As everyone will probably know these days, it's inevitable when you buy a new laptop or desktop it will come pre-loaded with Windows 7 - I've had this myself and wondered what it would be like to go back to XP. A colleague I know tried it without first creating restore disks for their new desktop and got themselves into a whole heap of issues when they realised they couldn't restore the machine back to Windows 7!. So, before you do anything, make sure you have a restore disk for your new machine - if you don't, create one (options are usually found in the start menu).
Now, you may have an old Windows XP disk you can use which is fair enough, but remember a lot of machines nowadays are 64-bit which means if you have an old 32-bit disk you're not going to get the machines full potential so you'll be trading off some hardware to get XP back on your machine in this case. Even if you have the correct XP disk, you will most probably find that newer machines have only had the hardware configured for Vista/7 and you might not be able to get the correct drivers for XP - no point in investing in a £1000 tower machine with all-singing graphics when you have to install a generic driver cause you can't find one for XP?!!.
Newer machines mostly come with SATA drives these days also, which is the main reason many people can't regress back to XP on their machines, 9 times out of 10 you will be installing XP for a typical IDE configuration which the install process won't understand and will simply either bomb out with a blue screen or tell you it can't find the necessary hardware to install XP. If this happens, you'll need to enter the BIOS area of your machine and change the hard drive config from SATA or AHCI to something like IDE or ATA - it really does depend on what you have installed, but try changing that setting, if it doesn't work, change it for something else - guaranteed one of those will work (you'll have to refer to your computer manual to find the correct way of entering the BIOS but it usually involves booting up the computer and hitting a key at the black screen with white writing which appears after a couple of seconds - usually something like DEL, F10, etc).
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