Upgrading Aspire One from Linux to Windows XP

Aspire One was typically netbook released from Acer. The first series – the A110 which released in the middle of the year - was a revolutionary product intended to intercept the existing of Asus EEE PC & HP MiniNote. The plus was the higher hardware specification (the first Atom processor built-in on netbook class) & lower price, but with the minus of 8GB SSD & Linux OS. It was worthless, since the used of Linux significantly decrease the whole price. Somehow, the SSD & Linux just life in harmony, the performance is great & all devices are well known recognized. These things still makes me amazed.

Anyway, for some customers, the uses of Linux just limit their use. Nothing can be done except playing internet, working with several office applications, manage a bit files & having few of funs. Even the user interface looks weird for them (which - some of - familiarly with Windows GUI). Well of course, there’s a way to solve it with upgrading the OS to Windows XP. Thanks to my boss for borrowing his Aspire One as the unit test for this article.



Let assume that you have successfully made a Windows XP setup from USB Flash Disk (UFD). Now, it’s time to practice your work. First, plug-in the UFD & turn on your Aspire One. Press F12 to make USB boot selection. If your UFD is ok then you will see boot menu on the screen. Select menu #1 as you have to prepare the Windows installation. Follow the on-screen wizard just like common XP setup until you face the hard drive preparation.



Note that your existing Aspire One has 2 partitions in a single 8GB SSD; 6.6GB with Linux file system & 1GB of Linux swap file. That’s why that both partitions shown as Unknown & not well recognized from Windows XP setup. The U: drive refer to UFD, so don’t bother with it. What you need to do is delete the first partition, re-create & formatting it with NTFS file system. Anyway, a quick format is fine. After you do so, simply follow the copying progress.



After the copying files is complete, the system will now reboot for the first time. Still plug-in the UFD, select menu #2 (GUI installation) after boot USB established. The installation will now continue in GUI mode.



This time, you need more than minutes to complete the 2nd stage of installation since the Aspire One SSD performance running on Windows is not much better than Linux. So, I suggest you to make a cup of coffee & having relax with 2 or 3 cigarettes.



After it completed, the 3rd reboot continue & the last phase of installation will run. Now, you will see the first Windows XP boot logo but still, the SSD seems work too hard after boot process. The busy led indicators always on, indicating that read & write process established at low speed. Never mind, just wait until to the rest of process.



And here we go, the desktop are now turn up after a long waiting. Everything seems to be normal, but the performance of the SSD is not increasing at all.



On my experience, I checked out the SSD partition with Partition Magic tools & here below the summary.



SSD Tweaking
To get more space, I merged the 2nd partition into 1st partition. So that the SSD now only have a single partition. It’s not too bad to have 4GB free space for others application installation. By the way, many peoples talk about the lack of SSD performance issue on Aspire One. In a quite moment, I only see & apply 3 solutions for this. The first solution required a change on a key in registry. This purposed is to disabled the memory management prefetch. Just pointing to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters & change the value data to 0 (zero).



Next, you must convert the NTFS file system to FAT32. For this, you need 3rd party application such as Partition Magic. The last tricks is just disabled the D2D Recovery in BIOS options. Even the speed now has increasing significantly after above tricks, but I though the SSD read & write speed still working under it’s standard percentage. However, for single small task processing in this A105 series, it’s just acceptable. Have a great upgrading.

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Sincerelly,

Eko Wahyudiharto
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  1. Anonymous zafri said,

    Monday, October 27, 2008 8:30:00 PM

    Hi Mr Eko, I try to do a short cut by buying an optical drive instead. I used a pirated win xp software in case it i want to revert back my AA1(Acer aspire one) to Linux. (Fyi, the pirated CD works with my other notebook) You sound like a smart guy perhap can help me out here. It does boot up xp but when it reaches the hardrive parts, there was an error message saying something like the ssd maybe infected the virus, need to format ssd and such. it doesnt reach where i can sort like format the ssd. Any ideas?

  2. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008 8:47:00 AM

    AFAIK, you can't revert back to default Linpus unless you have the recovery CD (master) & unfortunately, this 8GB SSD doesn't have recovery utility partition for your Aspire One.

    It's weird that you said so, since I made it formatted successfully. What version of XP do you used? I used XP SP3

  3. Anonymous zafri said,

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008 4:01:00 PM

    I use the first edition xp. Will try to use xp sp3 instead n will keep you update. Thanks for your advise

  4. Anonymous zafri said,

    Wednesday, October 29, 2008 11:14:00 PM

    Okay. U r right. Manage to format it using XP Sp3 instead. That was after a pain staking process n copying to the ssd. Will try to partition n other tips u suggested. tq

  5. Blogger don said,

    Monday, January 12, 2009 7:01:00 PM

    i was able to set up my acer aspire one with windows xp by following your instructions. the problem is that it can't connect to the internet and there's also no audio. need help please.

  6. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Thursday, January 15, 2009 1:20:00 PM

    Did you installed all of device drivers yet successfully?

  7. Blogger fcmd said,

    Sunday, February 22, 2009 11:21:00 PM

    thank you very much! you're such a big help =)

  8. Anonymous Yashar said,

    Sunday, March 01, 2009 10:53:00 PM

    Good Job
    Thanks very very very much.
    You saved my time and money man.
    (Yashar from Iran)

  9. Anonymous Moritz said,

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009 2:26:00 AM

    Hi Eko!
    I did as you showed but when I want to boot on my aspire I keep getting this note: Windows can not be started because file Windows root\system32\hal.dell. is broken or missing.
    I copied the files from an original Windows CD which I have used successfully for booting before.
    What can I do?

    Greeting from Berlin!

  10. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009 8:26:00 AM

    @Moritz: Have you read this after all?

  11. Blogger HelloEcho said,

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009 7:00:00 PM

    Hi and that you very much for your answer!
    Yeah, that's how I did, but I wondered if it has anything to do with the confirmation at the end of the copying process, when it says will you change that certain file migrate.inf ... well honestly I have no idea.
    You know that file that is missing - do I have a chance to copy that single file only and add it to the existing files on my usb? but I don't know where it belongs..
    Any idea how I could go on without buying an optical drive?
    Greeting from Moritz

  12. Anonymous Simon said,

    Saturday, April 04, 2009 4:19:00 AM

    Thanks for this article.
    regards

  13. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Monday, October 26, 2009 5:13:00 PM

    thanks man!

  14. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 10:48:00 PM

    To all who managed to convert to XP and are now struggling to find drivers, go here: http://support.acer-euro.com/drivers/notebook/as_one_110.html

    Acer has all the drivers for both XP and Linux versions of the Aspire A110.

  15. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Saturday, March 06, 2010 10:45:00 PM

    I am really unsure how switching to XP is an "Upgrade" from linux. What functionality have you added to a EEEPC by switching to windows? Other than having to install a virus and malware checker of course.

  16. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Sunday, March 07, 2010 7:45:00 AM

    @Anonymous: Read this Lenovo analyst: Linux on netbooks is doomed

  17. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Saturday, May 22, 2010 1:46:00 AM

    what is the product key for the windows xp pro behind your aspire one A105 product...plz, i formatted my system and the key i hav says unauthorized.
    help. thanks

    Rex..

  18. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Saturday, May 22, 2010 10:31:00 AM

    Mine is MVBCQ-B3VPW-CT369-VM9TB-YFGBP

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