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Aspire 9520g - suspect corrupt BIOS + no password for win Vista

poolekitemanpoolekiteman Member Posts: 9

Tinkerer

I have been given an Acer Aspire 9520G, that looks to have been messed about to a degree where I am on the verge of putting it on Freecycle for somebody with more time and brains than myself to try to fix. It is loaded with with Vista Home Premium and XP - the F2 key does not work to access BIOS and it only progresses through boot sequence if I tap the space bar! It boots to the win Vista sign in screen, and asks for password - which of course I do not have! 

By pressing F8 during boot, I can access "Advanced Boot Options" but I cannot see anything there which is likely to help me. did "Repair your computer" once - nothing changed.
I have tested the HDD in a caddy on my main PC - seems fine - The plan was to do a clean install of Win 10 (I have bought an install disk & product key) but I cannot get it to boot from CD unless I can change BIOS settings!

I have also bought a 16GB Sandisk USB memory stick, with a view to making a bootable stick that will do something good - but as this is something I have not tried before, I'd prefer to be flamed for my ignorance and look to you good people for advice - if I am snookered, please say so, and I'll not waste any more of your valuable time!

Details on laptop labels as follows:-
MFG date:0807 
Aspire 9520G - 6A4G25BI
Model No. ZD1
Intel WM3945ABG   CE0336
(plenty more on that label if needed)
TIA - Richard

[Edited the post due to personal or inappropriate content posted. Acer-Harvey]

Best Answer

  • JackEJackE Posts: 21,188 Trailblazer
    Accepted Answer
    >>> ideally I'd like to try Win 10, with a view to the future>>>any thoughts please?>>>

    Sure. Buy another HDD/SSD, throw it in there, and try it out. New drives are super cheap  nowadays. That's what I did on my Win7-64 era BIOS laptop which is still my workhorse machine cuz it's the most reliable and stable.

    I simply migrated/cloned Win7 from the old drive to the new drive via a USB port HDD adapter. Then replaced the old drive for safe keeping with the new one.  And downgraded the new drive from Win7 to Win10 to try it out on my old reliable laptop.  As on my newer Win10 UEFI laptop, I once again convinced myself that Microsoft's last half-way decent Windows version is still Win7.

    So with my own eye toward the future,  Microsoft's new and unimproved rapid-fire Windows life-cycle/life-ending policy ( https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13853/windows-lifecycle-fact-sheet ) seemed to be an open window of opportunity for an alternative GUI. So two years ago I dual-booted both my old Win7 and new Win10 laptops with LinuxMintCinnamon because it seemed like a very polished and easy install with painless updating.  Cinnamon can be rather easily set up to have almost the same look, feel & function of Win7. You'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference except it's faster. And the latest  Mint version gets full support till 2023, unlike the major Win10 versions where support typically ends 12-18mos after they're released.
     
    Because Mint can access, open &  edit all my Windows partitions and files, I have little or no reason to boot to Win7 or Win10 anymore. 


    Jack E/NJ   





    Jack E/NJ

FAQ & Answers

  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,188 Trailblazer
    Shut the machine off. Turn it back on again and ***IMMEDIATELY*** start mashing the F2 key to enter the BIOS menu. Don't wait for the ACER logo screen to appear cuz it's usually too late by then even with some Vista era machines. Jack E/NJ 
    Jack E/NJ
  • poolekitemanpoolekiteman Member Posts: 9

    Tinkerer

    thanks for that Jack - no joy I'm afraid - even started mashing F2 key before hitting power button!
    Strange thing, after the Acer logo screen appears, it does not progress the boot sequence unless I press another key - what's that all about?
    Then boot sequence pauses 2 or 3 times more en route to the user login screen - all of which leads me to think BIOS is corrupt - or am I missing something else?
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,188 Trailblazer
    It's possible the function Fn key behavior has been set to 'on' in the BIOS Main tab. So try Fn+F2 to try to enter the BIOS menu instead. Jack E/NJ
    Jack E/NJ
  • poolekitemanpoolekiteman Member Posts: 9

    Tinkerer

    thanks again Jack - Fn key made no difference to F2 behaviour - BUT... when I plugged in a USB keyboard, that F2 key did the trick!
    So, here I am in the Phoenix TrustedCore Setup Utility.... F12 boot menu is now enabled..... SATA mode is in AHCI mode... or do I need IDE mode?
    Interesting that only some of the Acer Function keys work... for example F5 works - F6 does not .... so I cannot advance the system date to 2019
    Also, left arrow does not work, but right arrow does work! Up & Down arrows both work ok
    All further advice gratefully accepted, as I'm not at all sure what to next (apart from F10 Save & Exit) - if Acer F10 does not work, will reconnect USB keyboard - here goes - YES! F10 worked  ok and I can now access Boot Menu with F12 key - HOORAY!
  • poolekitemanpoolekiteman Member Posts: 9

