Installing Windows XP Pro SP2 on a HP 635 – AMD Fusion E350 1.6 GHz Laptop

We still use Windows XP on the vast majority of our end-user equipment at work. The standard procedure is to delete whatever partitions and data that come stock on the HP equipment and reinstall Windows XP Professional (SP2) fresh from a CD (or WDS image) and go from there.

Normally, for smooth and simple operation, this procedure requires that you go into the advanced settings in the BIOS and change the SATA mode from it’s native AHCI mode to IDE (PATA) emulated mode in order to avoid the blue screen of death (and having to install special drivers) during the install.

Today, we received a new model of laptop for a user, the first of it’s kind for us. It is a HP 635 with the AMD 1.6ghz Fusion E350 processor. I was surprised to find that, for the first time, I was unable to find any option in the BIOS for the SATA mode. There was not even an Advanced tab, that the option would normally be under.

With no option to change the SATA emulation mode, it looked like XP was a no-go on this rather cheapy laptop. Instead of giving up and deal with the bullshit of setting up Windows 7, I decided to hit up the Google. I eventually found a solution that worked for me.

First, I grabbed an external USB floppy drive, along with a formatted disk (I was surprised I could find a floppy disk!). Then I downloaded the AMD SATA AHCI driver from HP and extracted it to a folder. I copied all the files in the RAID7xx” folder to my floppy and was ready to use it to install the SATA drivers for this chipset during the Windows XP install.

To do this, with your floppy drive attached with the disk inserted begin the Windows setup by booting to the CD. Then press the F6 option to install SCSI and RAID drivers during the beginning of the setup (when it is first copying the initial files). Choose the “S” option to specify the location of the drivers and choose the floppy drive. It should show that the AMD SATA drivers will be installed and then continue with Windows setup normally. Problem solved.

I learned of the drivers from this site, and it might be worth a read if you are looking to install Windows XP on newer HP laptops, or just need the drivers for a different model of laptop than I am working with here.

For the rest of the HP drivers for Windows XP for this laptop, visit this link.

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49 thoughts on “Installing Windows XP Pro SP2 on a HP 635 – AMD Fusion E350 1.6 GHz Laptop

  1. Hi there, thank you for sharing the info about XP install on the brand new HP635. Before proceeding further would you or any other “first adopters” please test the proper functionality of XP and this particular hardware, namely working HDMI video output and sound on the TV set, wireless networking, usb periferies etc. Thanks!

  2. We only used this laptop as a VPN portal. But I can tell you for sure that a USB Sprint wireless card (mobile internet) works. I didn’t test anything else. HPs website has a full set of XP drivers for this model. So, even though they make it a PITA to install XP, is it still fully supported driver-wise.

    As far as HDMI out, I’m not sure if this model has audio as part of the HDMI output. It is a rather cheap laptop, so it may only be video out. But that is not really in the scope of this article, sorry. Perhaps another visitor will have an answer for that.

  3. Hi Dave, thanks for sharing your tips about that, I finally managed to find a usable floppy disk (that was the hardest part of all, you’re right!) to use with an USB floppy drive unit I purchased YEARS ago ‘just in case’ and still never used 🙂
    I would just add to choose the X86 unit when loading the drivers, for those who don’t know the difference and are faced by the choice after successfully loading the drivers from floppy.
    Thanks again, this notebook is a real bargain and I’, sure it’s going to become a great usable machine after I’ve finished installing XP SP2 (pity for the SuSe Linux install, maybe and Ubuntu one would have make me think twice before formatting… SuSe was one of the first Linux disotros I used, many many years ago, but Linux isn’t still ready for the Desktop, in many cases, especially for newbies… and this notebook is for a newbie).

  4. Is it necessary to use an usb floppy drive? Why can’t I use an ordinary usb-stick or external hard drive to copy the important files during windows installation?

  5. You would have to use a usb floppy because the standard Windows XP setup is expecting to load the drivers from a floppy, with no way around that, that I am aware of anyway. The usb floppy drives I’ve dealt with emulate a traditional drive, so it is a good idea to keep at least one around in a tech environment.

