Downgrading from Vista to XP on Gateway MX8711 and similar Vista-only laptops without a floppy drive.

OK, I was going to finish this off at some point, but I’ve gotten busy with other projects, so I figure I might as well post what I have so far…  If there’s any interest, let me know and I’ll see if I have any more useful insight… 

 Step 1: Get this stuff:

Step 2: Make a new XP CD:

  • Install nlite
  • Create a new XP CD, and slipstream the Intel drivers you downloaded in Step 1 using nlite.

Step 3: Install Windows XP:

  • Installation should be straightforward if you have created your new XP CD properly.  The hard drive will be detected without having to press F6, and the network card and video card will work out of the box.

Step 4: Find the other Gateway drivers (I managed to find a laptop in the 64xx series that had most of the same internals, and XP drivers…):

  • Audio: (SigmaTel Unknown @ Intel 82801GBM ICH7-M – High Definition Audio Controller [B-0])
  • Wireless: (Broadcom 802.11g Network Adapter) 
  • XP Update for Modem to work properly:
  • Modem: (Motorola SM56 Data Fax Modem)
  • Touchpad:
  • Card Reader:
18 replies
  1. Alex
    Alex says:

    Thanks to everyone on this page. I just did a Vista to XP SP3 downgrade on an MX8711 and following the advice here (including the stuff further down the page) I was able to get *everything* on the machine running perfectly.

    By the way to start off I used the System Rescue CD that boots into Linux and formats the hard drive. For some reason – go figure 😉 – that version of Linux doesn’t have any trouble whatsoever with the SATA controller in an MX8711.

    After that I installed XP and then updated these drivers in the following order from a USB drive. I made restore points after every driver install and had to do a rollback or 2 but in the end everything was perfect and the machine works great with the full resolution and all the whimwhams and doodads. So it can be done. Thanks for all the help.

    Reply
    • Alex
      Alex says:

      And no I didn’t slipstream anything, I used a standard XP SP3 Professional install disk. When the machine boots the USB port works so you can use a thumb dongle to get the rest of the drivers installed.

      I did the Network Card first. Once that was working I let XP download the 97 bazillion updates from MS Update.

      Then I did Intel Video, Broadcom Wireless, then Modem, and finally Sound last. My touchpad worked fine, and my client doesn’t give a fig about the card reader so I didn’t even bother to try it. It probably works, the USB ports do.

      Reply
  2. Jim Hartley
    Jim Hartley says:

    Hi Jeremy,
    I have the MX8711 and am trying to downgrade to XP. I can not locate the SATA files to include in nLite. I am not sure if I have the correct versions. Can you provide links to known files that do work? Thank you very much…

    Frustrated Vista owner…

    Jim Hartley

    Reply
  3. Ronald
    Ronald says:

    HOORAY!!!
    I’ve done it!
    DING DONG, THE WICKED VISTA IS DEAD!!!
    XP is installed on the the MX8711, and isworking like a champ.

    Jeremy, you got me thinking about the files issue,so I just kept going back and forth between Gateway, Intel and Schrock. There was no corruption, just files improperly downloaded/installed.
    I was also straining to find the XP file for the video driver from Gateway. They are there, but GW seems to want to hide them from us novices, and doesn’t say specifically that they’ll work on the MX8711—as they do with most of their driver downloads.
    When I bought the thing last year, GW techs told me that my “support” privileges DID NOT include giving me advice about drivers for XP. “We’re not allowed to,” was the usual response. They were always trying to convince me not to give up on Vista.
    Anyhoo…thanks again for your invaluable help. I’ll be sticking close from now on, and sharing with you guys whatever my experiences turn out to be.

    Light’n’Love,
    Ronald James E.

    P.S., the MX8710 sound drivers worked perfectly.

    Reply
  4. Jeremy
    Jeremy says:

    Ronald:

    Off the top of my head: You may have a hardware problem, or your source XP CD may be bad (is it a copy?), or whatever you slipstreamed into your nLite CD may have been corrupted to start with. I recently slipstreamed XP SP3 into a new image, and only found out after the install that the file I downloaded to slipstream was corrupt and had to start over.

    Once you get past the part of the install where you choose the hard drive to install windows on, it should at least boot into windows reliably. Then you just have to install the audio, wireless, etc… to make everything work.

    You could also try slipstreaming only the SATA drivers to start, then install the network and video after the initial windows setup. (You do have a USB key, don’t you?)

    Reply
  5. Ronald
    Ronald says:

    Been trying to figure out this Vista (demon seed) downgrade issue since I got the MX8711 a year ago. Most folks just said, “Toss it out a window.”
    I’ve started and stopped, given up, cussed, and (most assuredly) cursed Bill Gates.
    I recently discovered nLite and bought a new Hitachi Travelstar hard drive. The other night I got XP through “Finalizing Installation/Saving Settings,” but it won’t re-boot from hard drive correctly. I get the blue screen which says “Windows has encountered a problem…blah, blah, blah,” and the thing shuts down and tries to re-boot.
    Any ideas?
    At least the info from this page has given me more hope, and, I’ll try again.
    Thanks a million!
    Sincerely,
    Ronald E.

    Reply
  6. Jon
    Jon says:

    tried the sound drivers or MX8710 and the 64xx series and neither seemed to work (D00664-001-001).

    everything else seems to have gone smoothly though I’m still missing drivers for [Mass Storage Controller] and [SM Bus Controller].

    Any updates?

    Thanks

    Reply
  7. Jon
    Jon says:

    Nice work… I’ve been frustrated looking around for drivers just before I moved so I haven’t had much time to experiment with XP.

    Had it on at one point but was missing so many drivers, it was causing issues, so I ended up reverting back to Vista (much to my dismay)!

    Will check back later on, just wanted to say good work 🙂

    Reply

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