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Saturday, March 17, 2007

How to Uninstall Windows Vista easily without any hassles

Here are the detailed steps by which you can easily Uninstall any version of Windows Vista - without causing much damage.

“You cannot uninstall Windows Vista by using the "Uninstall a program" option of the Programs and Features Control Panel tool,” informs Microsoft's Knowledge Base article 925809. In case
you have upgraded to Windows Vista from Windows XP, Vista will not present an Uninstall option in the Programs and Features Control Panel tool. However, there is a way to revert to Windows XP, or to the previous version of Windows.

But first off, make sure that when you upgrade to Windows Vista you do it in such a manner to save the previous copy of the operating system in the Windows.old folder. In the absence of the Windows.old folder you will not be able to uninstall Windows Vista. And just to be safe, backup any essential data on your machine before proceeding with the uninstall process.

Boot from the Windows Vista DVD, but choose to repair your computer when prompted. Select the copy of Vista you wish to uninstall and click Next and then launch command prompt. Type “c:” and press enter, and then “cd” and enter. Then type “ren Windows Windows.Vista” press enter and “ren “Program Files” “Program Files.Vista”” and press enter again.

Then write the following commands and press enter after each one “rd “Documents and Settings”,” “xcopy /s /h c:windows.old\*.* c:” and make sure you agree to overwrite the files by pressing y.

Now in order to restore the old boot sector you will have to type “D:bootbootsect /nt52 c:” and in case of an error just select another letter, something like this “E:bootbootsect /nt52 c:”. Now type “c:” hot enter, then “cd” and enter, and then “attrib boot.ini.saved -s -h –r” and “ren “boot.ini.saved” “boot.ini”” each followed by an enter. The final command is “attrib boot.ini +s +h +r”, press enter and type exit, press enter and click restart in the System Recoveri Options window.

Your previous copy of Windows should be in place. Just delete all the files that Windows Vista has left behind.

Thanks to Jeff for pointing out a previous typo error in the line
“ xcopy /s /h c:\windows.old\*.* c:”


  1. Anonymous said,

    my computer came with windows vista how can i put XP on my computer with out buying the XP installation cd

    on 5/21/2007 2:13 AM

  2. Jason S said,

    No you can't pal.


    on 5/21/2007 11:43 AM

  3. Anonymous said,

    If your computer came with Windows Vista and you have the XP cd, how would you uninstall vista to install XP?

    on 5/22/2007 2:34 PM

  4. Jason S said,

    You will also need a Vista DVD too.

    Since you will have to first remove Vista - then install XP and re-install Vista.

    on 5/22/2007 9:33 PM

  5. why would you need to re-install vista after u install xp if u only want xp?

    on 5/25/2007 10:11 PM

  6. Anonymous said,

    I got a new Dell that came with Vista installed. I have a Windows xp disk but it won't let me 'downgrade' to an older program..I hate Vista-how do I get rid of it and get windows xp? Dell support has been no help at all. Leslie Ann

    on 5/29/2007 1:45 AM

  7. Jason S said,

    Hi Leslie,

    The only option I see for you now is to Re-Format your entire hard-disk and install the copy of XP from the disk you have.

    P.S: You will loose all of your Vista and the price you paid for the Vista license will go down the drain.


    on 5/29/2007 12:30 PM

  8. Anonymous said,

    Hi Jason,

    I just bought a new dell desktop with a vista home premium .i would like to uninstall the vista and have my xp pro instead. i don;t care if i will lose the vista .coz i don;t really need it .can you please help me on this ? thanks !

    on 6/03/2007 6:18 PM

  9. Jason S said,

    Hi Anonymous,

    The same reply as I have given Leslie above will apply.