    Tinkerer

    I think I saw a thread somewhere about Acer Fn keys not working - as I still have that problem on some of the Fn keys, I'd prefer to resolve that issue, before going for a windows 10 clean install - if you could assist me to do that, I'd be very grateful (I am a pensioner and brain not as sharp as it was 50 years ago) 
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,188 Trailblazer
    You can try to re-seat the KB ribbon cable on the mainboard. The service manual seems to be available on line at manuals lib if you search aspire 9520 service manual. Replacement KBs also seem to be fairly inexpensive. Jack E/NJ
    Jack E/NJ
  • poolekitemanpoolekiteman Member Posts: 9

    Tinkerer

    so you think I have a faulty keyboard? ok - that makes sense... tried re-seating the KB connector... that made no difference... found a replacement kb on ebay for £10 which I can afford! Will post update when new kb arrives - hopefully, I can then go on to do a regular clean install of Win 10 - any tips, warnings or advice please?
  • poolekitemanpoolekiteman Member Posts: 9

    Tinkerer

    new kb arrived - works perfectly - the only question now is which version of Windows to install - ideally I'd like to try Win 10, with a view to the future, but unsure if that will be asking too much of this "legacy" machine... the alternatives are Win 7 or even Win 7 starter, which I know are very close to the end of their life, as regards support & updates from MS - JackE any thoughts please?
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,188 Trailblazer
    Accepted Answer
    >>> ideally I'd like to try Win 10, with a view to the future>>>any thoughts please?>>>

    Sure. Buy another HDD/SSD, throw it in there, and try it out. New drives are super cheap  nowadays. That's what I did on my Win7-64 era BIOS laptop which is still my workhorse machine cuz it's the most reliable and stable.

    I simply migrated/cloned Win7 from the old drive to the new drive via a USB port HDD adapter. Then replaced the old drive for safe keeping with the new one.  And downgraded the new drive from Win7 to Win10 to try it out on my old reliable laptop.  As on my newer Win10 UEFI laptop, I once again convinced myself that Microsoft's last half-way decent Windows version is still Win7.

    So with my own eye toward the future,  Microsoft's new and unimproved rapid-fire Windows life-cycle/life-ending policy ( https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13853/windows-lifecycle-fact-sheet ) seemed to be an open window of opportunity for an alternative GUI. So two years ago I dual-booted both my old Win7 and new Win10 laptops with LinuxMintCinnamon because it seemed like a very polished and easy install with painless updating.  Cinnamon can be rather easily set up to have almost the same look, feel & function of Win7. You'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference except it's faster. And the latest  Mint version gets full support till 2023, unlike the major Win10 versions where support typically ends 12-18mos after they're released.
     
    Because Mint can access, open &  edit all my Windows partitions and files, I have little or no reason to boot to Win7 or Win10 anymore. 


    Jack E/NJ   





    Jack E/NJ
  • poolekitemanpoolekiteman Member Posts: 9

    Tinkerer

    laptop did not like Win 10 disk at all - spun it up for a bit, then just turned off! Win 7 disk working ok, so will make do with that for now.
    I have tried Linux Mint Cinnamon on another old laptop (Dell Inspiron PP23LA) but gave up when I could not find a viable WIFI driver
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,188 Trailblazer
    If you made the Win10 stick using the Microsoft media creation tool, it probably won't play nice with a BIOS machine and an MBR partitioned disk. Really should use Rufus to prepare the disk with the Win10 iso. Same with Cinnamon. What Mint version did you try to use on the Dell? I'd be surprised if you had the wifi driver issues with 18.3 or 19.2. Jack E/NJ
    Jack E/NJ
  • poolekitemanpoolekiteman Member Posts: 9

    Tinkerer

    hi Jack - I tried Mint cinnamon 19.1 ... that loaded fine, but the Dell Inspiron still lacked a suitable wifi driver - tried several online recommendations from Linux users group - was stuck with Ethernet only... as regards the Win 10 install problem, I checked the disk on another PC and found the darn thing was blank! now awaiting reply from Ebay seller - Grrr!  
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,188 Trailblazer
    >>>Linux users group>>>

    The Mint forums? There's a no-nonsense user on those forums --- Altair4 --- that can probably point you in the right direction wrt the Inspiron wifi? How old is this Dell? If it's WinXP era or earlier, well that might explain it. What's its model number or its wifi adapter model? Jack E/NJ
    Jack E/NJ
  • poolekitemanpoolekiteman Member Posts: 9

    Tinkerer

    thanks Jack - it's a Dell Inspiron 1501 with 2GB of DDR2 RAM ... service tag JRVDS2J... EXPRESS SERVICE CODE 430-441-621-39... wifi adaptor is a Broadcom BRCM94311MCG... fcc id qds-brcm1020

    I plan to run a Win 10 suitability check on the Acer - still trying to figure out how to set WIFI so that it comes on automatically on boot-up - please?
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 21,188 Trailblazer
    Yeah, the Dell is XP era with 2GB max. The issue with the Dell's Broadcom wifi was solved in this old ubuntu thread. https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2077104 Should work for the newer kernels as well. Again  the LinuxMint forums are my go to place for things like this. As for the ACER wifi, usually just turning it on with the FN+F3 toggle key combo will keep it on a re-boot. Jack E/NJ


    Jack E/NJ
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