Subject: Aspir(ations)
From: Veronica
Date: 17/2/14 4:31 pm
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

This is NOT an advert.

My oldish Laptop is a bit on the heavy side. It’s a circa 2000 Toshiba Satellite Pro. Which has done reasonably well (although the Hard Disc failed a few years ago, and had to be replaced).

The problem is that (as per usual) it’s fucking slow … and relatively heavy … and ‘Laptop-sized’.

And, since I now spend days away … sometimes sitting in hotels … twiddling thumbs … I needed something, a bit faster, not so bulky, and not so heavy (so that my suitcase didn’t feel like it had a dead weight in it).

So … last year … I ventured into the risky world of Notebook Computers … courtesy of Currys/PC World, just over the road from where I live.

And, having had a good look round, and finding serious limits of what I was looking for … i.e. only about 2 -3 choices … I happened upon an Acer Aspire V5-121.

Unfortunately, the down-side was that it came with poxy Windows 8. I actually couldn’t find anything that came with Windows 7 (or anything less, of course).

However, I bought it on the basis that I could simply wipe Windows 8 away, and install Windows XP instead (of which I have ‘quite a few’. And taking the Battery Pack out … always using it on the Mains … lightened it even further. And, of course, won't over-change the Battery Pack)

Was I wrong!?

Holy shit! I had no experience of a “Windows 8 –compatible”.

(Cutting to the bottom line … I did sort-a succeed … eventually … but …)

The very first problem is that BIOS had been ‘rearranged’ (expanded) to funnel everything (normally) towards a Windows 8 Operating System.

The second problem was that the BIOS expected to do that on the basis of (what is known as) “a ‘native’ SATA Hard Disc”.

Whoops! Before we go anywhere, we have to sort that out!

Well … fortunately … when I looked hard enough … there were a couple of BIOS settings which would turn the ‘Boot Sequence’ back to normal, and another that could turn on “IDE to SATA” Hard Disc compatibility.

In other words, the Boot Sequence could be restored to normal, and the Operating System could assume a regular PATA IDE Hard Disc … and it should all work as normal.

Well, this allowed me to wipe & reformat the entire Hard Disc (very large … lots of space … jolly good), and the Acer Aspire V5-121 comes with 2Gb Memory (jolly good!) … so I installed Windows XP Home SP3.

I found some drivers (for everything) on the Internet … and got everything working EXCEPT THE SOUND.  

Well … that meant I could use it for Software Development … when I’m sitting in a hotel … with nothing else to do … but what if I wanted to watch a Video? Or do anything that required ‘listening to’?

A bit of a shit.

I tried everything I could download … anything that looked reasonable.

Nothing worked.

So … in the end … I turned to Windows 7 (thanks Peter!)

I created a new Partition, and installed Windows 7 on it.

Holy shit! The sound works!

What does this mean … why am I telling you all this?

Well … it’s because … if you want a small … fairly-convenient … not very bulky … Notebook … which is perfectly serviceable … and not terribly expensivethen the Acer Aspire v5-121 does the job. And does it pretty well.

The only problem is that it comes with Windows 8 … BUT … I’ve discovered that it is possible to turn it back to ‘normal’ … and install a Windows 7 … and it all works (as well as any Windows OS works!)

The only downside is the lack of a DVD … you’d need a USB-connected External. (I tend to use a San Disc Cruzer Blade Memory Stick in a USB socket, at the moment).

Another “+” is that it is very easy (Function Key) to turn off the poxy ‘Mouse Pad’ shyte-thingy, and use a regular USB Optical Mouse.

Another “+” is that it comes with a USB 3.0 socket (one of them … the others are USB 2.0).

Oh … and although Windows XP is 32-bit … and I installed a 32-bit Windows 7 … the Acer Aspire v5-121 is actually a 64-bit machine, and would accept a 64-bit version of Windows 7 (I can think of no reason why not).

There you go. Just a thought.