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  1. #1
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    Install WinXP over Linux - Acer Notebook (XP Home SP2)

    Just received a new Acer 6291 notebook with only Linpus Linux OS installed. Left alone, it boots fine to Linux, but (strangly!) I want Windows.

    Been trying to install Windows XP Home from the CD, but once it gets to the Install/Repair screen, it tells me it cannot find a hard disk, whether I hit Enter or R. I think Acer has set up a recovery partition, but I can't seem to access that.

    Not knowing Linux, I'm confused as to what to do. I tried to Fdisk, but that was unsuccessful.

    Does anyone have any idea where I should go from here - other than wait for the Acer office to open tomorrow (patience has never been one of my strongest virtues, even assuming I have any others!)

    Thanks
    Chris

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    Re: Install WinXP over Linux - Acer Notebook (XP Home SP2)

    Joe

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    Re: Install WinXP over Linux - Acer Notebook (XP H

    Thanks Joe.

    With some difficulty I finally managed to find and remove the partitions. However, I seem now to be in a worse state! The Windows startup still doesn't find a hard disk, but now I can't even boot to Linux - it just goes to something called grub! This seems to offer very limited options!

    Chris

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    Re: Install WinXP over Linux - Acer Notebook (XP H

    I'm not familiar with Acer so I don't know what the key press is to get into the BIOS. Can you take a look in there and see if you spot anything out of the ordinary, settings wise? I ask because it seems that the XP boot CD should be able to at least "see" a hard drive, even if in a non-standard preparation.

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    Re: Install WinXP over Linux - Acer Notebook (XP H

    I guess it is possible that if your entire hard drive is formatted as ext3 (or another linux format) your windows disc would not be able to see it. Do you have any disk partitioning programs? There may be something in Linpus that will allow you to shrink the partitions so that there is some unpartitioned space that WIndows can see.
    Regards,
    Rory

    Microsoft MVP - Excel

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    Re: Install WinXP over Linux - Acer Notebook (XP H

    Big Al,

    Thanks for your thoughts. This was indeed one of my first suspects, but there doesn't seem to be anything in the BIOS setup which would affect this. I agree that it is very strange that Windows can't find a hard disk. Searching elsewhere suggests that Linux uses a non-standard MBR, but this doesn't take me very far.

    Should be able to contact Acer service in the next few hours, so I'll report back...

    Chris

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    Re: Install WinXP over Linux - Acer Notebook (XP H

    Rory,

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Using an old Win98 bootable CD, I managed to run Fdisk. This only found 10GB out of the total 80GB. I set this up as a DOS partition but problem remained. Tried formatting the partition, problem still there.

    I'm at a loss!

    Chris

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    Re: Install WinXP over Linux - Acer Notebook (XP H

    Try booting up again using that disk and then from the command prompt run:
    <code> FDISK /MBR</code>
    which should rewrite the master boot record and remove the GRUB bootloader. You should then be able, hopefully, to get Windows installed.
    Regards,
    Rory

    Microsoft MVP - Excel

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    Re: Install WinXP over Linux - Acer Notebook (XP H

    Rory,

    Thanks. A bit of progress. This has got rid of grub. But the same problem remains.

    I have the impression that this computer uses an SCSI or SATA hard drive (don't know which - or the difference!). And I am using a quite old copy of Windows XP SP2 (although never installed). Would this perhaps be a driver problem?

    Chris

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    Re: Install WinXP over Linux - Acer Notebook (XP H

    After talking to Acer service, I found the solution. As I suspected, the hard disk on 6291 is a SATA (whatever that means) and the Windows XP disk does not include SATA drivers. The drivers need to be loaded from a floppy (!) by hitting F6 at the start of the process. Files to produce the floppy are hidden on Acer's European web site. There is no information or explanation offered anywhere, apart from a Readme.txt.

    It amazes me that in the day and age, one needs a floppy to load Windows on a notebook! The Acer folk blame it on Microsoft, and say that the 6291 is 'only' Vista certified, and not certified for XP (although they don't announce this fact).

    An alternative suggestion of slipstreaming the drivers onto a new Windows CD is covered here. Seems like plenty of others have had the problem!

    Anyway, thanks to all for the usual quick support. Sorry to have introduced a red herring. But I've learned a little from it. Now to borrow a USB Floppy drive. I certainly don't want to buy one...

    Chris

  11. #11
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    Re: Install WinXP over Linux - Acer Notebook (XP H

    Chris,
    Glad you got it sorted. I confess I should have thought of that earlier since I have to go through the same process when I reinstall XP on my PC - I have SATA and SCSI drives as well as RAID arrays to deal with! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    Regards,
    Rory

    Microsoft MVP - Excel

  12. #12
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    Re: Install WinXP over Linux - Acer Notebook (XP H

    There is no way that Microsoft could possibly have all the drivers for all hardware on the XP CD. Updated drivers and new hardware with new drivers are released all the time. Windows XP setup has always had (and needed) the ability to add drives in the setup process. As to needing a floppy you have to consider when XP was released (Nov. 2001) and what most of the PC users had on their machines at the time. A floppy was still the most universal piece of equipment to supply drivers. Acer can say what they wish buy if the 6291 is only certified for Vista that is their fault not Microsoft's.

    Anyway, glad you've got it sorted out. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    Joe
    Joe

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