XP on the Acer Aspire One AOA 150 (Quanta ZG5) I'm writing this guide to help someone else avoiding the mistakes and pitfalls I went through when I attempted to get an Acer Aspire One AOA 150 in order. All of this should apply also to the AOA 110, which is the same computer, but with a not-too-good SSD instead of a hard drive. According to some people it is possible to remove the resident SSD in the AOA 110 and replace it with a 1.8" HDD. After some drilling and grinding, that is. Seems a little fiddly. The 1.8" drives appears to use a plastic film type connector, like the ones that connect keyboards in laptops. The original problem on the AOA 150 netbook was about not finding NTLDR. Hiren's Boot CD, in the form of a bootable USB stick, fixed this problem. By booting from the Hiren's Boot USB and choosing the fourth of several alternatives to get NTLDR going, I was in. But I couldn't repair the NTLDR without installation media. The XP CDs I had lying around were mainly in Swedish and one or two in English. There's even a German one. All very old at SP levels 0 to 2. However, the system on the AOA 150 was SP3 Thai/English, as was the keyboard. Obviously someone had bought the netbook on a trip to Thailand. Nevermind, I backed up everything that seemed like even remotely important data, some 50GB, to an external USB HDD and restored the Thai/English image contained in the hidden partition on the HDD. That restoration went impressively fast. But... Although I had chosen Swedish keyboard, locale etc, everything still came in Thai. A language neither I nor the owner of the netbook understood. Seems that if you choose any language but English you will get Thai on this system. Handicapped by a system I couldn't understand I thought that maybe I should craft a separate installation CD for this little beast instead? It turned out easier said than done. Since the original system was XP Home Edition maybe a Swedish XP Home Edition would be suitable? I found a very old Compaq branded XP Home Edition, in Swedish language. This CD was so old it was Service Pack level 0. It also contained a lot of stuff which seemed to be a parallel installation to the normal i386 folder. This I discovered when I slipstreamed it to SP3. The upgraded XP folder grew far beyond the size of a normal CD. I didn't really know what I was doing but I decided to try just throwing away everything I didn't recognize as normal files for an XP CD. It worked. Here's the root folder structure of the original Compaq branded XP Home SP0 (Swedish) CD, with the volume name WINXP32C_SE. COMPAQ DOCS I386 SEWXP32C_ZX SUPPORT VALUEADD AUTORUN.INF BOOTFONT.BIN NAME.BIN OSLANG.CPQ SETUP.EXE VIKTIGT.HTM WIN51 WIN51IC The SEWXP32C_ZX folder seems to contain a equivalent folder to i386. And here's the root folder structure after removing the Compaq specific stuff and slipstreaming SP3. Some of the file names are in lowercase due to relaxed file name properties in Nero, which isn't by mistake, I wanted it that way. The $OEM$ folder contains just the Acer OEM logo and support information. The XTRA folder (Swedish singular and plural form of the English XTRAS) contains drivers that couldn't be integrated and some useful utilities. It is because of this folder that I want the relaxed name properties for the CD. It does not in any way disturb the XP installation. VIKTIGT means Important. $OEM$ DOCS I386 XTRA support valueadd AUTORUN.INF BOOTFONT.BIN SETUP.EXE VIKTIGT.HTM WIN51 WIN51IC setupxp.htm win51ic.SP3 Next problem was integrating the text level F6 driver for the SATA HDD controller. Easy peasy. Nlite and the latest downloaded F6 collection from Intel will do it I thought. I chose to install all of the Intel controllers. But that didn't work. Since, as any system administrator worth his salt, I owned not one, not two, but the whole of three different USB floppy drives, and all were of the types MS approved for this situation, I decided to copy the driver files to a floppy, as Microsoft had intended it from the beginning. No go. Another version of the drivers, no. Yet another version, no. Yet a nother, no. W.T.F? To save you, dear reader, the wasted time and the frustration, it ended up being not the newest F6 driver, and none of the previous ones but the one on Acer's support site and only and exclusively the driver for the exact controller in the AOA 150, the ICH7M. All else failed. The AOA 150 needed some more drivers and, wise from my initial mistake, I stuck