Acer Aspire One

Part two

It’s actually a decent little machine once you get to know it. I’m really starting to like it. Even the keyboard is usable. I probably would not write a large novel on it, but then again, I’d probably not write a large novel on any keyboard. All the buttons are where they are supposed to be, just a bit smaller.

Since I had never worked with these machines before, I had a lot of help from my friend the Internet. Especially

First order of affair after having the setup-password removed by removing the battery (see part one) was installing a 512MB SO-DIMM and flashing the BIOS to the latest version.

Flashing the BIOS is pretty simple. Just get Unetbootin to create a bootable USB-stick with FreeDOS, copy the BIOS file and the updater to it and boom.

Then I had to fix the installed software. The XP that was halfway installed and unbootable was a mess not worth saving.

Despite not getting anything but the laptop and the charger, I was able to get hold of installation software to be installed from an ordinary USB-stick.

The first one I got hold of was slightly older software, v1.0.8E. It was in the form of a nice image-file that I just dd:ed to the memory on my mac. This USB-memory would then boot perfectly on the Aspire and install the internal SSD with the Linux.
This early version however lacked any Swedish localization and support for the Swedish keyboard. A bit of updating with the automatic system updated did take care of the keyboard-problem, but not the actual language, and I do think the owner really would like it in swedish.

A bit more hunting and another slow download later I had the ISO for the Linpus/Acer recovery DVD version 1.0.15E.
This can however not be block copied to the memory like the other one. You are supposed to burn the ISO to a DVD and boot it, either directly on the Acer using a USB connected DVD reader, or boot it on some other PC to create a bootable USB-stick (and hopefully it will not ruin any other things on that PC, but there are no guarantees).

I didn’t feel like burning any DVDs, nor did I feel like rebooting my Mac with some software of some strange DVD.

There was a simple solution to it all though. acer-aspire-one-recovery-dvd
A simple software exists that can take the ISO-file, extract what is needed, and create a perfectly bootable USB-memory. But it only runs under Linux.

Not a problem though, since the Acer Aspire One was running perfectly (albiet the slightly older version) and had everything I would need.

I just put the whole ISO on the SD-card that was included, mounted it on the Acer, downloaded the small aa1rlinux-utility and ran it. No actual DVDs needed. Worked perfectly.

Note though that the process seem to fail if the USB-stick contain a linux-filesystem with old recovery-files on it. A complete wipe to ordinary FAT fixed that.

So, I have now a properly working very small Linux-computer on my desk.

I just have to screw it together and return it to the owner.

If I feel like it, I might try to explore ways of getting Windows Installation to boot from the USB-stick first though. It is said to be possible, but not that easy. Sounds like a challeeeeeeeeeenge!

– uploaded by ShoZu

Posted by lardh on 2009-05-09 22:25:33

Tagged: , ShoZu , Acer Aspire One , Acer , Netbook , laptop , A110 , AA1 , AAO

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