Tag Archives: bios

Install Windows 10 on Old Acer Aspire AX1031 (X1031)

I found treasure on the street!

This picture is staged. I actually found it on the street, not the curb, alongside two other older computers, and a pile of other discarded items for bulk pick-up.
The specs looked good. 64-bit Home Premium  Windows 7.
And it had a Certificate of Authenticity sticker with a 25-character license key .

The computer was missing a power cord, monitor, keyboard, and mouse – common for units on the street. When I got it home, I discovered that it was also missing the hard disk (no surprise), and therefore, the operating system. However, all 4 GB of RAM was still in it. As a test, I put a hard disk in it, and ran Ubuntu Linux. Seemed to be fine. All right, let’s try for Windows.

I downloaded the Windows 10 install media here.

Because I was browsing from a non-Windows OS, I was redirected to a page that could only download the ISO file. No problem.
The 64-bit version is more than 5 GB, and will not fit on a 4.7 GB DVD+R.

Had I wanted the 32-bit version, I could have simply burned a DVD and installed from there. But the 64-bit version was more than would fit on a standard DVD+R. One solution would have been to use higher-capacity dual-layer DVDs (if I had any on hand), but there was a better solution.

Most computers today will boot to a USB stick. In fact, if you use the download link  while running a Windows OS, you will get a utility that will create such a stick for you. I chose an alternate method of creating a bootable USB stick, the Rufus utility. Ignore my next step unless you plan to use Rufus.

With the default settings of Rufus 3.8, the USB stick created was invisible to the Acer AX1031. My guess is that the computer was one of the last of its generation that used BIOS, before EFI took over. The older BIOS was incapable of understanding the newer GPT disk partitioning scheme, so I had to force the older MBR (master boot record) scheme, as below.

Note that the partitioning scheme is set to MBR, not GPT.

I plugged the USB stick into the AX1031, and turned the power on.

After the computer was turned on, I had to quickly press F12 many times to get into the boot menu. Twice, I missed, and had to start over again.
One might have thought that a USB stick would be considered Removeable media, but in fact, it was considered a Hard Disk in this case. I selected that.
After selecting Hard Disk on the previous menu, I selected the USB drive on this menu. The next screen said to “Press any key to boot to USB”, which I needed to do quickly to start Windows installation.
Early in the process, the installation program asked for a license key. I copied it from the Certificate of Authenticity sticker. It was accepted.

Everything from that point on was smooth sailing.