Monday, June 21, 2010

Install Windows XP x86 on DELL Alienware m11x

The challenge was: install Windows XP 32bit on the Alienware m11x notebook, delivered with preinstalled Win7 x64. Do not  ask, why – just accept it :-)

There are some TODOs to get it running properly:

TODO: Copy WinXP setup file to USB Stick, make the stick bootable.

Well, the notebook has no DVD/CD ROM, and I had no external drive, so copied the setup files onto the USB stick.

TODO: Backup existing Win7 installation for fallback purposes, check if the backup can be restored properly.

Backup’ed the existing Win7 installation using built-in Win7 backup to network share.

TODO: Check and adjust the target partition.

Since the note book comes with 3 partitions on the HDD (internal hidden service partition, hidden recovery partition and >400 GB partition for OS and data), you may want to split the work partition to two or more (OS + data, to be able to restore only OS without backup and restore also your data).

Keep in mind to format the partition with NTFS.

TODO: Boot the computer and go to BIOS setup (use F2), change AHCI HDD mode to ATA.

Otherwise, you fail to setup Windows XP: the error “Cannot find temporary files” will be shown.

TODO: Boot from stick you configured above, press F12 on start and select USB drive.

Funny, I tried different sticks: some can boot the notebook using “USB drive” boot option, some only “Removal device” option…

TODO: Start winnt.exe from [USBDRIVELETTER:]\[PATHTO WINDOWSSETUPFILES]\I386 folder.

This must work. Enjoy it!

The only problem I still have: there are really few Windows XP drivers for this notebook available: video, sound, mouse/touchpad, keyboard are running, I’m still missing:

  • WLAN
  • NIC
  • WebCam
  • CardReader
  • 1394

Any ideas?

13 comments:

Patrik said...

Hi M!ke!
It’s been a long time since we had a beer. ;)
I saw your problem and though: You think too much as a microsofter.  If you not yet have solved the problem with drivers. This is what I would do.
Since all hardware are build from same type of (Minimum) core (Ex. A chair has a seat, and 4-legs. From that they make varies types with back support arm support, soft seat and so on.). Try this, go to Dell support search for; Dell laptop, Latitude E4200 (Or other) set op. to XP. Compare the hardware from this one with your. It is a big chance; you will find an old one build with same core that will work on your pc.
Best regards to you and your family and have a nice day.
Hope to see you guys soon again 
We in Gothenburg

winmike said...

Hi Patrik, nice to hear from you.
Unfortunately there are indeed no drivers for the box mentioned above. Even if I find some, they are unsupported, so it isn't a good idea.
We just switched back to Win7.
Regards to your home-work-team :-)

BROG said...

Do you try with drivergenious?

winmike said...

yes, I did, but with no success

andwan0 said...

Hi Mike

Thanks for your blog. Did you use any storage drivers to enable Windows XP "see" the HD? This was a common problem since Windows XP is so old and doesn't have drivers for new SATA drives right?

If so, where did you get the drivers from? The only drivers I can find are Win7 64-bit version :S

winmike said...

No, the WinXP setup did recognize the disks

andwan0 said...

Hi Mike, did you manage to find your drivers?

Assuming your M11x is revision 1, try googling for:

Atheros AR8132 LAN 10/100
nVidia Geforce GT335M
Realtek ALC665

postfix each with "Windows XP Driver".

There are results, but haven't tried them out yet.

winmike said...

@andwan: no, as said - we just moved to Win7

Unknown said...

Can "Driver Genius" solve this problem if I switched from Windows 7 to XP,for all the driver that is missing?

winmike said...

Unfortunately, "Driver Genius" won't help

jarva said...

i also use m11 and want to install xp also but after i read your blog so I will cancel it. anyone success?

winmike said...

Well, we decied to install the win7 x64 since we haven't any advance with xp anymore

Anonymous said...

Try Windows XP ICE Advanced v.6 or 7, with internal driver SATA/AHCI. I just to try now! Good luck!