Thursday, April 23, 2009

Aspire One BIOS reflash, ramdisk on usb freedos boot

First thing to do is a quick google for it, and you should find this very helpful page .

At time of writing, latest version is 3309, so go get that.  I used the windows version of unetbootin, which makes life easy.

I'd used unetbootin to try out moblin and ubuntu nbr (jaunty) on me old aspire one, and it created the boot disks perfectly.  But, this was flashing a previously downloaded img, not choosing a distro at the top.  

 I've got a set of 5 identical 2gb usb sticks (dane-elec, from 7dayshop about £15 for now, right here ) so I knew it wasn't the usb sticks.

Anyway, part of the reflash instructions are basically to create a FreeDOS boot stick, by choosing FreeDOS from unebootin, booting it, and using that DOS prompt to run the batch file that Acer gives you.  Easy.

But...  every time I went to boot the usb drive, it started, but gave an obscure "Could not load ramdisk image: /ubninit"   Curious.

A whole bunch of googling came up with some crazy ideas, none of which worked.  On the way, I discovered macles blog , which is very useful also, so gets a thumbs up.   But still, no luck.

Then I thought; i'm running behind a VPN, which has a proxy connection out the internet.  So, close all that down, and allow my XP machine to reach the internet raw, i.e. directly via my ADSL.

This time, unetbootin spent a good few minutes - with a nice progress bar - actually downloading FreeDOS.  The memory stick had a few more files than before...  And after all that, it booted, and I could run the firmware update.  (for interest, bios reflash took about 5 minutes, although I wasn't timing it - it's really easy and you can see it progressing...)

So, unebootin isn't proxy aware; instead, it will fail the download, and create a partial usb image, which won't boot.  Make sure you have direct internet connection before using it to download distros.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good points and the details are more specific than somewhere else, thanks.

- Norman