Acer Aspire One D257 – Unboxing and Windows 8 Installation

Recently whilst in the process of changing from my MacBook Pro to an iMac I went through a stage of being ‘computerless.’  In today’s modern era that’s just not an option!  Couple this with a recent holiday to America during which I borrowed a friends netbook to use as a storage device for the bucket loads of photos and videos I took and found it to be a brilliant little device for this purpose.  Every traveller should consider taking a netbook with them, couple with a portable HDD for backups it is the perfect solution for storing and viewing a large amount of photos.  You can then obviously do basic editting, emailing etc, and the storage options you have are much greater than say for example a 16Gb or even 64Gb iPad.  A netbook will have for example 320Gb of storage and a 1Tb portable drive can be picked up for reasonably sensible money now.  Anyway I digress.  I picked up a brand new net book on gumtree for the handsome of £100.  The Spec of the Acer Aspire One is as follows :

TECH SPECS

ALSO KNOWN AS…

Alias Acer Aspire One AO257, AOD257

HARDWARE

Laptop type Netbook
Width 10.17 inches
Depth 7.28 inches
Thickness 1.01 inches
Weight 2.65 pounds
Color Blue, Silver, Red, Black

SOFTWARE

Operating system Windows 7 Starter

DISPLAY (BASE)

Screen size (diagonal) 10.1 inches
Display surface Matte
Technology LCD
Backlight LED
Resolution (X) 1024 px
Resolution (Y) 600 px

KEYBOARD

Backlit No
Number pad No

MOUSE

Type(s) Trackpad
Multitouch Yes

PROCESSOR (BASE)

CPU brand Intel
CPU family Pineview
Model Atom N455
Cores 1
Clockspeed 1.66 GHz

PROCESSOR (MAX)

Brand Intel
Family Pineview
Model Atom N570
Cores 2
Clockspeed 1.66 GHz

GPU (BASE)

Graphics type Integrated
Integrated GPU brand Intel
Integrated GPU model GMA 3150

MEMORY

Base RAM size 1 GB
Max. config RAM size 1 GB
RAM type DDR3
RAM slots 1

STORAGE

Options HDD (5400RPM)
Base drive type HDD (5400RPM)
Base drive capacity 250 GB
Card reader Yes
Card reader support SD, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Duo, xD, MMC

AUDIO

Speakers 2

WEBCAM

Effective pixels 0.3 megapixels

PORT OPTIONS

USB 3
Ethernet 1
Ethernet type 10/100
VGA 1
3.5mm headphone 1
3.5mm line-in / microphone 1

CONNECTIVITY

Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi options 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b
Bluetooth No

BATTERY

Size 2200 mAh, 3 cell
Quoted time 4 hr

So there you have it, that’s a decent amount of machine for £100!

I used this machine for about two months for the most basic of tasks.  Browsing the web, checking and organising emails, and backing up and viewing photos.  It coped well with all these tasks.  I did however try to transfer around 8Gb of movies from the machines hard drive to a USB stick.  This was painfully slow and pretty much was the only task the machine could do, even trying to browse the web whilst it was working caused it to start to slowly grind to a halt.

However all in all the machine coped.  It’s never going to play Battlefield, or Crysis but for the tasks above and keeping you online it is a decent option.  For the traveller I think a device like this should be as important as a change of underwear!  The netbook I fear is pretty much dead technology, with the invent of UltraBooks and tablets it’s place is rather obscure, believe me though it still has one, and the fact that no one else really sees this means you can pick one up for an absolute bargain!

Acer Aspire One D257 Unboxing Gallery :

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Acer Aspire One D257 Windows 8 Installation :

They say it couldn’t be done! They say it wont work! I say, ‘Bring it on!’

Every one loves a challenge right? So here is the thing Windows 8 is out, I have it. It was on my Mac, I got rid of the Mac, so I had a licence of Windows 8. I wanted it on my netbook. It requires a minimum resolution of 768. My netbook has a resolution of 600. They say nothing will work, I say we will tell it to work!

If you are in the same position and have a 600 resolution netbook and would like to see what Windows 8 is like, it is entirely possible. The upscaled resolution would look completely polished but it is entirely usable and more importantly fully functional!

This machine comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition so the first thing to do is to make sure it is fully updated so run windows update.

– Now Install Windows 8 – as you would if upgrading any machine. Run the ‘Setup’ from the USB / media…Windows 8 will install.

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– After the installation if you try to run any ‘Metro’ Apps you will see the problem :

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– The resolution of this machine as we know is 600 and it is now we need to make it believe that it can go more.

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Here is the important part :

There is a simple modification requited in Windows registry to let you increase the screen resolution of any system. Use the below mentioned steps to increase screen resolution.

– Hit Win + R keys together on your netbook’s keyboard

– Type “regedit” without quotes in the dialogue box

– Locate the following location in Registry window,

– HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E 968-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}000

– HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E 968-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}001

– You may have only one registry key (especially in Acer machines) mentioned above, don’t worry. Just follow below steps

– In both of these locations, find “Display1_DownScalingSupported” in the DWORD list

– Right-click on the DWORD and select modify, change the value from 0 to 1 for that DWORD

– Restart your netbook after closing the registry window

– Now open screen resolution window (Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Display\Screen Resolution) on your netbook and there you can see more option to choose from.

– For example, you may choose 1024 x 768 pixels

– Select that resolution and apply the changes

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– To get back the original pixel, just hit the Intel display app and select 1024 x 600.

As now you netbook’s display resolution is equal to the minimum required screen resolution for running Metro Style apps of Windows 8, you may run the apps without any problem.

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You now have a Windows 8 Netbook – Enjoy!

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