    Do let me know if you need any further clarifications.


    on 6/03/2007 9:39 PM

  10. Anonymous said,

    Ok so I got a new computer around december last year and I was able to get Windowns VIsta upgrade for free. Now I know why it was for free and I wanna get rid of it. I want go back to my Windows XP Media Center Edition. When I got the computer I Backed up all the files. Will it bring back Windows XP MCE and get rid of VIsta if I use those disks?

    on 6/29/2007 10:19 AM

  11. Jason S said,

    Sure. It should work.


    on 6/29/2007 1:05 PM

  12. Anonymous said,

    I bought a laptop that came loaded with Vista, hate it , don't want, already have the XP cd, but need to uninstall Vista first....how do I do that? (lay mens terms please)

    on 6/30/2007 4:47 AM

  13. Anonymous said,

    Need help!

    I just got a new Sony laptop. I came with pre-loaded Windows Vista. I try to use my Windows XP (Professional Edition) to reinstall Win XP. However, after I use XP disc to boot up the computer. The Windows XP setup page showed that there was no harddrive founded for installation.

    on 7/02/2007 9:16 AM

  14. Anonymous said,

    Need help!!

    I bought a Sony laptop a month ago. It comes with pre-loaded Window Vista. I tried to use my old Windows XP CD to reinstall Windows XP. However, everytime when I try to do it, I got an message from Windows XP setup page that there was no harddrive founded to install Win XP. Basically, Win XP CD cannot find my C: drive. I tried to format my C drive by using Sony back up disc, but it does not solve the problem. Unluckily that Sony Laptop does not come with Vista CD. Anyone please advise.

    Thank you in advance.

    on 7/02/2007 9:23 AM

  15. Jason S said,

    Hi Pal,

    I guess the problem with be that your Hard Drive in the new laptop maybe a SATA one and your XP Installation Disk Maynot support it.

    Try Copying the contents of your XP Setup disk into your Hard Drive and Start the installation from the Hard Drive by running SetUp.exe

    It'll solve your problem I suppose.


    on 7/02/2007 1:28 PM

  16. Unknown said,

    I tried reformatting my drive which I had upgraded to Vista. Just before formatting began I recieved the blue screen of death. Is this a Vista security aspect or does my computer not want XP any more.


    on 7/03/2007 6:16 PM

  17. Jason S said,

    Hi Matt,

    How are you re-formatting?
    Hope not from Windows Vista :)

    Re-Format using a Boot CD or from DOS.


    on 7/03/2007 6:27 PM

  18. Anonymous said,

    My windows vista dvd just brings me to an install now screen and I was wondering how I remove it from there. thanks for any help you can give me Jason.

    on 7/10/2007 10:05 AM

  19. jay said,

    hi i had xp home in my destop and i remove dat and installed vista so i want my xp home back so how sould i do it i have doen all my best but i cant do it plzzzzz hepl meeeeeeeee

    on 7/23/2007 11:12 PM

  20. Anonymous said,

    ok, I am joining the club. I got a new computer with Windows Vista. I have never been so frustrated! This computer did not come with XP so I purchased it. Does the above uninstall work on a computer that never had XP on it???

    on 9/20/2007 6:33 AM

  21. Anonymous said,

    Hi, I have removed vista and am now running XP as it used to be. How do you remove the Vista Files? Windows will not allow me to remove them.

    on 9/26/2007 1:51 PM

  22. Jason S said,

    Hi Matt,

    One way to remove them is to use a Linux Live CD like at www.knoppix.org .

    Burn the image of the Free CD downloaded from the above site and boot from that CD.

