Installing Windows XP on the Dell Inspiron 1420

If you’re like me, you’re not impressed enough by Vista to make the
switch just yet. Unfortunately, my old Averatec notebook crapped out on
me a few weeks ago and I was in need of a replacement. The best value
out there that met my requirements was Dell’s new Inspiron 1420, which
replaces their E1405 14.1? model. Unlike the E1405, the 1420 is only
available with Vista. After receiving my machine yesterday I set about
wiping it clean and starting fresh with a copy of XP.

What You’ll Need

Before we begin, there are a few things we’ll need.
Download and install nLite 1.4 beta.
Download the Intel AHCI drivers for slipstreaming.
A blank CD-R/RW to burn your ISO.
A USB thumbdrive, CD-R/RW, or other storage medium to get our network drivers installed.
My Dell’s Specs

are the specs on my machine so you can compare them to yours. If you’re
running Intel integrated video (the X3100 I believe) or Intel wireless
you can easily find drivers on their site.
Core 2 Duo T7300 (2.0GHz/4MB cache)
160GB 7200RPM HDD
2GB PC2-5300 DDR2
8400M GS 128MB
1440×900 display
Integrated webcam
Dell 1390 B/G wireless
Installing XP

inserted my XP disc, selected the optical drive as my first boot device
in the BIOS, and was on my way. After XP ran through its usual setup
procedures I was greeted by my first obstacle. XP could not find my
hard drive. I had heard of this problem arising before. The culprit is
the BIOS setting for AHCI or SATA functionality for the hard drive.
ACHI is a bit of Intel technology
which enables SATAII features like Native Command Queuing. While that’s
all well and good, XP by itself, even with SP2, is too old to recognize
what’s going on here. To fix this, we have two options:
The first and easier option is to simply set the hard drive to SATA mode in the BIOS.
second option, which I prefer, is to slipstream Intel’s latest AHCI
drivers into the XP disc. I have not tried both so I’m not sure if
enabling AHCI has any performance advantages, but humor me here.
In case you missed it above, to begin will need a program called nLite, which performs the actual slipstream process for us.

only can nLite slipstream drivers, but it can also add service packs,
hotfixes, and create unattended installs. For more on those features
you can check out their manual pages and other guides around the web.
Extract all the contents of your XP disc into a folder on your hard disk. The folder name is not important.
nLite. The welcome screen will ask you to locate the folder on your
hard drive where you dumped XP. Select it, and click next.
the next screen we will decide which options we would like to perform
to customize our install. For our purposes we will only select Integrate Drivers and Create a Bootable ISO.
On the next screen we will choose which drivers to integrate. If you haven’t already, Download this package and extract it. Now click Insert, browse to folder, and open the INF file. About a dozen options will appear. Select them all and click continue.
From the Create a Bootable ISO screen
you have a few options. You may burn the image directly, create an
image and then burn, or simply create the image for later. You can also
change the volume name, disc label, etc. None of these options are
consequential to this guide so you can choose whichever is best for
you. Personally, however, I find creating the image and then burning to
be more stable.
Now if we boot from our newly created XP
disc, viola! XP sees our drive. Follow the setup process as normal. If
you’ve never installed XP before there are a wealth of guides on the
Driver Installation

In about 20 minutes we
are greeted with our familiar XP desktop. Have your USB thumbdrive
ready or some other means of transferring files ready.
Always a good idea to install these first. You can download them here.
You may notice you have no network connectivity whatsoever. This is the next problem we should remedy.
Broadcom Integrated NIC
The driver provided by Dell’s website works just fine. You can grab it here.
Dell 1390 Wireless B/G
This is slightly more tricky. When I downloaded Dell’s driver package it
simply would not detect my wireless card. To solve this, I first
extracted the driver package to my hard drive by running it. Make sure
you extract to an easy to find location, such as your Desktop. After
this, setup runs automatically. Cancel it.
Next, browse to the Device Manager by right clicking My Computer, clicking the Hardware tab and then Device Manager. Scroll down to Unknown Devices, right click Network Controller and click Update Driver.
From here, tell Windows not to search Windows Update for your driver. In the next screen, check install from a list or specific location and click next. Select Don’t search, I will choose the driver to install, next, and finally Have Disk. Browse to the folder where you extracted the driver package. Inside you will find a folder called DRIVERS. You’ll be presented with two .INF files. Select (file name goes here) and open it. Hooray! We now have working wireless.
constantly releases driver updates for its products. Unfortunately, it
leaves mobile graphics support to the individual vendor. Thankfully
there is the wonderful website called LaptopVideo2Go to help ease our pain. Browse to the drivers section and download version 162.18 along with the modified INF file.
The version is not terribly important, but since I’ve had success with
this set with my desktop’s 8800GTX I’ve chosen it for this article.
Once your download has finished, run it to extract the files. Browse to the directory where you’ve extracted and replace the nv4_disp.inf file with your modified version. Run setup.exe and everything should install as normal. After this it would be a good idea to reboot.
The Easy Stuff
These drivers should be as easy as a download and install.
Sigmatel Audio here
Touchpad here
Integrated Webcam here
SD/xD Card Reader here
Modem here
Wrapping Up

it! This concludes my guide to XP on the Insprion 1420. Please leave
your comments and additional tips. It is probably possible to
slipstream many of these drivers into your XP disc as well, so I may
explore those options in a future guide.

Post a Comment

M14 Network Inc. | Hassnain Arts