I have had it with Vista HP, as it cannot support SQL Server at the level needed. Too bad Microsoft doesn't tell you about the problem (I found out by surfing their forums)

I've purchased an XP Pro disk, but now I discover that XP cannot see my hard drive! That is in spite of the fact that the format is supposed to be NTSF. I tried deleting all partitions with no luck. I tried running a nuke program and it couldn't see the drive either (which is on a Dell Inspiron laptop). Apparently Vista did something interesting to my drive which I cannot undo. I actually had to resinstall Vista just to use this computer again (and that was a lot of fun too).

Does anyone know how I can get this OS off of my computer so I can get some useful work done???

Not sure how well this works
I like vista
But, everyone has there own pref.

Install a copy of Windows XP Professional with the product key that came with the copy, and then when you hit the activation screen -- which is near the end of the installation process -- select the activate by phone option rather than the online method. You'll likely end up talking with a live rep; tell them that you're downgrading from Vista to XP, and give him the Vista product key. The rep is supposed to walk you through the rest.

if you have a dell system, i suggest you call dell if you're going to downgrade ur system to xp...
installing an xp software from somewhere else you bought could void the warranty for the support..

if your system came orginally with vista, some of the hardware components will work best with VISTA and the drivers that you might have on your system is intended for vista,

In reply to the first response, the XP installer fails as soon as it loads because it cannot detect the hard drive, so the rest is a moot point. Vista will install just fine, apparently because the first time it was loaded it somehow modified the drive format. Actually, that isn't correct. The Vista install failed too until I eliminated all of the drive partitions during the format process. Before that, it would run for an hour and leave me with a totally black screen with a mouse cursor.

In response to the second reply, this machine is useless to me as-is anyway, so I could care less about details like the warranty and optimized hardware use (if that exists at all). This machine was available with either XP or Vista so it shouldn't matter that much. I was foolish enough to try Vista and I REALLY regret that decision.

I need to work with SQL Server, and it will not install properly under Vista HP because that OS does not expose IIS to the SQL Server installer, which means important SQL Server services are not loaded. Go on to the Microsoft forums and search for "Vista SQL Server" and see how many other people are complaining about this and other problems related to Vista's inability to support SQL Server and you'll see what I mean. I considered upgrading to a different Vista version, but the forums indicate that does not assure success either. I know damn well XP will work and I sure wish I could get it installed.

XP does not detect SATA discs. If that's what you have, you'll need to install the SATA drivers with a floppy, and I suspect you don't have one.
What's the make and model of the laptop?
You may be able to slipstream an XP disk with the needed drivers.

That sounds like a good clue - the best so far anyway. Maybe I should just chuck in a different disk. I'm running a Dell Inspiron 1720, just for the record. Right now I must keep it running to get a quick job out the door, then it's back to the old downgrade path...

This model had many different configurations, so you'll need to go the Dell site and enter your service tag to get the hardware info.

Here, try these

Here is stuff on downgrade rights and some other stuff

CNet Forums
Here is stuff on downgrading
Dell Inspiron 1720 Laptop to XP SP2

CNet Asia
Has some things on locating XP drivers and such
1720 does not come with XP drivers, so it says
I really don't know, I've got an Acer and Vista Works for me

I didn't look at all the stuff on this one
but has stuff about partitioning
and back-uping
mostly about an acer

Hope this helps
at least a little