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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rant: Acer Aspire M5711

Just bought a new Desktop for the office, Acer Aspire M5711, here in Thailand, to keep the cost down many of the brands do not ship the unit with a ‘common’ OS, this one came with Linux (point to note, the price that you often see do not include a monitor…)

So the first thing one did was to install XP, only to find out that XP isn’t native to this PC (in Thailand), Acer.co.th only supply the drivers for Vista. It was a nightmare trying to search for XP drivers (there are some brilliant forums out there (komku.blogspot.com). Anyhow, after spending a lot of time fiddling (and doing all the workarounds, nLite, USB FDD, change bios and etc… MEGA frustration), suffering defeat I’d decided to move to Vista.

Genuine Vista Home Premium installation was also a real pain, initially the installation page asked for a driver for CD/DVD bay??? (WTF number 1, “ You are loading the OS DVD from the CD/DVD bay that you are requesting the driver for, WHY?”), once again the forum came to the rescue, basically, downloaded the chipset driver from acer.co.th, expand it, look for the specific driver, copy it to a FDD, connect the USB FDD to the PC and let it search for the driver… bingo… the OS began to install.

After the OS installation comes the ‘drivers’ installation, wanting the latest driver I had decided to download it from the official acer.co.th instead of using the supplied CD, however (WTF number 2)  not all of the drivers were offered as a download, so you’ll still need to hunt some of the drivers from the supplied CD (such as the Modem driver).

Here comes WTF number 3, after everything, the dreaded yellow triangle (with an ! in the middle) was smiling at me on the ‘device manager page’ it was on the ‘network controller icon’, meaning the OS does not know what this equipment was… no description was given… ended up downloading a small program call UKD (Unknown Device, http://www.halfdone.com/Development/UnknownDevices/). Only to found out that my suspicion was correct, it was the wireless LAN.

Anyhow, the driver for this was not to be found on the official acer.co.th nor was it on the CD! But UKD had given me the chip manufacturer, so after visiting their site, it left me totally dumbfounded, although all the drivers were there but it was not possible to determine which driver one needs as one was not given the model number of the wireless LAN card.

Getting frustrated again… once again returning to the web for solution, after googling ‘wireless lan driver Acer M5711’, and skimming through the results, once link caught my attention (Acer Service Center Web (SABY) (http://www2.acer.co.th/acerthai2/index.pho?method=webboard&postnew=1&id=29820&gid=13), to my understanding (and I had really tried, a lot…) this page was not linked to the official acer.co.th (WTF number 4).

SABY is an official ACER support page, based on a forum model, it also has a link to a “software & download” page, I had assumed that it would take me back to the ‘download’ page found from acer.co.th… but NO… it took me to a different download site, a MUCH better and MUCH more in-depth…and there it was… waiting for me… ‘Driver WLAN for Vista’… I was a very happy man… :)

Now everything was done, I had spent time reading some of the post on the forum… very interesting and very colourful, I am not the first to be totally frustrated by this problem… I wished they would make this information accessible from the official acer.co.th… I don’t I shall touch Acer product again… (well unless they gave it away for free).

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