When I purchased the 1012 i didnt actually check if it supported XP or not. I figured worst case I'd upgrade to Media Portal 1.1 RC1, but didnt want to go there if I didnt need to (knowing that often if you have a stable Media Portal environment, you should not change it).
Anyway, as it turns out, XP is supported on the 1012 and ASUS kindly provide all the drivers you'll need to get it working! The hardest part (for me) was getting XP onto the 1012 given that it doesnt have an optical drive and I dont have an external USB one.
As it turns out, its not that hard when you know how, so I thought I'd post what I did (cause it did take me a bit of googling to put everything together) on the off chance some other crazy fool wants to try it.
Essentially you need to create a bootable USB flash drive or SD card with the XP install media. The process I'm about to describe didnt work with my flash drive, but did with my SD card (followed excatly the same process to create), but I'm assuming it was my cheap flash card that was at fault.
First, find "win2flash" - go on, google it - this thing does all the hard work. All you need its your XP installation media (on CD), and a target SD/Flash drive - its literally next, next, done. Amazing.
So go ahead and create you bootable SD card with Win2Flash.
Next, edit the "boot.ini" on the SD card, modify the stage two boot section and set the "partition" value to "2". This is required because the first partition on the 1012 is the recovery partition, and we dont want to overwrite this (so we can recover to Win 7 if we want). The generic instructions you'll find for win2flash tell you to wipe all partitions - not recommended if you ask me.
Next you need to prep the 1012.
Enter the BIOS (F2) and make the following changes
- Disable BIOS boost
- Set the SATA mode to IDE
Now reboot with the SD card in the reader, remembering to hit "F8" during the BIOS POST sequence to get the boot menu up.
Boot from the SD card.
Now just follow the Win2Flash instructions to install XP (just be careful not to overwirte your recovery partition when you are prompted for a target partition to install XP into).
Right, once the install has finished (you should be at the XP desktop), modify the boot.ini on the C drive. Again, the the partition value to "2". If you forget and the machine wont boot from the C drive with the "hal.dll" not found or similar error, just boot into the stage 2 GUI install from your SD card which will boot XP off your hard drive and then correct the boot.ini.
You can now re-enable BIOS boost - I left SATA mode set to IDE.
Now make sure you install all the ASUS drivers, perform a windows update and your ready to roll.
As an aside, I ended up using Media Portal 1.1 RC1 anyway due to a multiseat bug I encountered, but left the 1012 with XP - so far so good, almost time to drop it into production!
As a final aside - I am so far really happy with the 1012 - small, fast, quiet - does TV3 freeview (streamed live from my server) smooth as. My H.264 codec is CoreAVC 2.0 - for $12US you cant go wrong, and of course it supports the Nvidia ION chip set for hardware acceleration.