Not the “Ace of Spades”

Preamble

I got given an Acer Aspire 4410 running Windows XP, which had a password lock on the BIOS so that it was impossible to change the boot order.

Model Number confusion

The laptop has a bit of a schizophrenic identity crisis:

  • The front says it is a 4410
  • The rear gives three model numbers 4810T/4810TZ/4410

General issues

The laptop was endlessly in its demands for maintenance:

  • The Windows XP was obviously out of support, so needed Windows 7 (although see How to get new Windows XP updates for free until 2019 with a Registry hack)
  • Couldn’t boot from the internal CD
  • Couldn’t boot from the external DVD, as the BIOS password prevented changing the boot order. Could run the Windows 7 DVD from XP though, so that got the install started.
  • Windows update stalled around Service Pack 1, due to lack of license. See Windows 7 fails to update.
  • Once all ofthe updates were installed, the laptop was incredibly slow, thought that a RAM upgrade would help. 4GB support for 32-bit, 8GB for 64-bit
  • The disk had a lot of disk controller (ATAPI) failures, showing up in Event Manager
  • Repeated blue screens
  • I wanted to boot from, and run, SpinRite on the hard disk, but couldn’t change the boot order – hence the resorting to the resetting of the BIOS password. It is mean to be possible through software, using Acer’s proprietary software, but as this wasn’t installed and proved hard to find, so shorting the jumpers seemed to be the quickest answer

 

Links

Here are a list of links that I found useful:

StackExchange SuperUser

In desperation, I resorted to asking on SuperUser, which turned out to be a double edged sword, Where are the BIOS password reset jumpers on a Acer Aspire 4810T? I got the answer that I needed, but following the instructions fro the service manual resulted in my frying of the motherboard. Here is the location of the jumpers:

G61 jumpers
G61 jumpers

As someone stated in one of the message boards, I would never touch another Acer ever again.

As a new laptop is required, the disk needs backing up, so this may be useful, cloning windows hard drive with dd. I considered using WinClone on the MacBook Pro, but this could be just for BootCamp, not sure.

.

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