Net Book Mods


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Netbook - remember these little computers do not have a CD/DVD drive and some only have two USB ports...

I bought an ASUS 1001PXB-BK301 Netbook for the express purpose to see what it can do and how I can improve upon it's performance. (read the mini computer review here)

Some of the things in this list I have done, some will take a little longer due to time and $$$ constraints.

  • Upgrade hard drive to a SSD
  • Upgrade memory to maximum available
  • Upgrade processor (when the next step comes out it currently has a Atom Core 2 Duo @ 1.66 GHz )
  • Upgrade the OS from XP home to XP Pro, Windows 7, and Server versions 2003 and 2008.
  • Install Office XP and Office 2007

This project didn't start off too smooth because I could not get my boot device to see the hard drive, that is my bootable USB pen drive with ERD Commander would not see the hard drive.

I wanted to put a spare SSD I have in the computer. It draws less power, has no platters or head to crash, and creates a lot less heat.

So I proceeded to open the Netbook up then removed the old drive and connected it to my tower where I made images of the three sections of the drive, then I put these images on the SSD.

Once I had the images complete I put the SSD in the computer and buttoned it up.

Once it was back together I checked out the computer, it works the same as it did before the drive swap, cool now to the next step, installing Windows XP Pro.

Before working on the boot USB device not seeing the hard drive I decided to go get an external USB CD/ DVD drive, when I boot from my ERD cd it can see the hard drive but not my external hard drive. This is getting annoying to say the least. However if I don't want to pull the SSD out to make an image of each installation I am going to do I have to find out why the computer is not seeing both USB and SSD at the same time.

Next I worked on the USB boot not seeing the hard drive annoyance for over a day, finally I figured it out. USB uses AHIC and OHIC to communicate from the device to the computer bus. The drive settings in the BIOS from factory (this is a 'Reconditioned' computer) are set for 'Enhanced' and 'AHIC'.

My reasoning is that the USB either can't get the interrupt it needs to see the hard drive or the hard drive when configured to Enhanced and AHIC is disconnected when the boot sequence is started. (I have a reason for thinking this - not assuming - you will see when you read about the server install).

Once I figured out that the interface could not be set for 'Enhanced' but 'Compatible' then I could boot from my USB Pen/Flash Drive and see the hard drive. Once I was past this hurtle I proceeded to my next step.

There are a couple of reasons for going with XP Pro, the main one is Home versions of Windows (all of them) are not allowed to join a domain, the OS lacks the entries in the registry or the files you need to change from a workgroup to a domain. (The missing files are for the enhanced security of a domain).

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Because the computer lacks a floppy drive and a CD/DVD I decided to use an USB Pen/Flash drive for the installation media.

I use Win to flash to setup the bootable USB drive one with Windows XP and one with Server 2003. There were a few problems that I will not go in to at this time but will elaborate on the problems and solutions that I discovered in another article.

Now the Netbook has had Windows XP and Server 2003 installed on it and both run just fine.

The only problem I have with the computer really isn't a computer problem but a "It's so cute can I use it for a while?" from my Wife.  :)  (Should have bought a Netbook before I bought the Laptop she had for her birthday, may have saved us $700!). - That problem is Solved! Bought her a Tablet for Christmas!

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