This seems to be an increasing problem with many businesses and individuals: new computers are needed, but so is Windows XP. For home, people don’t like change. It is why Linux in the home is still a long way off (with people being aware of it). In business, XP is needed by many software packages. XP has been around for a long time. I think I have personally been running it since 2003.
Along came Vista: I was an early adopter myself to learn the ins and outs, but have switched back to XP due to my own software needs.
Before anyone makes the smart remark that one could build their own XP machine or order from __________ with XP installed: I know. I believe that the problem stems from the price of DDR2 memory. A computer running XP with service pack 3 runs pretty nice with 1GB of memory and runs really nicely with 2GB. XP doesn’t do a whole lot with more than 3GB of memory. On top of this is the fact that people have somehow been sold on the idea that they need more memory. I have no idea why your e-mail reading, solitaire playing grandmother needs 4GB of RAM in her new $599 Gateway laptop with HDMI out. OK, there it is: 99% of people don’t need the power in the new PCs but the other less than 1% do. That 1% is also the group that wants the latest and greatest technology because “one day they might want to edit a home movie on their PC”.
So now that we have established that lots of people need XP for their existing software and that most people have no need for anything more we need to figure out what to do.
First off, you need an XP license. You can buy a new one from someplace like newegg or tigerdirect or you can probably find a way to use the XP license from that 5 year old computer you are replacing. I always suggest XP Professional. Its better.
Now, if you bought more of a business line machine from a reputable name this shouldn’t be very difficult. Their biggest customers’ IT support teams have voiced to them the need for XP support. The problem seems to be in most off the shelf consumer level PCs. Brands like HP, Compaq, eMachines, Gateway and Sony to name a few. These are the computers with all of the “fancy new parts” that the sales guys tell you about.
If you’re still shopping, check with the manufacturer to see if they have XP drivers before you buy.
If you have already purchased the thing and are now stuck with an XP installation that has no sound, ugly video, no network connection, and has a really loud fan: google it from a working computer. Find your model number and search for “XP drivers”. Chances are that someone else has done it before and posted about it. My particular case (Compaq CQ60) required me to make a custom XP install disk with SATA drivers slipstreamed into it (future blog post about that).
This gathering of drivers took me a few hours to find them all and get them working, but now the computer is running XP quite nicely!