    Once booted, you will see all your Vista Files that you can delete. But be CAREFUL as some files may be generic and in use by your Windows XP - this may be a geopardy.


    on 9/26/2007 3:46 PM

  23. Travis1964 said,

    After upgrading my computer, I installed Windows XP; it works fine. However, I also wanted to try Vista on the same computer, so I installed Vista on a separate partition. The initial vista--Home Premium--installation went very well. It worked as advertised; on reboot, I could choose XP or Vista. I now had a dual-boot system. I continued to work with Vista updating and loading software. Then on a restart Vista crashed—errors. I ran the repair console, but it was unable to be repaired.
    I wanted to try again, so I reformatted the Vista partition and restored my XP boot. Afterwards, I started XP, and I attempted to reload Vista. The installation proceeded and got to the step asking to upgrade XP or select a new partition—a few seconds later the screen goes blank, nothing! I attempted again and again with the same outcome—could not install Vista, again. How can I resolve this issue without reinstalling XP? Thanks!

    on 11/12/2007 10:46 PM

  24. Anonymous said,

    hi jason,

    i got a sony laptop with vista home premium.my bro says that he can't install any software like oracle,vb etc.he wants to uninstall vista and put xp on it.
    the problem is i dont have motherboard cd for sony.if he installs xp,will the audio and video drives which came with vista work with xp?
    please help me
    thank you

    on 1/07/2008 12:09 AM

  25. Anonymous said,

    My Maxtor External Hard Drive gives me an Access Denied for all contents with Windows Vista although I can view the names of all the files. It worked perfectly well with XP, also if I add new files to the external Drive I can view those. I have assigned full permissions to all the files in the Drive - using the UAC. Is the hard drive corrupted - can I get the data back or do i need to uninstall Vista to resolve the issue

    on 1/18/2008 9:29 PM

  26. Anonymous said,

    get paragon partition manager 8.1
    make the boot cd
    copy a desktop.ini or a blank text file in another folder than the root call it $Security

    boot the cd, use the copy files, copy the file above to the one of the same name in the root of the hdd (u cant do it in windows.)

    this funtimentally removes all of windows vista hard drive security.
    if the software has fix mbr use it,

    if not setup xp via the disc u have, it works.
    (install cmd cons option in xp for future help and problem fixing)

    "drive:\i386\winnt32 /cmdcons"

    does it work? yes, why?
    i done it.

    how did i find this out?
    was trying to do somthing else and found this by accident.

    this is my best vista removal advice i can give.

    note: i didnt use bitlocker security so i dont know if it works
    with this encryption or not.

    but for branded or oem or standard install vista this works easily.

    i did have xp installed BUT i upgraded it due to corruption so i could keep my apps installed propperly, but in the end i disguarded both os's and installed again via the method up top.

    (the bootable cd needs made)
    and a valid xp disc with key

    from supermorph@5druids.com

    p.s try this method for that external drive where you replace the $security file on that drive, if it worked youll get ur files back (99.9% sure it should work)
    unless you encrypted it using bitlocker, if so im not so sure.

    on 2/18/2008 8:23 PM

  27. Anonymous said,

    dear jason,

    i bought a new dell laptop that came with windows vista basic, then i upgraded to home premium. now how do i go back to basic??

    or is there a way for me to go to xp without the xp cd

    p.s. i only have the home premium cd

    on 6/18/2008 4:12 AM

  28. Jason S said,

    Hi Nelly,

    I fear you can't go back to Basic.

    Also, you can't get XP without an XP CD.


    on 6/18/2008 10:55 AM

  29. Anonymous said,

    A far more simpler method.
    Set your bios to only boot up in cd rom mode.
    Place your win xp disc in.
    Boot up.
    And win xp will start to install itself
    In the process of course it will format the hd
    At the end… once xp is installed
    Reactivate the bios hd bootup sequence

    on 9/06/2008 4:44 PM

  30. Unknown said,

    From ALbert

    when i built my comp i got vista prem for it, couple months later i installed xp and it took of vista. now that i got a new motherboard and processor, it wont let me install xp, but for some reason it will install windows vista easly. i even bought a new harddrive @ frys, but i still keep getting the blue screen. saying to /CHKDSK or /F something about hardware, but my comp works fine with vista?? i dont get it? how can i get XP on it, i have xp pro disc. i 1st put the xp pro disc in its starts loading files or w/e and then right when it says its going to install XP, i get a BLUE SCREEN? saying something about hardware, CHKDSK or that /F thing? can u HELP ME? i dont wanna pat 100$ for someone to fix it?

    plZ. jason

    on 9/30/2008 12:38 PM

  31. Jason S said,

    Hi Alberto,

    The problem is because you have a older version of the Windows XP Setup. You will need to update it with the Windows XP SP2 (Service Pack 2) so that it detects all of the new hardware that your new system has.

