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PSA: Warnings for Installing Windows XP and Vista in 2021


Staff member
So I now have a spare computer. Decided to have some fun with it by installing XP and Vista, but over the course of time and a LOT of pain and research, I found out a fair few VITAL things that aren't really talked about a lot at all.

1. Do NOT try to install XP with a USB drive or a USB-connected disc drive. And no, even if the USB port used in question is only 2.0, it still won't work. What will happen is, when Windows XP's install setup first loads up, it will load a bunch of drivers, but it doesn't have any to address USB, so once it's finished loading the OS into memory, it will then immediately try to boot the OS with the drive and then fail miserably with a 0x7B STOP code, meaning the boot device is inaccessible. The only way to get past this is to install XP via a CD with a IDE/SATA disc drive hooked up to the motherboard.

2. XP requires IDE drives to work with/install to or SATA drives running in IDE compatibility mode. Check your BIOS to see if it has the appropriate legacy mode for SATA peripherals. A lot of them do, but not all. You can slipstream SATA drivers into the XP ISO, but that's a bit more work.

3. Do NOT try to install Vista with Ventoy. Ventoy doesn't support either XP or Vista ISO loading. Only 7 and up. Trying to use Vista with Ventoy will immediately throw a VirtDisk.dll error immediately upon booting up. Also, Rufus won't write the Vista install ISO to the USB if it's not v2.18 or lower.

4. Vista doesn't have any generic USB 3.0 drivers. It will also fail to read any USB 2.0 ports that are plugged into a USB 3.0 header. Therefore, to install Vista, you will need at least FULL USB 2.0 ports for the keyboard/mouse or a PS/2 port. Again though, you can also slipstream USB 3.0 drivers into the Vista ISO if you want to.
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Sanctuary legend
Sanctuary contributor
what kind of mad man in using vista in 2021. you couldn't pay me to use it again