyte partition after all the installing, updating, drivering and fiddling was over. It's on a 320 Gbyte drive, so there's plenty of room. Then, I used XXClone to make a clone of the newly-installed Operating System with all the drivers and stuff, and all the TIME invested into it, so that if the O/S ever goes bad for whatever reason (infection, etc...) the clone can be used to re-create the newly-completed installation, so I won't have to do all of that stuff all over again. Won't help if the HD goes bad, but now that I've discovered HDD Regnerator v 1.71, HD's don't go bad for me anymore. (little hint, there....)

9) Activate your O/S before you clone it.

10) I like MyDefrag's "Monthly" data compaction and reordering script. Knocks at least 5 seconds off the boot time, and on really fragmented machines it cuts the boot time in half.

11) Disable all the crap services, like "Help & Support", "Error Reporting", "Fast User Switching", "Secondary Logon", "NetBIOS / IP Helper", "Remote Registry" and few others. Google "Black Viper" for a couple more. Switching Auto Connection Manager from Manual to Automatic will speed up the boot process by about 2 seconds, I think because it doesn't have to "manually" decide it has a wireless card and think about whether or not to make a connection (equals delay).

12) AVG is tried-and-true, but I'm learning to like Avira lately. Avast! is horrible for too many reasons to list here. No scanner being one of them.

I'm subscribed to this thread, and should recieve e-mails if anyone needs some free advice that is worth what you pay for it.
Jonny Quick is offline  
Old Mar 29, 10, 11:21 am
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On a side note, I'm partial to Microsoft Security Essentials for antivirus these days. It's light and fast, and is reviewed as very effective. I've switched all of my computers to it.
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Old Mar 29, 10, 12:30 pm
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Originally Posted by Jonny Quick View Post
3) At Lenovo's Driver download page. Someone somewhere mentioned something about installing some kind of automatic software to find, download and install all the drivers automatically. I read this after spending 3 hours trying to find them all one at a time. Unfortunately, the message I got from Lenovo when trying to run this tool was that it was only designed to be used with Windows 7. Might have been a glitch, and might work for someone else.
ThinkVantage System Update is the name. You probably downloaded version 4, which is for Windows 7 only. XP and Vista users should use version 3.14. It finds, downloads and installs all the drivers that you need. It's a great time saver.

WRT driver installation order, I always install the chipset driver first before the rest like display, network, etc. The chipset is the interconnect between CPU and all the devices, and the CPU needs to know how to access the interconnect before it can access the devices.

Originally Posted by Jonny Quick View Post
7) Lessee, what else... Oh yeah, don't forget to install the software for the tablet stylus pen.
If your XP were tablet edition, the stylus would be supported out of the box. XP Tablet Edition was one level above Pro, and available only through OEM channels. If you run XP Pro with tablet driver, you won't have the Tablet Input Panel (TIP) and handwriting recognition. Nevertheless, the Wacom Penabled driver vastly improves on the built-in driver.

After using Vista and Win7 which include vast improvements to tablet functionalities, the XP Tablet feels primitive. I no longer use XP tablet and strongly advise against downgrade to XP tablet edition for this reason alone.
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