The process requires intermediate soldering skills as some of the points are very small. You will definitely need some type of magnifying glass to make sure that your soldering points are strong and accurate. One of the downsides to this mod is that you can’t turn the Bluetooth off, unless you disable it in the control panel. I’ve noticed that I get almost half an hour less now that I’ve installed this mod than I did before, so you may want to consider just using a micro external dongle that you can pull out when you’re not using it. The disadvantage to the external Bluetooth is that it will take up one of the three USB slots, stick out about a quarter of an inch, and isn’t as cool. It really comes down to how frequently you require Bluetooth.
My Acer Aspire One A1101 only came with 512k of RAM and while that’s probably ample for the installed version of Linux, it’s not enough for my Windows XP installation. The good news is that there’s an extra socket for a 200pin SODIMM in the Aspire One. The bad news is that you need to take most of the computer apart to access it.
As long as you’re somewhat inclined with electronics, this install isn’t too hard, but be forewarned that it will invalidate your warranty, and while I haven’t heard of anyone having problems, could mess up your computer. In total the install took me about 20 minutes and I was moving slowly and carefully. I also followed these instructions on where all of the screws are located, and how to disassemble the system:
You’ll need a couple of very small flathead screwdrivers for prying and a small and a very small phillips screwdriver (there’s one silver screw that’s smaller than the rest under the keyboard). I ended up dremeling a screwdriver to make it smaller and fit this one particular screw. Make sure you’re doing this work on a non-carpeted floor to prevent static.
The only portion that I found difficult at all was removing the keyboard. As noted in the above video, there are three tabs that need to be pushed back, while prying the keyboard up at the same time. I used two small flat head screwdrivers, one to push in the tab and the other to gently pry. Just go slowly and be carefully and everything should come out and go back together smoothly.
The 1GB SODIMM can be found for less than $20 online. You will need a DDR PC2 4200 533MHZ SODIMM (if you get something faster it should just run it at 533MHZ). I found a Kingston one from an ebay seller for $14.50 shipped so shop around for a good deal. After the RAM is installed and the computer is put back together, check the BIOS (press F2 at startup) to make sure that the computer sees the new memory.
I picked up (actually I received it as an early Christmas present from my mother after sending her the link in my Christmas list) the Acer Aspire One A1101 (in white) from Newegg, where they had it on sale for $249 + free shipping during the Black Friday sales that were going on. This model came with Linux Linpus and the 8GB SSD HD.
While I know there’s a lot of people that think Linux is just swell, I’m just so much more familiar with Windows, the software and the environment, so the first install for this machine was to toss out the original OS and install Windows XP.
The first hurdle obviously in installing a new OS on the AAO is that it has no optical drive. This requires that you create a bootable USB memory stick with the installation files to complete the install. Any USB thumb drive should work, I used a Kingston Datatraveler 1GB for my install.
To create the bootable USB thumb drive, you’ll need the USB Multiboot Tool, available here:
You can get download the multiboot tool directly from either here or here or here.
The Multiboot Tool is a batch file that will take you step-by-step on creating the bootable partition and then copying over the Windows files from your CD. You may also want to check out the N-Lite application to create a stream-lined version of windows that will be smaller and a bit faster on your AAO. N-Lite is a free application.
Once your USB thumb drive is ready to go, change the boot order in the bios (Press F2 on startup and move the USB port to the first bootable position), and then install Windows normally. Make sure not to remove the USB drive until the installation is complete (this will be after about 3 restarts).
*Note: During the Windows install, make sure that when you delete both existing partitions that come on the SSD HD and create a new single partition formatted in the FAT32 format and *NOT* NTFS. NTFS will be very slow on the SSD. I will post tips about speeding up Windows on the AAO in another post, however, it’s important that you format the drive in FAT2 during the installation.
I followed this youtube video and found it very helpful during the installation:
Once Windows has finished loading for the final time, you can remove the USB stick, and on your next restart can change the boot order so that the SSD HD comes first. You may want to keep the Windows copy on your thumb drive so that you can use it if you ever need to recover or repair your copy of Windows.