Acer : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary

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A large Philippino manufacturer of desktop, laptop and notebook computers. They are good value and high quality. They tend to be vanilla without proprietary features. I own an Acer Aspire T-180A desktop and my partner owns an Acer 3624WXMi laptop. The hardware is excellent. All problem are with the Vista OS (Operating System) on the desktop and the XP OS on the notebook.

My major complain with Acer is their fraudulent claim that they include an OS such as XP or Vista with each computer. They don’t, they simply install an image on your hard drive. Further, they refuse to give you the OS install DVD (Digital Video Disc) disc even at nominal extra charge. You have to buy it at full retail from a third party. You need the install disc to do all manner of minor repairs to the OS such as running fixboot or bootrec. It is also gives you a way of booting when your machine becomes unbootable. It lets you start over if your hard disk should become damaged. Instead, Acer merely installs XP or Vista then expect you to ship your machine back to their offices 3.22 megameters (2,000 miles) away every time it hiccups and pay hefty fees. I discovered a loophole to partly defeat their con. You can order the 64-bit version of Vista or the multi-disc CD (Compact Disc) version, but not the standard DVD version, from Microsoft for  $26.00 USD by giving them your Windows serial number. This is intended for people who don’t have DVD readers, just CD readers on older machines.

One interesting feature of Acers is a small hidden partition on disk called PQSERVICES containg a compressed image of the factory state of the machine. When worse comes to worse, you can boot to that partition and restore the machine to the way it was when it came from the factory. Happily, it will not destroy any Linux partitions out past the Windows partinions when it restores Windows. However, it will unallocate any Linux partions embedded between the Windows partitions. When you do your first backup, you configure a password to use to allow this restore feature to work. All files on your C: drive will be lost. Your other partitions should be intact. The boot manager is left intact.

Windows has no image backup recover, but Acer provides one. In addition, the Acer image backup utility can prepare a bootable DVD to put you back to factory conditions. You can create this at any time. The utility requires about 8 gig of free space on D: drive to work. If you don’t have a D: drive, you can fool it with a SUBST D: E:\ command or similar.

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