Windows 7

Installing Windows 7 on an Acer Aspire One Netbook

So, I saw this article on prepping a USB drive, and then prepping the Acer to boot from USB.  That was a cool post, but in my case the netbook hard drive was dead.  So what I wanted to do was prep the new hard drive prior to installing it in the netbook.  This method worked for me:

  • Gear needed:
    • One Netbook that has a dead hard drive, or you just want to reimage existing hard drive
    • A USB drive enclosure (I used the SIIG USB3 dual drive dock from Microcenter)
    • A viable copy of Windows 7 on DVD or ISO download from MSDN with Magic ISO Virtual CD (it’s free) to mount the ISO
      NOTE: Windows media can get funky, but my MSDN download worked using the Acer’s OEM product code on the chassis.
  • Put the 3.5″ hard drive in your enclosure and connect it to your computer
  • Go to Start -> Computer, right-click and select Manage
  • Navigate the left tree menu to Storage -> Disk Management and look for your USB drive.
    The commands will vary because if your drive isn’t dead you will be able to shrink one partition and add another, or you may need to create two partitions. Bottom line is you want the drive to have 2 partitions: one small one where all your installs will go, maybe 8-16GB, and the rest on a second one.
  • Once you have 2 partitions, you can use the iyogi article to prep the partition where the Windows 7 files will go (this will be the first, smaller partition that you created above).  This will probably be on the highest disk number and first partition of that disk.
    • Note: the article says “SELECT DISK 1” – but use the number that applies to you.  Same with Partition.
  • Copy over the Windows 7 files to the USB drive on the smaller partition
  • Copy over Office or whatever apps you want to have on the ready
  • Now you can visit the Acer (or your netbook’s) website, and down all the drivers and stuff those in a folder on that smaller partition
  • Finally you can plug the drive into the netbook and start it up.  I didn’t have to access BIOS – it picked up the drive and the Windows 7 installer triggered.
  • When prompted, point the Windows 7 to install on the larger partition – Windows will make that the boot partition when it installs, and from then on, the netbook will boot from there
  • After Windows 7 is done installing, install the drivers and if you allowed automatic updates, you will have plenty of those to keep you busy

The End – hope this approach works for you as well!


Getting Louder Volume from Windows 7

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Well, it finally happened…I got sick enough of Windows 7 being quiet that I decided to research doing something about it. Disclaimer? Always! I am running an ASUS motherboard with Realtek Integrated Audio. There’s also a team of licensed audio gnats in this chassis that uses their saliva to regulate sample depth, so the usefulness of this post may vary depending on the gnats you have in your chassis (that really does sound wrong).

You crank the volume on your mixer, and the volume on your un-powered headphones to MAX and notice that you aren’t causing yourself ANY noticeable hearing loss.  “Why?” you ask yourself.   So, you right click on your sound icon in the system tray and choose “Playback Devices”:

system tray audio icon

playback devices

And you notice… “Dang, even though that’s a fairly useless VU Meter, even it shows my max volume is ridiculously quiet!”:

speaker volume before adjusting

Join the club.

So I searched Google, and found this post (which contains both the things I am about to show you… in there…. suggested by smart people.  Hi, smart people!).  Two things. Yes  (and later I might unwind one of them if it doesn’t work out… I’ll let it down lightly though, so that maybe we can still be friends).  Two things, Tangent Mc Tangenterson! First, click on the speakers (unless you are using a USB headset that magically shows up as something else, or you use digital output, or you have a special audio device that is so awesome that you won’t share with the rest of us common folk)… once whatever it is is highlighted, you will see the “Properties” button become enabled. Yes… you know what to do…. click the “Properties” button:

   then, click the “Enhancements” tab enhancements tab

At this point, you will be able to choose Windows 7’s cup size. No! Why did you even go there?!! Gah, can’t take you interwebz trolls anywhere.

You will see a list of things you can check or uncheck.  Do whatever you want, really, but to fix THIS problem I scrolled down through the list and checked these two check boxes:


“Loudness Equalization” by itself seemed to give things about a 20% boost. But I craved more…. MORRRRRE I SAY!! So after checking “Equalizer” the “Sound Effect Properties” little box will have a “Setting” drop-down.  From there you can pick a bunch of mixes, or to go for a custom boost, you can click the “dot dot dot” button. Yes, I know those are called “umlauts”, OK? What? They’re “ellipsis”? Well aren’t you a smarty pants? It makes me proud to know I didn’t have to explain the difference between umslots and eplipseses to you. So tell me WHY Microsoft used something that stands for “omitted” to define a button that you should click on? Really…I am curious why they did that.

click the ellipsis - which doesn't make sense, but that's what you do

From there you can boost all the frequency ranges to your liking.  I did about a “20-30%” boost, as you can tell from the highly scientific sliders which are kinda like playing a fretless bass, only fretless basses are cool, and these sliders are not cool.  Going for too much gain will probably cause clipping, but that clipping might get compressed by the “Loudness Equalization” and you might get away with it, without Scooby and the gang ever foiling your dastardly plans:

set graphic EQ and save

After you click “Save” you will be able to name your mixer settings.  Hence why my mixer settings are called “buhbuhboost.”

Once you save and click “OK” you will be back at a list of Playback Devices.  With any luck, the “meters” on the device will show more gain like so:

speakers after adjusting audio settings

Now when I crank my headphones, I can say, “dang, that’s loud!” and actually turn them down.  That’s exciting!!

Happy Listening!!