to the ones I found on Acer's support site. Finally the plug seemed to have loosened. Now everything went so smooth I started suspecting something was wrong without me knowing what. But it wasn't. Everything went just fine. So for the sport of it I decided I'd redo the trick one more time. This time I found an old HP CD containing XP Professional SP2b, US English. The "b" standing for hotfixes integrated after SP2 but before SP3. Nlite, the heaven sent tool, took care of that for me. It rolled back the hotfixes and instead slipstreamed SP3 for me. Funny thing about the CD was that this CD, just like the Compaq one, contained the same huge folder with what seemed like a parallell installation. I got rid of it and everything else that seemed proprietary to Compaq and HP. It should be noted that neither of the two installation CDs, in their original form, could be used for a normal XP installation. Both demanded that some other CD be booted first. That other CD I didn't have. The nice thing about them though was that they both, after having been upgraded and cleansed, allowed me to install without entering a serial number, and that they gave me 30 days grace to activate. After having been cleansed of the obviously proprietary stuff from Compaq and HP, both CDs behaved like normal OEM installation disks. They weren't even tied to Compaq or HP in any way. Since all the installation files from the CD were in a folder on the HDD I also needed to extract the boot sector from the CD, which isn't seen in normal file exploring mode, or seen in any ordinary way at all that I know of. A tiny program called "bbie" did that for me. Later I realized the same could just as well have been done with UltraISO. I'm a Nero user so I chose the option CD-Boot and fed it the path and parameters for the boot sector file. No emulation, no start message, 4 sectors to load and keeping the default 07C0 sector segment. Instead of burning a real CD I asked Nero to make an ISO image. Later I loaded up that same image into UltraISO and added some files I wanted included. UltraISO also optimized the ISO image, which is useful when you intend to burn your ISO to a real CD. I believe "optimizing" here refers to aligning files in the ISO in a way that results in as little waste as possible. An excellent and extremely useful program for transferring the fixed up XP ISO image to USB stick was Rufus. Much easier to use and much better than any of the other programs that claim to perform the same trick. Installation of XP was totally uneventful. Everything that needed to be entered was included in the WINNT.SIF answer file. I even included the serial, which wasn't really necessary with this version of XP. To make the netbook run just a little faster I installed eBoostr, a program that uses up to 4GB of the SD card as some kind of cache. It seems to work well, but the speedup isn't too dramatic. Windows 7 has this function built in and calls it Readyboost. For the hell of it I upgraded and patched the latest BIOS with SLIC 2.1. The signatures for SLP 1.0 and SLIC 2.0 were already in. W7 works nicely on the AOA 150, but the owner of this machine wanted XP, so that's what he got. This project gave me so many problems that I developed something of an addiction to it and I now almost miss the little bastard. But that will pass. As have all the others. For readers who prefer a ready-made solution, I've uploaded a packed ISO image of the US English XP Pro for the Acer Aspire One AOA 150. The image is tailor made for said netbook. It can be installed to other computers but will in that case probably need other F6 drivers. Since this is an OEM version of XP, relying on a SLP 1.0 signature in BIOS, it will need other validation files as well. The Acer files are included. I am aware of the fact that XP's tale is soon to end, but I'm more interested in "how" than in "why". So please refrain from comments about installing Linux. I've done that too (Xubuntu) and no, there's nothing too appealing there for an ordinary Joe Blow user. Had I istalled Linux on this netbook I'd also have to spend ungodly amounts of time supporting that installation. And I have better things to do. Since I'm an oldfashioned guy I burn my OS CD's to physical disks, just out of old habit. That isn't necessary in this case though. The uploaded image first needs to be unpacked and the resulting 700MB ISO then needs to either be burned to CD, or transferred to USB stick via Rufus. Enjoy.