Acer Aspire One Wifi Trouble

I picked up an Acer Aspire One netbook for my wife for Christmas. It makes a pretty good couch and travelling computer simply because it's so small, and so inexpensive. The one I picked up has 512mb of RAM, 8gb of SSD, and runs Linux (Linpus).

I got it refurbished, and I guess the previous owner had done something to the OS that made the wireless flakey. On boot, it'd get a connection just fine, but if I closed it and reopened it, when the system woke from sleep, the wireless would never come back. The UI would show the SSIDs in the area, but not actually connect to any of them.

I contacted Acer support and they suggested I use the recovery DVD to restore it to its factory default state. This seemed like a cop-out on their part, but I gave it a shot as it was really the only way to get to the next step in the support process, and lo and behold, it worked. The 802.11g UI is different, and it recovers from sleep just fine.

My reason for posting this is a little tip. The restore software comes on a DVD, and of course the netbook itself has no DVD drive. They suggest you either connect an optical DVD drive via USB (I don't have an optical drive with a USB connection), or boot the DVD and the bootable OS and software on it will let you write a bootable image onto a USB stick.

I wanted to use that second option, but I didn't really trust booting the recovery DVD on my MacBook Pro, so I used VMWare. Fire up VMWare Workstation, create a new virtual PC, set it to boot off the disc in the physical DVD drive, and tell it to start. VMWare boots the DVD. Plug in the USB stick before it finishes booting, so the OS that boots off the DVD will see it, and it will let you write a bootable recovery image onto the USB stick.

Start the AA1 with the USB stick plugged in, hit F12 and pick the USB stick as the boot device, and off it goes.

Overall I'm fairly impressed with the Aspire One, for the price. If it was $499 (which I think is what the higher end version with more RAM, a hard disk and Windows XP goes for) I wouldn't be so happy with it, but I got it for $198, and for that price, it's excellent.