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Buying a new computer and running WinXP on it - is it possible?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:53
English to French
+ ...
Aug 24, 2008

I have been thinking about replacing my trusted work computer for a few months now, and an issue seems to emerge all over the place: there are no more XP-preloaded new computers for sale anywhere. This causes a huge problem for me. I use Office XP, which, to my knowledge, is the most recent entirely stable version of the Office suite, and am therefore not willing to upgrade to anything more recent for the moment (until it is proven that a more recent, stable and, most importantly, omnicompatible alternative exists). The same goes for Trados - seeing how the latest version simply doesn't cut it and is a total disaster, I will not upgrade for a while. However, if I want to keep using my current software, I can't use Vista either.

So, here's the big question. What alternatives are available to me if I want to buy a new computer (the point of which is to get a computer with a better performance scorecard in order to accommodate more software and more processes) but want to keep using XP?

Alternatively, I may also be interested in buying a Mac - anything but a Vista-preloaded system. However, in that case, how do I get my current software to work on a Mac? That should be just as big a challenge as finding a new computer which is able to run XP.

Here are some of the possibilities I am wondering about:
1. Buying a new computer with Vista pre-loaded and then "doing something" to it to downgrade to XP.
2. Buying a new computer that is old enough that it still comes with XP (I'm thinking of buying leftovers from before Vista).
3. Buying a new computer with Vista preloaded and installing XP parallel to Vista (dual-boot?) so I can run XP as though it was the only OS on my system.
4. Buying a Mac and "doing something" to it so it dual-boots with XP, making it possible to use my current software without having to upgrade.

Please, tell me which of the above solutions is most likely to succeed. Also, please add any solutions I wasn't able to come up with on my own.

Most importantly, please comment profusely on the above solutions (and later others' suggestions) and tell me how they can be achieved. Where should I look for leftover PCs before Vista? Where should I look for people who are good enough at fiddling with computers to make it possible to downgrade to XP or at least have a computer dual-boot XP and Vista? What solutions are available to have a Mac run XP?

I appreciate any suggestion you may have. This is hell!

P.S.: Please, do not question my decision to stick with XP. I respect those who are happy with Vista, so respect my decision as well. Please, do however ask me for more details on the reasons why I'm holding on to XP if you feel that I haven't done a good job at explaining it.


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Selcuk Akyuz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 09:53
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
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I use Windows XP but ... Aug 24, 2008

My laptop is 2-years old, and hope to use it for some years.

Other colleagues or computer experts may know the details; I remember many people complaining that finding XP drivers for new computers was not so easy.


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:53
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
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How much money do you have? Aug 25, 2008

Hi Viktoria,
It is absurd, but it comes down to this question.
I just looked up Dell's website because in June, when I was computer shopping, I saw a few laptops with XP as an option. Now, my hubby says they (Microsoft) cut off that program as of July 31 or so.

However, searching on Dell's website I found this:

http://www.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx/winxp_inspndt?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

So, these computers come with XP pro preloaded, and you get Vista in the box should you decide to go over to the dark side... (Or even darker side...) But these are not cheap computers, hence the title...

Now, another option is to get a naked PC. (That is, without any OS). Dell calls it N-series. (Although I am pretty sure N stands for No OS, not naked...) Then, you would need to find a copy of XP to install. That should be still on sale.

It is possible that you cannot find completely naked hardware in the computer brand you like, but then most of the time you can get it with Linux and again, get a copy of XP in the box, pop in the CD and party time!

Device drivers may be an issue though (probably not with the Dell computers that come with XP preloaded, see above link), but for translation work I don't think you would need very fancy things...

So, do some research, it does not seem hopeless.

I hope this helps a bit.
Katalin


[Edited at 2008-08-25 01:11]


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xxxUSER0059  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 09:53
English to Finnish
+ ...
Yes, of course it should be possible Aug 25, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

[H]ow do I get my current software to work on a Mac? That should be just as big a challenge as finding a new computer which is able to run XP.


Why is the latter a challenge?

Since you already own a copy of Microsoft® Windows® XP, you should be able to install it onto any compatible computer — insert the installation disc, restart the PC, and follow the instructions given by the installer. Prepare to install some device drivers manually.

Your computer salesperson should be able to advise you of any compatibility issues.

[P]lease add any solutions I wasn't able to come up with on my own.


You might also consider installing Linux. Both Mac OS and Linux should be able to run Windows software with the help of an emulator. This will, of course, entail performance issues as compared to running Windows in the first place.

Where should I look for leftover PCs before Vista?


PCs running Windows XP can apparently be found using a search engine.

