Sunday, January 30, 2011

Recover Acer Aspire 1650

Useful keys :
  • F2 : Enter BIOS Setup
  • F12 : Choose boot device (if F12 key
    enabled in BIOS)
Notes :
  • You definitely need a backup DVD where Acer eRecovery has burnt the content of the hidden partition. Unfortunately, this DVD might not include everything (like Acer eRecovery for example - as if this restore process should be a one-time thing).
Steps :
  • Boot on backup DVD and wait for restore process to end. This will ovewrite the first partition with the content of the DVD big file. It takes about 12 min.
    Then the laptop reboots on the DVD to finish copying files.

    It seems that the real copy happens at 40 % (see HD activity). If I kept some linux partitions, it would froze at 40 % doing nothing (HD led off)
Then, if you reboot, Windows would use the following partitions :
  • C: : old hidden partition (hda1)
  • D: : old C: (hda2)
  • E: : old D: (hda3 or hda5)
IMHO, having two C:-like partitions is really messy.

That's why I want to hide the first partition again. This can be done in a few steps :
  • Hide the first partition
  • Copy the first partition (hda1) to the second (hda2)
  • Eventually reboot
Linux comes to the rescue. I use the Gentoo Minimal Install dvd (iso) for x86. So the detailed steps are :
  • Burn Gentoo minimal dvd
  • Reboot on this dvd (F2 or F12 can help)
  • Hide hda1 : (this commands sets hda1 type to Compaq Diagnostics, disables boot on hda1, enables boot for hda2 and save)
fdisk /dev/hda
t 1 12
a 1
a 2
  • Mount hda1 and hda2 :
mkdir /mnt/win/c
mkdir /mnt/win/d
mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/win/c
mount /dev/hda2 /mnt/win/d
  • Optional : save hda2 content :
mkdir /mnt/win/d/old
mv /mnt/win/d/* /mnt/win/d/old
  • Copy hda1 to hda2 :
cp -a /mnt/win/c/* /mnt/win/d
  • Reboot to windows
Then your fresh new WindowsXP will start using second partition.

Acer sucks, try Asus.

Edit :
  • Radeon X300 does not work after reboot. ATI driver fails to install.
  • Intel 2200BG wifi card does not work either.
  • Keyboard is not recognized and locks the Touchpad.
  • Startup desktop.ini file is opened automaticaly when XP starts ? Might be because the linux copy did not take into account the hidden attribute...
Edit : Merging the two first partitions to get 30 GB on C:\ fixes them all. No more post-install copy step. No more problem with ATI driver, etc.

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