    The process to add the SP2 to your original Windows XP CD is called SlipStreaming.
    Please read/follow the article here >> http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/windowsxp_sp2_slipstream.asp

    All the very Best!!


    on 9/30/2008 1:06 PM

  32. Anonymous said,

    After spending countless hours trying a number of methods for removing MS Vista from my networked computers, everything from line scripting, boot files, registry cleaning, and you name it. I figured that since we are only dealing with digital technology that can be altered and/or modified there must be an easier way.

    All MS programs still use MS DOS and the BIOS System as the mainstays. Afterall, when Bill Gates did the dirty dead to his partners regarding the purchase of the DOS operating System nothing has really changed.

    Therein, is the answer. Simply go to the BIO system and boot from an XP CD. I used the XP (Home) full version and used an upgrade to XP Pro (much faster).

    The reason that VISTA is not uninstallable is because the Recovery Partition overrides the BOOT DISK and keeps installing what you want to remove in the first place!

    Thus, make sure that the BIO is set to boot directly from the CD. Press enter to ensure that it boots from the CD. You will then find that the BIOs System identifies two partitions on the hard drive.

    Select the Recovery Partition. The BIOs will ask if you want to delete. Select (Y) for yes. The partition will be deleted. It is only approximately four gigs compared to the other partition which is the main operating portion of your hard drive.

    Reboot and go back to the BIOS and find the "C" drive. Now select install XP. You will be notified that selecting "INSTALL" will re-format the harddrive and install XP.

    This way you have a newly cleaned hard drive with no VISTA residuals. VISTA takes up far too much ROM and locks up the network. In addition, I got tired watching the Blue Wheel go round and round.

    Worse yet, always being kicjked out of Explorer and asked if I wanted to notify Microsoft. What a joke!!! Once again, VISTA, like 2000, was prematurely marketed and we get to be the ginea pigs.

    At least the EU figured out that many computer users were hacked at
    icrosoft and wanted to unload VISTA. Too bad the US doesn't have the guts to set Microsoft straight. This requiring vendors to sell only a single proprietary product is a farce.

    I have a better idea for Microsoft, make sure the junk has been thoroughly BETA tested before going to market.

    Microsoft has a space on their web-site wherein if you were a former XP user and want to downgrade back to XP you can purchase a license at a greatly reduced pricing structure.

    Microsoft is currently working on Windows 7, it will replace VISTA. VISTA is being backshelved much like ME. XP will not be available in stores from Microsoft effective June 2009. If you don't have XP and hate VISTA you better get your copy now. XP will still have driver updates etc. until 2014.

    Now I am working on getting back up to speed and training the staff to use XP. At least it is more reliable and stable.

    on 10/13/2008 5:59 AM

  33. Lamy14 said,

    hi i have a dell laptop with an inactive windows vista i want to install windows xp from a cd but it wont detect the hard disk please help me!!!!!

    on 2/18/2009 2:38 PM

  34. Anonymous said,

    hi jason

    i tink we all hav the same problem about vista, but my problem is that i'm doing I.T at school and i cnt install my software for i.t and i realy struggle to study now . i tink this vista is nt workin for mi at all .i want to know what can we all benefit from it coz it's realy nt workin 4 us

    my e-mail address is :p.nomcebo@yahoo.com

    on 4/24/2009 7:21 PM

  35. kimsukie said,

    Make sure you have all your drivers for your computer and your xp installation disk. This works for all computers in my home no matter what brand.