Please note that mainstream support for Windows XP is scheduled to cease in April 2009.


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steve_park  Identity Verified
South Korea
Local time: 15:23
English to Korean
Option #3 Aug 25, 2008

I remember one of my friends who is a software developer in a big corporation ran into a similar problem. He needed Vista but had to deal with XP because he knew some of his clients would still keep and use their XP machines for some time. As you said in the original posting newer machines don't much care about the older operating system less and less. As a result, he came up with virtual operating systems such as Parallel and was happy with XP inside Vista.

Therefore, I recommend Option #3. However, Option #4 is not bad but there is a catch. If you prefer to use Parallel not dual boot on a Mac OS X, which is that some people like the best from the two operation systems, you can't get the performance as much as you would expect from Windows machine because Vista will be run in a virtual operation system, compared to Vista machines. Mac is great, but what you care about is XP and Vista, then you know what to do.

[Edited at 2008-08-25 01:21]


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:53
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Mac and XP Aug 25, 2008

Here's the word from the Apple/Mac site:

Runs Office and Windows.
Mac has all the tools you need to succeed —
Every new Mac runs Microsoft Office2 with ease. Mac OS X Leopard also includes Boot Camp3, dual-boot software that lets you run Windows XP and Windows Vista and associated software on your Mac.


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 01:53
Partial member
Spanish
+ ...
You can "do stuff" and downgrade to Windows XP, but ... Aug 25, 2008

Most Vista computers can be downgraded to Windows XP. Go to notebookreview.com and you'll find several step-by-step guides (for each computer model) with lots of feedback and tricks. If you need to downgrade a desktop computer, you could go to: www.techguy.org

But I'm confused, you said that Office XP is the "most recent entirely stable version of the Office suite", but Office 2003 is better and very stable; if you don't want to upgrade, that's a different story. You also said that you can't run Office XP in Vista, yes you can. I don't have Office XP but I know a couple of 'non-techies' that run Office XP in a Vista machine. I just did a search in google, and it seems that the only problem between Office XP and Vista is Outlook, because Vista has a Vista Mail thing, which I uninstalled as soon as I got my computer. Thunderbird is better anyway. Trados is also fully compatible with Vista, although I don't know about any older versions.

There are a few laptops out there that do come with XP (at least until a few weeks ago). Or you could also buy a second hand computer. I wouldn't advice you to do that because you'll probably get a not-so-good product. HP has (had?) some XP laptops but they weren't as powerful as the Vista computers.

When I bought a new laptop a few months ago, I made sure that it was "downgradable and that even I could do it. I had read of the many problems Vista had and also about the un-friendly interface. I even posted a thread about Vista. But most of the comments were very positive, so I decided to give it a try. The interface is different, not that much. I actually think it's much faster, more stable, more intuitive, just better. I love the search bar also! No compatibly issues so far, I even have two VERY old printers that run perfectly on Vista. The only thing that doesn't work on Vista is a very old scanner that didn't even work in Windows XP without a fix. I did get the Blue Screen of Death twice, but I had a bad RAM. Once I got a new one, I never saw another BSOD.

I'd stay away from paralels. Yes, you could have the best of both worlds. But if you don't really really need (or want!) a Mac, I don't see why you should be paying more for a computer that needs so many fixes to run programs that are perfectly compatible with Windows. You'd have more compatibility issues than with Vista! Besides the programs are more expensive. Also, you'd be spending more time running the paralels or re-booting your computer every time you need to use a different app.

So my advice would be to make sure your computer is "downgradable", but give Vista a try at least for a couple of weeks, you will probably like it anyway. Vista has a bad reputation but most of it is unfounded. And if you decide to downgrade to XP, you just use the guide to do it. Assuming you have a non-OEM copy of XP, you would only need the drivers and some fixes. There are several forums where people will be happy to help you. When I decided I did like Vista, I wanted to do a clean installation to get rid of all the crap-ware, and I found all the information I needed in the Notebookreview forums. It looked complicated but it wasn't, same with the XP-downgrading process, it might look complicated but it isn't that hard. So the Notebook Manufacturers threads have all the information you need about downgrading, including links to the original, working drivers. I'd stay away from third-party fixes, stick to the manufacturer's. Also, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, make a backup of your restore system. That way, if your XP computer has a problem, you could just reinstall Vista and send it to the manufacturer Tech Service.

Good luck and let us know what you did.

Claudia


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:53
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks - it's taking shape now Aug 25, 2008

So, I guess the most straightforward options so far would be to either buy a PC that runs XP (looks like it will either be Dell or I'll have to spend countless hours finding the right one) or to buy a Mac, which, I admit, is really tempting.

