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installing win xp in place if vista on gateway laptop

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i can't seem to recover an older os or install a new one now. began install of windows 7 on a gateway t-1625 running windows vista. everything went fine until it got to the finishing stages of the install and the error message i got was, the computer started unexpectedly or encountered an unexpected error windows installation cannot proceed to install. i had been installing 32bit, so i tried 64bit and got no where with that either. i did a startup repair and here is what i got. sig1=external media sig2=6.06001.18000.6.1.7600.16385 sig3=0 sig4=65537 sig5=unknown sig6=os version mismatch sig7=0 sig8=0 sig9=unknown sig10=1168 locale id 1033. i got nowhere with this either. my recovery is empty, it says i have no drivers, and i got a specific error that i didn't have a cd/dvd driver,(however my drive is in fine working order) and i cant seem to get any to load. i used some old win xp os etc.thinking i could start from the bottom and work my way up so to speak that didn't work and i downloaded drivers from gateway and put on usb and that didn't work. i did format when win xp asked me to....help i have been up for 32 stubborn hours trying to get this fixed...did i scrap the darn thing? all help would be appreciated. thank you so much.
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My only advice would be for you to use a third party format program and completely erase all data on your hard drive and start again with Win 7 or XP.

You can try the free program Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) download the iso bootable image burn it to a cd and boot from it to erase your hard drive (take note that depending on the size of your HD and the method you choose to erase your HD it may take a very long time for the erasing to complete).

I am suspecting that when you tried to install win 7 you erased your recovery partition and that is why you cannot recover Vista using the data you need on your old recovery partition, also if in the boot sector or your MBR there is any trace of win 7 or Vista, XP will not install itself over a newer OS (so the need to erase completely all your HD boot sector and all).

Hope that helps.
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