    Right now I’m trying this… Go under you bios and set to boot first the cd and then select raid to start up… restart you computer. when it asks for you to set settings click it and reformat the entire hard drive. My hard drive is 650GB and it took 30 minutes to format 5% so i’m assuming it will take 10 hours to format the entire hard drive. So I guess I’ll go to sleep and install XP. Oh yeah when it’s done go back in the bios and change the raid to Ide and reboot from the cd to install xp on the entire drive.

    This works for just about any computer, I have installed xp on all of my computers except one. Also if you loose part of your hard drive, go to computer management and you will find it there. You will need to format it so that your computer will be able to see it but now you will have your whole hard drive to use and if you want vista back you can reinstall it.

    on 6/09/2009 10:34 AM

  36. Melisa said,

    Hi Jason! I'm in a pickle! I'm using your instructions to uninstall vista home premium upgrade (back to XP full version) and the command line you typed out as "ren "Program Files" "Program Files.Vista is not working for me. I get a syntax error. (I'm actually typing it like this: ren program files program files.vista

    Am I typing something incorrect? HELP!

    I need to get rid of vista home premium in order to start my new job, as their software is not compatible with Vista yet. So I'm going to go back to XP, then upgrade to Vista Ultimate and create a virtual pc with Virtual PC 2007 so I can have the best of both worlds.
    Thank you so much for any help you can give!

    on 6/27/2009 10:08 AM

  37. Jason S said,

    Hi Melisa,

    You must type the command along with the quotes correctly.

    ren “Program Files” “Program Files.Vista”


    on 6/29/2009 9:16 AM

  38. supermorph said,

    i posted my method as a way to keep your files without formatting

    on 11/07/2009 3:56 AM

  39. Binesh said,

    Thanks Jason, It helped me uninstall my vista OS easily, thanks again

    on 2/17/2010 1:28 PM

  40. Keisha said,


    I purchased a Dell computer with Vista on it and I let a friend of mine install Windows 7. After I let her install it I found out that my computer does not support Windows 7 because my sound and other drivers do not work. Is there a way for me to remove Windows 7 and put Vista back on my computer I have the Vista cd? Thanks for any help you can provide

    on 5/13/2010 10:57 PM

  41. all of these steps worked for me except when i got to the part where you enter "D:bootbootsect /nt52 c:" my computer had an error. so i tried it with the letter "F" instead of "D" & now it says "The device is not ready". i also tried "G" and it's the same thing.
    what do i do in order to get 'the device ready'??

    on 6/11/2010 7:52 PM

  42. all of these steps worked for me except when i got to the part where you enter "D:bootbootsect /nt52 c:" my computer had an error. so i tried it with the letter "F" instead of "D" & now it says "The device is not ready". i also tried "G" and it's the same thing.
    what do i do in order to get 'the device ready'??

    on 6/11/2010 7:53 PM

  43. Anonymous said,

    Jason, I followed your steps to get XP back after installing vista, but when i got to the "d:bootbootsect /nt52 c:" step, I GOT AND ERROR so i THEN changed the letter and I typed in "x: bootbootsect /nt52 c:" and then followed the rest as you outlined,... after rebboting I got an error saying that basically:

    "winload.exe is missing or corrupt"
    Can you please tell me whats happening here??

    on 6/19/2010 9:13 PM

  44. Xamnas said,


    Erm i bought my Acer Aspire 4730ZG last year...and i wanted to reformat using the eRecovery, but some how my eRecovery cant launch, everytime i open it. it keep pop out "Acer eRecovery has stop working",soo can please teach me how to format my window Vista?? I wanted to install Linux - Ubuntu OS on, i already burn it into a DVD...Please help me, thank you...

    on 9/07/2010 12:54 AM

  45. Unknown said,

    i have installed windows 7 and nw my computer operates with both vista and windows 7. i always have to select anyone. i want to remove vista..

    pls help me

    on 11/14/2010 10:45 AM