It has been 13 days since I converted my laptop from Vista to Windows XP. The process was more involved than I expected, but for me the end result justified the effort. Your mileage may vary.
In a head to head competition with an identical Compaq Presario laptop running Vista, the converted XP machine is observably faster starting up and is less prone to those annoying blackouts which occur when you ask the Vista system to do something it is not ready to do.
The downside to this adventure is that you have to learn a lot more than you ever cared to know about driver software and the idiosyncrasies of machines that were designed to run Vista and are not really supported by XP.
I no longer relish looking under the hood of my cars or inside the guts of my computers. I have learned the hard way that cutting edge refinements require constant upkeep and are not compatible with standard upgrades.
When you modify a mass-produced system in any significant way, it no longer is part of the mainstream repair and service network. You are on your own, so to speak, and you had better be satisfied with the help of Internet forums.
The bright spot in all of this is that customers are using the Internet to work around problems and the forums are full of useful information on converting Vista machines to XP machines and advice on handling arcane problems involving Conexant High Definition Audio Systems, whatever they are.
I have been installing new drivers on the XP laptop while I am writing this and the laptop now recognizes some of the hardware that was previously hidden from it.
A few more steps and the laptop now has a fully operational sound system. What a relief!
If I had it to do over again, I would go to my local PC expert and if he had done Vista to XP conversions successfully, I would get him to do the conversion. Proper division of labor, you know. Give the work to the person who does it professionally.
If you are already in the midst of doing this conversion for yourself, here is a link that may help you with audio problems: http://forum.driverpacks.net/viewtopic.php?pid=8558#p8558