Windows 8 Developer Preview on Acer Aspire One AOA150

Windows 8 Developer Preview on Acer Aspire One AOA150

Update November 1st 2012: Windows 8 on Acer Aspire AOA 150

Update: October 31st 2012
Since posting this article about over a year ago, the said AOA 150 is still alive, although with some changes. I have added a 500gb 7200 rpm HDD(ST9500420ASG) to the netbook. The netbook now runs a Windows 8 Release Preview with Ubuntu 12.10 as the main OS. 
Windows 8 Release Preview apparently runs faster than Developer Preview. I might buy an upgrade license to Windows 8 pro, but with a resolution of 1024×600 and metro(windows 8) apps not working, I don’t see much point. But I do need something to run my Nokia Music on…

Other updates on Windows 8

1. License types available for Windows 8:
a. Upgrade License – $39.99 till January 31 2013
b. OEM License (The license which vendors will use when they bundle Windows 8 with your new PC)
c. System Builder License (Similar to the OEM license, but you can purchase this to build your own PC. Single PC/Virtual Environment use only) – $139.99

2. Trial Version
A 90 day trial version of Windows 8 RTM Enterprise is available on the MSDN website for anyone. However, there are some caveats.
a. This is the Enterprise edition, so no Media Center addon is available. So, for DVD playback a 3rd party codec will be needed.
b. Cannot upgrade or convert this to a full Pro or Enterprise version with a serial or key. After 90 days, you will have to format and forget about the RTM version.

and…  Back to the article.
 

Microsoft recently launched a Developer Preview for Windows 8. The MSDN website gives you 3 different iso files
1) 32bit Windows 8 Developer Preview.
2) 64bit Windows 8 Developer Preview.
3) 64bit Windows 8 Developer Preview with developer tools

Windows 8 is being seen as Microsoft’s attempt at unifying their operating system offering. One OS to rule them all – PCs, tablets and phones. Windows 8 features  the Metro interface and support for ARM processors(no developer preview is available for ARM processor based devices at present)

The Windows Developer Preview is a pre-beta release for developers.

Test Device: Acer AspireOne ZG5 AOA 150
RAM: 1GB
Processor: Atom N270 1.6Ghz
VGA: Onboard. Mobile Intel 945 Express Chipset

This 3 year old netbook meets the minimum system requirements for the 32bit install of the Windows Developer Preview.

Installation:
If you have Windows XP or 7 installed, boot into it and download the 32bit iso file from the MSDN website. After the download is complete, mount the iso using a virtual device manager like Daemon Tools(a free lite version is available).

Open the mounted volume and browse to the “sources” folder. In it run the setup.exe. Install Windows 8 Developer preview to a partition of your choice and select the Custom installation option. This will do a clean install of Windows 8 Developer Preview to the partition and after the install is complete will let you boot into Windows 8 Developer Preview.

The installation went smoothly on the AOA 150 and took about an hour to complete.

You can also create a bootable dvd or usb drive using the iso and boot from that to install Windows 8 Developer Preview.

Post installation issues:

1. Windows 8 did not detect and install the driver for Mobile Intel 945 Express Chipset, defaulting to the default VGA driver with a 800×600 resolution.

Solution: Downloaded the Windows 7 driver for Mobile Intel 945 Express Chipset from Intel’s website

2. Tap to click and touchpad scroll did not work

Solution: Downloaded the touchpad driver for Acer Aspire One AOA 150 from Acer’s website

3. Metro apps do not run on resolutions lower than 1024×768. The AOA150 monitor has a maximum resolution of 1024×600.

Solution: Windows allows you to use non-native resolutions by downscaling, using a registry hack. Open regedit and search for Display1_DownScalingSupported. The default value is 0, set it to 1. Restart netbook. Now right click on the desktop and select “Screen Resolution”. You should be able to see two new resolutions 1152×864, 1024×768. Metro apps will run on a resolution of 1024×768 and above

Warning: Editing the registry incorrectly may cause your computer to become unusable.

With non-native resolutions the display is not very clear, but Metro applications can now be launched.

Performance:

Windows 8 Developer Preview runs surprisingly well on the Acer Aspire  One AOA 150. Having tested Windows 7 Beta on this netbook before(a long while back), it can be safely said that Windows 8 felt either on par or slightly better than Windows 7. That said, it still runs pretty sluggishly when compared to Windows XP or Ubuntu 11.04, but that is expected.

CPU and Memory Load averages:

CPU usage at rest was 5% but would spike to 90% when applications were being launched. Memory usage remained around the 700MB mark out of the available 1GB.

Conclusion:
Windows 8 Developer Preview works on the Acer Aspire One with fixable driver issues. Metro applications however need a registry hack to run. For a 3+ year old netbook, the performance of Microsoft’s latest offering is top notch

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