Acer Aspire One with Win 8


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These are the steps I took when setting up Kubuntu Precise Pangolin 12.04 LTS on an inexpensive, newly-purchased Acer Aspire One computer with Windows 8 pre-installed on it (June 2013).

  • Unpacked the new computer and powered it on, which loaded to the Windows 8 initial setup.
  • Chose Win 8 intialization without automatic updates or feedback (or any other automatic interactions with Microsoft). Set up a single user with a password. (I skipped the setup of networking at this time.)
  • Since I have messed up so many Windows operating systems in the past, having a set of Recovery Media is very important to me (so that I can re-install Windows should I do something dreadfully wrong). Acer does not distribute Recovery Disks separately but pre-installs an App / Program to create them for you. Access the "Acer Recovery Management" app:
  • Slide cursor to the lower right corner of the screen -> Search -> Apps -> Acer Recovery Management
  • Follow the prompts to "Create Factory Default Backup" on a 16 Gb Recovery USB stick. (The process took about 1 hour for me.) Put the newly-created Recovery USB stick in a safe place.
  • I phone-activated Windows 8. Why? With phone activation I could write down the activation number and in the event I need to reinstall the OS using the Recovery Media would be able to re-enter the activation number again.
  • Slide cursor to the lower right corner of the screen -> Settings -> Change PC Settings -> Activate Windows -> Activate by Phone
  • My network restricts which computers can connect by allowing only certain MAC addresses to connect. To find the wireless card's MAC address I used the CMD prompt (command terminal):
  • Slide cursor to the lower right corner of the screen -> Search -> Apps -> Windows System: Command Prompt
  • At the command prompt enter: ipconfig -all (and note the MAC address for the wireless device)
  • I started my network connection from the Desktop using the Wireless icon in the lower right:
  • Windows button -> Desktop -> Wireless icon
  • I happen to like the Classic Start menu of Windows 7 instead of the Start screen of Windows 8, so installed a New Toolbar on the Taskbar that simulates it using the instructions here.
  • I shrank my Windows 8 partition using the Disk Management: Shrink Volume tool:
  • Slide cursor to the lower right corner of the screen -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Search Control Panel: Administrative Tools -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Storage: Disk Management
  • Highlight the C: drive -> right-click -> Shrink Volume... -> Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB: 61,440 (which frees up 60 Gb of unallocated space) -> Shrink
  • Reboot the computer (I reboot twice because I'm superstitious):
  • Slide cursor to the lower right corner of the screen -> Settings -> Power -> Restart
  • Now I want to adjust from UEFI Boot to Legacy Boot options:
  • Boot the computer. As soon as the Acer logo appears press the "F2" button to enter the boot menu.
  • Boot menu -> Main -> F12 Boot Menu -> Enabled -> Boot Mode -> Legacy BIOS -> Ok -> Exit -> Exit Saving Changes
  • (Reboot) -> <F2> to enter Setup -> Boot -> (Optionally change Boot media order) -> Exit-> Exit Saving changes
  • To use an external boot medium, I now use the F12 key at boot to select my boot device. I use an external USB DVD drive (LG brand) plugged into the USB port of the netbook laptop, and this is recognized by the bootup menu. I can therefore use CDs or DVDs for bootable media.
  • I happen to have a boot-up disk with GParted on it. I rebooted the system into the Legacy Boot menu by holding down the ESC key, then chose the Boot Device Options and selected the CD/DVD device to boot (into which my GParted disc had been placed) GParted then booted.
  • Because I had already burned my Recovery Media (see above), I erased the Acer Recovery partition (reclaiming about 15 Gb of additonal hard drive space). With the 60 Gb of drive space reclaimed from the Shrink Volume step, this left about 75 Gb unallocated space for installing Kubuntu.
  • I then remove the GParted disk and rebooted into the Kubuntu disk (for this I used a 64-bit Kubuntu Precise 12.04.2 LTS LiveCD). The Precise Pangolin 12.04.2 LTS version is able to install to the Win 8 UEFI bootloader under the "Guided Installation -- Install to Largest Available Free Space" option as well, which is easier (and recommended) for beginners. I then allowed Kubuntu to finish installing completely.
  • At the end of installation I was prompted to reboot. Rebooting took me directly into (K)Ubuntu without a Grub boot menu.
  • I found that grub-pc (for Legacy BIOS) had been installed by the (K)Ubuntu automatic installation process and therefore the Windows 8 UEFI bootloader was not recognized. I therefore installed (through my package manager) grub-efi-amd64, which removed the grub-pc version while installing. I then update grub:
sudo update-grub
  • I found that I had to install and use the boot-repair facility to get grub2 to recognize the Windows 8 system:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install boot-repair
  • To return to the UEFI boot loader, I entered the Legacy BIOS at bootup (using the F2 key at the boot screen) and changed the boot mode back to UEFI:
  • Boot menu -> Boot -> Boot Mode -> UEFI -> Ok -> Exit -> Exit Saving Changes
  • After rebooting, I then tweaked the resulting Grub2 menu by editing the /etc/default/grub configuration file (use the text editor gedit instead of kate if using Ubuntu instead of Kubuntu):
sudo kate /etc/default/grub
and regenerating the Grub2 configuration:
sudo update-grub
  • I then rebooted.
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