I wasn't aware that Dell was still selling XP on their machines. It would seem that businesses are ever eager to make money off of people's despair. I thought Dell was going to stop selling PCs with XP preloaded this summer, or at least, so they announced. Alas, they are now charging hefty sums to those who prefer to wait before "indulging" in Vista. I am not sure though if I can buy from the US site - I'll have to check if there is a similar offer in Canada.

The Apple site seems to say that with Leopard, you can run both XP and OS at native speed. The best of both worlds, it would seem. I am surprised here again - I thought that Windows wasn't going to perform as well if it is run by a Mac.

I looked at the link posted by Katalin and also shopped on the Apple site. In both cases, I customized a computer to fit my needs. Katalin, I think the prices I got are not that expensive. The Dell was around $2500 and the Mac was around $2900. Not bad at all - well, considering the prices I am used to hereabouts. The Mac is a few hundred dollars above the price I was targeting, but what it lacks in economy, it makes up for in... well, pretty much everything. And it's NOT black, which is a plus if you ask me.

Keep the comments coming! Thanks!


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:53
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, but... Aug 25, 2008

Thor Kottelin wrote:

Since you already own a copy of Microsoft® Windows® XP, you should be able to install it onto any compatible computer — insert the installation disc, restart the PC, and follow the instructions given by the installer. Prepare to install some device drivers manually.


I admit I didn't investigate this thoroughly, since I have heard horror stories of people buying a Vista PC with the intention to downgrade to XP, and it never really worked. A lot of money down the drain, that! I heard that many of the most recent computers are, either intentionally or by lack of consideration, unable to run XP as it should be run. I just don't want to fall out of the frying pan into the fire, and pay for it, too.

My problem is precisely having to talk to a salesperson. Buying a computer is complicated enough as it is, but when the person assisting you in that is also very motivated to make a sale no matter what it takes, it becomes even more of a problem. I prefer to avoid the salesperson and shop online instead, keeping an eye out for any comments that may come my way. Maybe around where you live, salespeople are more helpful - but the ones over here generally just want to make a sale and some of them even don't know their products well enough to sell them to you. Sadly, the mom-and-pop business model in the computer industry has entirely dried up in my area and I am stuck having to deal with salesmen in big multinational businesses. Imagine...

So, I am trying to gather some information here first. I am sure many of our colleagues have a similar dilemma. Some may have found a solution. I hope they will share.

[Edited at 2008-08-25 02:41]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Option 5 Aug 25, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
Here are some of the possibilities I am wondering about:


Option 5. Buy a second-hand computer with XP on it.

If what you're buying is less than a year old, you can still add on to it (more memory, better hard drive etc) and still pay less for it than for a new computer. It won't be under guarantee, but you can probably buy a guarantee if the computer is still fairly new. Or, simply make use of the local computer repair store when something goes wrong.

The best thing is that the XP on it will have been designed specifically for that brand of laptop, and you won't have to worry about hardware compatibilities.

Remember when you bought it, make a rescue CD/DVD of the operating system, and reformat everthing. Then do a clean install using the rescue CD (unless the laptop comes with CDs, which is even better). Get someone who knows how to do this -- my own laptop's rescue CD didn't work, and now I'm in sihtstreet.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:53
English to German
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XP Pro still on sale Aug 25, 2008

Hi Viktoria,
Just to add that some copies of XP Professional are still on sale - at least our local electronics market still offers them (I bought an extra one, just to be on the safe side). Given that the latest mini laptops (such as the Asus EEE) simply cannot run Vista, XP is probably here to stay for some more time.

I'm running XP Pro on all my machines, plus Office 2003 and (admittedly, very recently), SDL Trados 2007 (Workbench build 835/836 plus MultiTerm build 448) - no problems whatsoever.

Best, Ralf


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:53
English to French
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Claudia Aug 25, 2008

Hey, that's a really neat post! Thanks!

Claudia Alvis wrote:
Most Vista computers can be downgraded to Windows XP. Go to notebookreview.com and you'll find several step-by-step guides (for each computer model) with lots of feedback and tricks.


I did search for this kind of information, but there is just too much of that out there right now! I started reading and I found inconsistencies between people's explanations, and that is not good. So, thanks for the link - I'll try it.

But I'm confused, you said that Office XP is the "most recent entirely stable version of the Office suite", but Office 2003 is better and very stable; if you don't want to upgrade, that's a different story.


