Reverse detail from Kakelbont MS 1, a fifteenth-century French Psalter. This image is in the public domain. Daniel Paul O'Donnell

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Restoring/Replacing the Bios on an Acer Aspire One

Posted: Apr 25, 2009 15:04;
Last Modified: Apr 25, 2009 15:04


The discussion below involves an intervention in the core workings of your computer. As with all hacks, you should not do this on a working computer if you are not prepared to accept that you might make things worse, void your warranty, or cause your computer to fail irrecoverably. If running these risks bother you, you should hire a professional to assist you rather than attempt the following on your own.

Just after a flawless new install of Ubuntu 9.04, I ran into a pretty serious problem with my Acer Aspire One Netbook: the BIOS became corrupt. When this happens your computer is bricked: it cannot do anything—spin the CD or hard-drive, load a USB key, or even boot. Well not quite bricked, in my case the fan was working.

This seems to be a small scale problem with the Aspire One, and appears also to be operating system independent (a search shows that there are solutions for Windows users as well). I suspect that my reformatting and jiggling the partitions on my hard-drive during my installation of Jaunty didn’t help. But it may not be ascribable to Ubuntu.

Fortunately, while the problem is serious, the solution is really quite easy, thanks to the blog “Macles*“, whose instructions, slightly modified for Ubuntu, I reproduce here in my own words. The same technique can also be used to replace an old but working BIOS.

1 Make a DOS bootable USB key

You can find instructions on how to do this here

note: The Linux instructions on this page are for some distribution of Linux other than Ubuntu. To make the key in Ubuntu 8.10, do the following:

sudo apt-get install syslinux p7zip-full p7zip-rar wget -O unetbootin chmod 755 unetbootin sudo ./unetbootin

(I’m not sure which of the p7zip things you need—I suspect it is only the full-but I installed both; in the last line, you are to omit the & found in Macles* instructions.

2 Download the latest Acer Aspire One Bios

A full list is kept here. These are also often available from Acer national sites (the European one is usually more up-to-date than the US and Canadian ones).

3 Unzip the Bios file, copy to USB key, and rename BIOS file

  1. Double click on the zipped bios file you have just downloaded
  2. After the files are extracted, copy them to the top directory of your newly formatted USB key
  3. Go into the USB key and rename the file ending in .FD to ZG5IA32.FD (apparently this is important)

Insert USB key, hold down fn and esc and press power button

  1. Insert the USB key
  2. Press and hold the fn and esc keys at the same time
  3. press the power button
  4. Wait a few seconds until you see the power light flash
  5. Release the fn and esc keys
  6. Press power again once
  7. Wait for the computer to reboot. This can take some time (a minute or so in my case), so be patient.
    1. If you see the black bios screen after a minute or two, then the computer’s bios is restored and your computer is fixed. The boot will continue to whatever it used to do (in my case, going to the grub screen). Since bios is reset, you don’t need to change the boot order: it will automatically boot first from the hard drive rather than the USB stick.
    2. If nothing happens, Macles* recommends waiting 5 minutes before turning the computer off and trying it again. There is always the possibility that the bios is simply taking a long time to restore.

Comment [6]

  1. Donovan Quinn (Sun May 10, 2009 (09:51:04)) [PermLink]:

    Fortunately i haven’t run in to this problem on either one of my AAO’s yet. Thanks for the info, though. If it ever comes up at least I know i have a resource to fix it!

  2. Agim (Tue Jul 14, 2009 (15:43:59)) [PermLink]:

    i am trying but no joy ,need more help

  3. dan (Wed Jul 15, 2009 (00:57:05)) [PermLink]:

    I’m afraid that’s all I know!

  4. Kier (Mon Jul 20, 2009 (14:44:18)) [PermLink]:

    Thanks mate, worked first time. :)

  5. mwnl (Sun Nov 22, 2009 (08:38:50)) [PermLink]:

    The Acer site instructions do not have the power key press in step 6.
    The Acer instructions worked for me.

  6. dan (Sun Nov 22, 2009 (13:09:41)) [PermLink]:

    Thanks for the link and the note. It didn’t hurt in my case, but it is perhaps useful to know that it isn’t part of the Acer instructions. And that there are Acer instructions!



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