    You could really need it , even when not dealing with legacy stuff like XP. You can also use a different solution to the traditional Windows setup, such as what “nobody” suggested above.

  6. Hi, I just found that neither the Intel version of this laptop (namely the HP 360 model) has an advanced mode for BIOS setup, thus leaving everybody in the cold with no chance to disable the SATA mode. Do you know it there’s a way to download the SATA drivers for this model too? Thanks.

  7. @Bonaventura: The web page I linked to in the final paragraph (click on the words “this site”) leads to where I originally discovered the the drivers for the laptop model I was working with. There are other relevant drivers listed and linked on that page, including those for Intel chip sets. I recommend visiting that page to look for what you need.

    Thanks for reading

  8. Yes Dave, in fact I downloaded all drivers for the XP install from the site, too, but wasn’t able to spot the specific SATA driver to make it possible a Windows XP installation. Also, the BIOS on HP models 360 and 365 is ‘locked’, I mean you cannot disable the SATA option nor change much else.
    I was forced to install Windows 7, which is more expensive by the way while it’s easier to find a ‘second hand’ licence of XP at a cheaper price, although the overall performance with Win 7 seems good enough to stick to this solution.
    Thanks anyway for the precious hints and references.

  9. Thanks Dave, you saved our Christmas this year!!! I bought two HP 635s to my children, and I was absolutely desperate, that Christmas night will be one big Suse linux course and I will looks like a lost Dad in eyes of my children.
    One big thanks once again for your post, and I wish you so happy holidays, as you bring to us.

  10. Many thx from my side too. After spending hours on the f*** HP Website to find technical data and infos for XP install, i’ve found your entry and say hurray -.-

    ps: I didn’t find any technical data on the HP Website for the 635. Nothing which Hardware is used, eg network adapters. So i have to use some software like everest to find out which is installed. HP -> )m

  11. @rajput: Yes you can. Actually, this whole post is written about the 32 bit version of XP pro, I guess I should have mentioned that in the article. Not sure if it makes any difference, but I use a volume license copy of XP as well.

  12. Hallo Dave,
    Thanks alot, i have investet so much time for this Problem, even i was unable to install the windos with a xp cd with Sata drivers (nlite)!
    Thanks alot once again!!

  13. May i ask what files you copied into the RAID7xx folder?
    i just copied the extracted RAID7xx folder into a floppy, but seems doesn’t work.

  14. @queenie: You want to copy all the files from within the RAID7xx folder to the root of the floppy, not the folder itself to the floppy.

    So it would be: A:\[the files]

    not: A:\RAID7xx\[the files]

  15. thanks for you quick reply : )
    sorry i am not professional on this, tried to copy all the files to the floppy this morning, but when i press “s” and choose the xp86 platform, it shows ” windows already has a driver that you can use for “AMD SATA AHCI Controller-x86 platform”. “unless the device manufacturer prefers that you use the driver on the floppy disk, you should use the driver in windows.

    (p.s: i am using a win xp sp3 DVD to install the OS)

  16. Hmm, I did not get that message so I’m not sure, but I was using a copy of XP SP2 on a cd. Your newer copy might already include the needed driver. If you choose the windows driver, do you get a BSoD or will it let you install?

    I’m not sure which driver is newer or better, but I doubt it would make much difference. If the windows driver on your SP3 disk will work, it sounds like you did not need to do any of this.

    If it doesn’t work, just use the driver off the floppy.

  17. Thanks for your work on this. I might be buying 3 of the HP 635s soon and I’d like to load XP instead of 7 Pro 64-bit. I’ve also had good luck with nLite as someone above suggested. Much easier IMO than dealing with a floppy drive and finding a disk that actually works!

  18. Thank you, Dave and Nobody, nLite worked perfectly for me, using the AHCI driver recommended by Dave. I tried to save the original SuSe installation image first, but this seemed not to be a streamline process, so the Linux magic was just gone…
    Just want to mention one thing – during the Win XP SP2 installation process, pressing F8 is required in certain phase to continue with the installation. However, pressing F8 did not work! After using Mr.Google for a while, there was a solution: press Fn key and then F8. This solved the problem. It’s not necessary to press the keys simultaneously (pressing F8 while holding Fn pressed), pressing them one after another instead worked just fine for me.
    I am still curious (same as Zacater above) whether anyone found some Win XP functionality not working resulting from downgrading?