I read somewhere (I believe it was on the Microsoft website) that the oldest Office supported by Vista is 2003. I guess that would mean that you can run Office XP and it will work, but with some glitches, like the one you mention involving Outlook.

Thunderbird is better anyway.


Here come the problems. I use Outlook not because I prefer to use it - I don't - but because I use several Outlook add-ons. If I got rid of Outlook, that would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And it isn't even Outlook I am after, since I don't even use Outlook per se. This is where things start to become complicated...

HP has (had?) some XP laptops but they weren't as powerful as the Vista computers.


4Gb RAM is all I really need. A good graphics card would be nice, not because I play games, but because with the number of windows I usually have open and the speed at which I toggle them eventually slows the graphics down, and that sucks big time (like when you see your document but the toolbar takes forever to appear). But yes, 4G is the real issue here. Other than that, I'm not fussy. So, if those HP offer 4G, I may be interested.

But most of the comments were very positive, so I decided to give it a try.


I also gave it a try many times since my boyfriend got a new computer with Vista on it. Maybe it has more to do with personal tastes and my particular use of it, but I just can't stand it. My boyfriend either, by the way. There are many things that just don't work. We tried burning some audio CDs - come on, it's just an audio CD, nothing complicated about it, right? - and it was a disaster. We scrapped a few CDs before we gave up and I went and burned them on my laptop which runs XP. I know, it's not really a glitch - but I find it terrible when you try to use something and there is just nothing intuitive about it. I also tried to download pictures from a memory card - and had to reboot each time I wanted Vista to detect it. My boyfriend has been using Vista for about four months and he still can't figure some rather basic things out without searching the web to find out. And he's a techie, too - used to supervise a preprint department.

I'd stay away from paralels. Yes, you could have the best of both worlds. But if you don't really really need (or want!) a Mac, I don't see why you should be paying more for a computer that needs so many fixes to run programs that are perfectly compatible with Windows.


Hmmm... I'm not sure about this. I heard that Bootcamp lets you switch between Vista and XP more or less like you would switch between two programs with a bit of initial setup work. This would mean you don't need to reboot to switch between the two.

I don't need a Mac, but the only thing that's been keeping me away from it so far is that most of the software I've been using for translation was incompatible with a Mac, until recently. There's still a long way to go, but with the possibility to dual-boot and maybe even run two OS parallel, things look a bit brighter.

So my advice would be to make sure your computer is "downgradable"


This is what I am having trouble with - nobody will confirm or infirm this, not even the "seasoned" salespeople and their managers. They're basically saying that it's my business and that they are not liable for anything if the downgrading doesn't work.


Good luck and let us know what you did.


I certainly will. I imagine others may find that information useful as well. I think consumer comments make for better guidance in such cases than what salespeople say and the hype around the latest "technology".

Thanks for posting!

[Edited at 2008-08-25 07:11]


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Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 08:53
English to Swedish
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Laptops with XP still on the market Aug 25, 2008

Ralf Lemster wrote:
Just to add that some copies of XP Professional are still on sale - at least our local electronics market still offers them (I bought an extra one, just to be on the safe side). Given that the latest mini laptops (such as the Asus EEE) simply cannot run Vista, XP is probably here to stay for some more time.


I'm with Ralf here.
Viktoria, I don't know where you've been looking, but using a local price comparison site here, I find that there are lots of new laptops out there, still retailing with XP!

Check my results here:
http://www.prisjakt.nu/kategori.php?k=s21763432

Pretty much all big brands still offer XP bundled. There must be similar options on the American market too, you just have to look at the right places...

/J


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Damian Harrison
Germany
Local time: 08:53
German to English
Office XP in Vista Aug 25, 2008

Perhaps there is someone out there who knows whether it is possible to run Office XP in Vista? I can't think why it shouldn't be possible to run an older program in a new OS.

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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 08:53
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Hi Victoria Aug 25, 2008

Why not consider one more possibility: buying a new computer with Vista, customizing Vista and running it along with Office 2003?

I bought a computer with Vista Home Premium some 8 months ago. I customized Vista so that it looks exactly as Win XP to which I got accustomed during a few last years (I did not like the appearance of Vista; I prefer 'classic Windows'). Otherwise I am very satisfied by Vista; it is very stable and in many aspects much better than XP. All my programs run smoothly under Vista (and I use many of them, including various specialized scientific software).

Please be aware that the problems about which you have heard are caused mostly not by Vista but by the newer version of MS Office (i.e. version 2007). If you have the possibility of installing the 2003 version it would be really optimal configuration. In any case, my personal opinion is: don't be afraid of Vista.


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