How to Install Windows XP on a Dell Vostro 220 or Vostro 1520, the Crashless way!

Vostro 220MT

Steps that you must perform before Windows XP will Install: Below is a narration.

Switch Hard Drive Controller from AHCI to ATA:

  1. F2 at BIOS Screen
  2. Standard CMOS Features
  3. SATA Mode: Change from AHCI to ATA

Make sure your Windows XP CD is Slipstreamed to SP2 or 3

  1. Download nLite from here
  2. Download Service Pack 3 here
  3. Use nLite to Copy files from XP CD, Slipstream and make ISO with the new disk image.

I customer brought in a machine I had ordered for them needing Windows XP. I had ordered it with Vista and assured her that everything would be okay. Well, unfortunately the hospital she works for will not support Vista. So with my foot in my mouth I put in my trusty Windows XP Home CD for customers. The machine loads up the first part of Windows Setup then crashes with a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). Saying that I need to run chkdsk /f , along with some other information that I didn’t read. Well first thing this makes me think is SATA Controller? That’s exactly what it was.  Windows XP apparently doesn’t work well with AHCI (out of the box), so you’ll have to use the above steps to switch the machine to ATA mode in the BIOS. After that I got almost to the same place then I got a pci.sys error. Which is apparently caused by another piece of hardware not supported by Windows XP until Service Pack 2. My Slipstreamed SP3 disk is was having CD-KEY issues with the Pre SP3 OEM key so I had to slipstream a new one using nLite. Once I had those two things out of the way Windows XP SP3 installed swimmingly

Watch out on the License Keys, you may have to use SP2.

Update 28 Mar 09:

Eric reports that if you install the chipset drivers before installing the other drivers you can end up experiencing a variety of strange issues. Eric reports that you can solve the problem by installing “Desktop System Software (DSS)” which is found in the System Utilities section [under Vostro 220 on the Dell Support site]. When checking the offerings I noted that one download was recently updated and marked “Urgent”.

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