  19. I’ve actually had to use the function (fn) key to use the F keys on other newer HP laptops as well. The quick keys take priority. It’s a setting that can usually be changed in the BIOS, but given this laptop’s few BIOS options, I don’t know if it is in there or not.

  20. Sorry, I don’t have any experience in such things, and before destroying something I better ask 😀 . Unfortunately I don’t have an external-floppy-drive and I want to use nLite (since some people here suggested it). Now I read everything about nLite and so on, but I’m not sure where to put that AHCI driver. Could please someone help me?

  21. @Josh: I haven’t used nlite much beyond launching the software and checking out the options for a different project, so I don’t have any detailed instructions for that. The process seemed pretty simple, though, and I’m sure you could find detailed instructions on how to use the software.

    You would probably need to just extract the driver files to a folder and then in the nlite wizard step to add a driver to the package, choose those files.

    Not sure about xp home either, don’t see why it wouldn’t work though. Give it a try. Honesty, the worst damage you can do is make the laptop unbootable until you get a working copy of windows installed.

  22. ‘lo – just a quick note for anyone who (like me) needs to clone a win7 image across and bumps into 0x7b on boot – the BIOS is (bafflingly) unable to switch to IDE mode, to you can’t load it far enough to install the required drivers. Acronis was no help – in fact, the only way I could find to do it at all was to boot the drive in a machine with a less Special Needsy BIOS, install the drivers linked in the above article, then alter two reg keys:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Msahci
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\IastorV

    Start, for both, should be changed to 0.

    It’s now booting, saves me having to reinstall all the domain stuff, so happy days… Sorry if this is a bit off-topic, but might help someone…

  23. omg…man…you are great…thanks a lot…i had the same issue on my laptop so, after following the guide you mentioned about (using nLite however), no Blue Screen, nothing. Everything worked perfectly from the first attempt.
    Congratulations, you have spared me from a lot of “wasted” time. Congrats 😉

  24. @ James and anyone looking for the XP drivers for this laptop: as I said at some point in this thread, HP’s website has drivers listed for this model of laptop for Windows XP.

    XP Driver List:
    http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareIndex.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodNameId=5086720&prodTypeId=321957&prodSeriesId=5086719&swLang=13&taskId=135&swEnvOID=1093

    Graphics Driver:
    http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodTypeId=321957&prodSeriesId=5086719&prodNameId=5086720&swEnvOID=1093&swLang=13&mode=2&taskId=135&swItem=ob-95971-1

    I’m going to edit the original post to include the first link.

  25. @dave

    I have installed the display driver on the HP website but still no joy all the other ones work tho, did you use the driver recommend on the website.

  26. I have some difficulties installing drivers for wireless lan and bluetoooth interface. I tried every driver listed on the HP website and still no chance. All drivers seem to freeze after a few moments from the start of the installation procedure. And just to be more clear, the little light on the wireless key remains orange., while during the use of the linux distribution the light was white.

    Anyone suffered this issue? Any suggestions?

  27. Hie,I have intergrated the drivers for the AMD SATA AHCI driver from HP but gives me an error on boot up.AHCIx64.SYS is corrupt.what can I do?

  28. @keith: What method are you using to install the driver? What version of Windows XP are you trying to load, 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64)? That file name sounds, to me, to be related to the 64bit version of the driver. Are you choosing the correct option for your version of XP?

    As pointed out by Bonaventura above, you want to choose x86 if you have the 32-bit version of XP (which is most likely the version you have).

  29. To all,

    I was able to use “Acronis Backup & Recovery + Universal Restore” to restore a backup image of “Windows XP SP2” on my “HP 635 LJ512UT” laptop.

    I am a bit amateur when it comes to hardware-related things, but I am fairly competent with software. Please do not expect precision & total accuracy from me…as I was “winging it” in this situation.

