How to install XP via a USB key on to your Acer Aspire A150

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I recently purchased an Acer Aspire A150 from Amazon.co.uk. At just under 200 pounds, it is probably one of the best buy netbooks on the market right now.

It comes in several varieties, but I opted for the 160gb / 1GB RAM version with Linpus Linux installed, knowing that I would install Vista or XP on it soon.

Having lived with the netbook for a week running Vista Business, it was just too slow (remember, I have the 1GB RAM version – Vista really needs a minimum of about 2GB to be ‘bearable’). So the obvious answer then, not particularly wanting to use a Linux distro, was to install Windows XP.

That wasn’t as easy as it perhaps could have been, I think it is fair to say; taking up most of the day researching yesterday. There are several versions of tutorials on the web, it’s fair to say not all of them are written perhaps as well as they could have been. The best one, by far, in my humble opinion, was the one on the Acer Aspire One User Forums. This is an ‘unoffical’ community for Aspire One users, and the overall site is brilliant.

Before you trundle over to the user forum, have a look at the list of software I recommend you download before you begin. This is in addition to the list provided in the Aspire User forum article, above:

Virtual CloneDrive is basically a utility that let’s you ‘mount’ an ISO file into a virtual CDROM drive. ISO Recorder lets you create the ISOs that you can load into Virtual CloneDrive. nLite is a very smart program that lets you customise your Windows XP installation media before you install it.

Important note: In order to put Windows XP on your Aspire One, you will need to customise the installation media using nLite and apply Service Pack 1. If you do not do this, you will not be able to even run the installer on your Aspire.

Follow the instructions contained in the article above, and remember to do things in this order:

  • Make an ISO of your Windows XP CD
  • Mount your Windows XP ISO using CloneDrive
  • Run nLite – and make sure you add “Service Pack 1” (VITAL)
  • Save your ‘nLited’ version of Windows XP somewhere on your hard drive
  • Follow the instructions in the article to create your bootable USB memory stick
  • Copy the nLited version of Windows XP onto your USB key
  • Insert the USB key into your Acer Aspire One
  • Boot up your Aspire One, and press F12 to enter the boot menu.
  • Choose “USB Key” from the boot options.

Voila!