Installing XP on a Toshiba Satellite a205-s5825

As most of you know, I am no fan of Windows Vista. Arguably, it is on par with Windows ME – which was a total flop. Almost every business customer that I have still runs XP or pays me to install XP on their new Vista pc’s. They can’t stand Vista’s lackluster performance, DRM overhead, absurd RAM requirements, and odd behaviors and quirks.

Formatting a drive and installing XP is not a big, except on Toshiba laptops. Their driver support, even if the laptop was built during the XP time, is marginal at best. I’ve spent more hours digging around the ‘Net looking for Toshiba drivers than I care to count.

Recently, a client of mine needed a laptop faster than I could get one from Dell. Against my better suggestion, he purchased 2 Toshiba a205-s5825 laptops, both with Vista. Naturally, he wanted to run XP on at least one of them and so the saga begins.

First, I formatted the drive. Ok – no big deal, but when I rebooted to an XP CD with SP2 slipstreamed in, it refused to see the HD. Hmmmm. I checked the drive in several partitioning utilities and sure enough it was there.

Next, I figured that XP just wasn’t seeing the SATA drives. That’s common, but the on many recent computers the BIOS will allow XP to see SATA. As most of you are aware, to install 3rd party SCSI or SATA drivers so XP will see a drive requires a floppy drive. Yes, the venerable floppy still has its place, and I keep a USB floppy around just for these situations.

I dug around the ‘Net and found the Intel Matrix Storage Manager- driver exe file. You can install that on a working XP box, then copy the drivers from the installation. Or – you can download them directly from here (yeah these are safe).

Here was the problem. The fr**k*ng BIOS on the a205 saw the USB floppy fine, but XP refused to see it. I hate Toshiba almost as much as HP. No matter what I tried – no floppy for me.

Ok – so let’s slipstream the drivers into the XP CD and be done with it. Grab a copy of nLite and make sure you have a CD burning program and know how to deal with an ISO file.

You can use these instructions for nLite since it’s late and I don’t feel like typing them:

*If you can’t figure it out, just email me, and I will help you out.

Last, I booted to my shiny new XP CD and voila! It decided to play nicely. Now I just have to find all the drivers!


Well this has been fun. Basically, there is zero support on the Toshiba USA support site. Fortunately, the Toshiba Europe site has the drivers listed. I picked a model and downloaded them and presto! After completely installing all the drivers and apps needed, I promptly made an image of the PC. The I burned a DVD of the image, XP SP2 slipstreamed .iso file, and the drivers.

Here is a screenshot of the driver listing (click for larger version):



Downgrading a Toshiba Notebook to run WindowsXP

“No Drives Found” when downgrading to XP

Toshiba EMEA – Wireless LAN Driver Portal

Update 8-18-08 *Has some additional driver links
Downgrading Windows Vista Home Basic to XP Pro on Toshiba A205-S5800