Thursday, 16 June 2016

Defenestrating Acer Laptops

I have been buying Acer laptops/notebooks for personal use for some 10 years now. They are not the most robust laptops around, but hey, they are cheap and cheerful, especially if you defenestrate them. While it is possible to buy them without Windows pre-loaded, the higher-spec ones usually come with Windows.

The first thing to do is to re-size the main Windows partition. I use gparted (warning - back up your partition before you do this - you may wipe the partition - personally, I get excited at the thought of doing irreparable damage to Windows). Next I load in a Linux distribution. I have been using Slackware since 1996, and while I have tried some of the others over the years(Red Hat, Debian, Ubuntu, and especially pre-Novell SuSE), Slackware remains my favorite.

You the boot up with the Slackware 14.1 dvd (I used the 14.1-current, meaning unstable version of 9 June 2016) , and follow the instructions.

On the Acer Aspire F15 the touchpad 'right-click' no longer seems to work. This is because it has been changed to 'two finger double tap'. If at first the touchpad appears unresponsive, try the key sequence Fn-F7. You might also need to set the touchpad on legacy mode in the laptop BIOS.

I had mine upgraded to 16GB DRAM, and it passed its torture test: Google chromium browser Slackbuild, which it did in less than 24 hours.

AspireF15 ran a 1080p Full HD (Sistar's 'Give It to Me' on youtube is a convenient test) right out of the box with no trouble. It's CPU also supports VT-x which improves Qemu performance when running desktop applications. Windows looks alot more harmless when secured in a Qemu virtual machine sandbox, doesn't it?

AspireF15 running Slackware 14.1 current with KDE, and mplayer & qemu in the foreground

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