How to Downgrade Windows 7 to Windows XP

“My computer came with Windows 7 and I want to put Windows XP on it instead. Is there any way I can downgrade Windows 7 to Windows XP easily?”

While there are a number of solutions claiming to offer easy ways to rollback Windows 7 to Windows XP, the easiest way I’ve found to accomplish this is to simply delete the Windows 7 partition and install Windows XP in it’s place. There are a few steps required, but nothing that even the most novice of users shouldn’t be able to handle. While I’m providing the steps here, I don’t recommend downgrading Windows 7 to Windows XP because there are many things about Windows 7 that make computing easier and are more secure.

Following these steps will get you from Windows 7 to Windows XP without too much hassle. You may want to visit the support site for your computer manufacturer prior to starting to be sure you have all the drivers you need for XP.

1) Backup your data. If you need to keep any data from your Windows 7 install, be sure to back it up. You will need some kind of third party backup software for this task. SyncBack is a good free backup program for this task.

2) Boot from CD. Insert your Windows XP disk in the CD drive on your computer and reboot. Make sure you choose to boot from CD as the computer boots up.

3) Delete Win 7 Partition. Once Windows XP setup loads, accept the license agreement and continue installing XP. When you get to the screen asking which partition to install XP on, Choose the one with Windows 7 and press D to delete the partition. You then need to press Enter and then L to confirm that you want to delete all data and software on the partition.

4) Create Win XP Partition. Select the unpartitioned space that previously contained Windows 7. This space may already be selected for you automatically. Press C to create a partition. Specify the desired partition size, or press Enter to accept the default size, which is the maximum possible partition. Choose NTFS for the partition format before continuing.

5) Complete the XP Install. Follow the remaining steps to complete the Windows XP install. It is very likely you will need some of those drivers you downloaded before all your hardware works properly.

6) Install Apps and Restore Data. With Windows XP now installed, complete your downgrade from Windows 7 to Windows XP by installing any applications you need. Don’t forget to recover the data you backed up so that you can use it in Windows XP.