    Having said all that, for anyone interested, here is what I did:

    – I too stumbled upon this blog post because my Windows XP Installation CD presented the “blue screen of death”

    – I am an amateur user who is unfamiliar with “slipstreaming” or “USB floppy drives”. That is why I preferred the user-friendly Acronis software.

    – I used my “Acronis Boot CD” containing “Disk Director” & “Backup & Recovery”

    – I used “Disk Director” to delete the volume containing the “Windows 7” operating system, leaving the 3 other HP-related drives (System, Recovery, etc.) untouched. Then I created a new volume in the unallocated space (ie. space I just deleted) using standard options.

    – I used “Backup & Recovery” to recover a “Windows XP SP2” Acronis backup which was stored on a connected USB external drive. I was asked whether I would like to recover the “MBR” from my backup & I said “NO” (was not sure if this was correct, but I did it anyways).

    – Just in case the drivers would be an issue, I used the “Universal Restore” feature & pointed it to a copy of the AMD driver Dave shared (was not sure this was correct for my HP 635 model, but I did it anyways).

    – After recovery completed, I returned to “Disk Director” & marked my new XP volume as “Active” (this removed the designation from HP’s “System” volume).

    – I am able to boot into Windows XP without trouble.

    – I am in the process of installing the HP-recommended drivers for my model, located here:
    http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareIndex.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodNameId=5086722&prodTypeId=321957&prodSeriesId=5086719&swLang=13&taskId=135&swEnvOID=1093

    – Since I have not yet installed the drivers, I am not in a position to comment on the quality of performance under XP. In the future, should anyone ask, I will respond.

    Best,
    Paul

  30. Dave,

    Update: I am able to get most major “FN” keys working by disabling the “Active” option in the BIOS.

    However, I am still unable to get the brightness “FN” keys to work.

    Do the “FN” keys for brightness work on your laptop?

  31. To all,

    I am seeking feedback from others on the functionality of their “fn” brightness keys after downgrading to “Windows XP”.

    As I said earlier, everything works for me driver-wise…
    The only problem is that I am unable to change my brightness settings using the “fn” combos.

    To those who were curious about HDMI drivers,

    I have a solution for you.

    Usually, HDMI drivers are bundled in AMD graphics driver packages. So download your XP-based graphics driver.

    When you first run the installer, it extracts contents to the “C:” drive. Explore that extracted content, and you will find an “HDMI” folder containing the driver.

    You must manually point “Windows XP” hardware wizard to that folder & your HDMI audio will be installed.

    Best,
    Paul

  32. @Paul: Thanks for sharing all the info. Sorry, I haven’t had a ton of time to check in on the site lately. I don’t have the laptop in my position, and I didn’t really test all the keys before giving it out.

    I thought those fn keys were controlled by the bios, not the OS.

  33. Dave,

    Thanks for the response. The only reason I was pestering your blog was because you are the top-ranked search result for downgrading this laptop to XP.

    You are correct about the bios controlling the “fn” keys. Many support-articles I read, about this issue, described the problem as bios software not accommodating XP.

    However, I found a work-around…

    Users can install “HP Quick Launch Buttons” software. This will allow them to access & manipulate brightness/backlight settings through a GUI window (unfortunately, the “fn” keys for this task will still be unresponsive).

    The software is not offered for this particular HP model, but you can easily download it from another model’s driver page. It performs small general tasks, and – IMO – does not conflict with anything in the laptop.

    For example, I have successfully installed “sp49456.exe”. Through a new taskbar icon, users can access a GUI which contains a slider that can manipulate the brightness/backlight of the laptop.

    SIDENOTE: A quirk of this workaround is that you can only manipulate the brightness/backlight slider in the power-mode you booted up in (ie. “plugged in – ac mode” or “not plugged in – battery mode”). The slider is “greyed out” when you attempt to open the GUI in the “other” power mode. Luckily, you can still manipulate the brightness/backlight of both power modes…it just has to be done from the power mode you booted up in.

    Anyways, I am still experimenting with other “workarounds”. If I figure out a way to make the actual “fn” brightness/backlight keys work…I will post for the benefit of other users.

    Thanks for allowing us to comment here,
    Paul

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