I recently praised the efficiency of Acer’s technical support when repairing a netbook: but whatever plaudits the company can take for swift collection and return must now be withdrawn for a glaring misdiagnosis of what caused the problem in the first place.
I was told that what caused my Aspire One portable to keep hanging during boot-up was a faulty power supply, which was quickly replaced free of charge as the system was still under one-year warranty. I had no reason to dispute the diagnosis and quickly got back a working system.
Barely four months later the same thing happened, this time outside of the warranty period.
Instead of calling Acer, I decided to put my own support skills to the test, trying another replacement power supply and a new battery, neither of which made any difference. Which is when it dawned on me – how can a faulty power brick start up the system with no problem, then cause it to hang as soon as it tries to load the operating system (OS), even with the battery fully charged?
In fact, it had nothing whatsoever to do with the power supply or battery – the culprit was the software, and the software is open source. In order to keep the initial system purchase costs down, Acer shipped the Acer Aspire One with a version of the Linpus Lite Linux OS.
When I tried to install a fresh copy of Linpus Lite, the recovery CD shipped with the Acer system, which is supposed to enable you to create a recovery flash disk that can be used to reboot and reinstall the OS and apps on the system, crashed each one of the three PCs on which I tried it.
So I decided to install Windows XP using an old unused licence key and original installation disk. The problem of how to get it onto a portable PC with no removable disk drive, or access to an external equivalent, was solved by FlashBoot 2.0u, a demo version of a utility downloadable from www.prime-expert.com/flashboot/download.php. It copies the contents of a bootable DVD and formats them onto a bootable USB Flash drive, which can then be loaded by altering the boot driver order in the system BIOS settings.
It worked a treat and the system is faster and more stable than ever, showing not all shareware is junk. Praise also to Microsoft, or at least Windows XP with SP3. Value for money might be debatable for many people (depending on the licensing discount they can negotiate) but there’s no denying that Redmond knows how to develop and maintain reliable software – mostly – that you can trust.
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