How To

How to update the BIOS on an Acer Aspire One

The BIOS on my Acer was horribly out of date and the change logs showed that a lot of useful fixes had been implemented since. As much as I hate doing BIOS updates, due to the possibility of catastrophic problems, I decided to give it a go.

I couldn’t find anything on the Acer site on how to do it, although they offer the BIOS updates, but I did find various forums and blogs where it’s been discussed. In the end I found a combination of advice was the best solution.

In a nutshell, the BIOS has to be upgraded via DOS. And not the Command Prompt DOS-a-like that Windows offers. That means putting DOS on a USB stick and booting from it.

Bear in mind that I have a Windows XP A150 Aspire One. And that when I say USB memory, I also mean USB drive. And vice versa. i So, what you’ll need…

  1. A USB memory stick. I read somewhere that recommended a 4GB one. No idea why as the files took up 3.2MB in total. Now, and this is where I went wrong initially, the USB memory has to be formatted as FAT32 and not NTFS.
  2. A download of UNetbootin – this is a free program that will create a bootable USB device with one of a number of downloadable operating systems, including any your own. Simply click on the option to download the latest Windows version.
  3. A download of the latest BIOS from Acer. Make sure you unzip it.

And here’s the process..

  1. Ensure your memory stick is plugged in and run UNetbootin.
  2. It will prompt for a “Distribution” – change this to “FreeDOS”.
  3. At the bottom of the window ensure the “Type” is “USB Drive” and the “Drive” is the drive letter of your USB memory stick.
  4. Click on “OK” and FreeDOS will be installed onto the USB drive.
  5. Now copy the BIOS files onto the USB drive as well.
  6. Reboot the Acer and press F2 at the “splash screen” to go into the BIOS settings.
  7. Once in the BIOS select the Boot Menu and move the USB HDD to the top of the list (using F5 and F6 to move them up and down).
  8. Press F10 to save and exit.
  9. Your Acer should now boot from the USB stick.
  10. The FreeDOS screen will appear with an option to select a default option. Do this.
  11. You will now be presented with a list of boot options – select option 5 (FreeDOS Live CD).
  12. I should have maybe said earlier that if you’re not literate with DOS, then you may struggle at this point 😉 FreeDOS will now have started and you’ll have a standard DOS screen. Go into C: (which is actually your USB memory stick) and find the BIOS files you saved earlier. In particular, find the .BAT file and run it.
  13. The BIOS should now install and reboot your Acer. Make sure to change the BIOS back to boot from your hard drive in future (and, whilst you’re there, check the BIOS front screen to ensure the BIOS version number is correct!).
  1. it’s confusing isn’t it? Different names for the same thing[]

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