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Aspire 5 How to expose disks to install an OS

WetGeekWetGeek Member Posts: 9 New User
I bought my wife an Aspire 5, advertised as having Windows 10.  It arrived with Windows 11 instead, and my wife hates it.  She's accustomed to another laptop with Solus OS (Linux) on it, and has asked me to please install Solus on her new laptop.  I've made the usual changes in UEFI, and installed a 500GB SATA SSD, but cannot get the disk to show up to a Solus installer, to GPARTED or KDE Partition Manager.  I suspect the Windows Boot Manager is preventing these disks from being seen by anything but Windows.  If so, how can I disable it?  There is no obvious way to do that in the UEFI settings.

Alternatively, should I just return this laptop to Amazon, as it is not as advertised?

Thread was edited to add model name to the title


FAQ & Answers

  • tttttttttt Member Posts: 1,519 Community Aficionado
    @WetGeek

    If you really hate Win 11, you can go to Microsoft web site, downloading the latest Win 10 (21H2) to a flash drive using the Media Creation Tool there. Later on, boot to this flash drive (tapping F12 when bootup and select), do a clean Windows 10 installation to a new SSD ( if I were you, I'll use a new SSD, the original SSD keep for backup or on the side in case you need to return the laptop later). Just answer "I do not have a product key" during Windows activation.

    There may not be anything wrong with the Aspire 5.

    Assuming you use a separate drive for Linux not sharing the same Windows boot drive.
    To install Linux (cannot say for all Linux distros), generally you should be careful with: 

    In BIOS, select AHCI as the SATA mode if possible
    Disable Secure Boot in BIOS if possible, this may need to setup a supervisor password in BIOS too.

    Were you using a DVD drive or bootable flash drive to install Solus OS? I guess it should not matter what drive to use, as long as after you keep tapping F12 and the Bootmenu sees the bootable Linux drive with installer on it.

    In the installer, do partitioning manually. 

    First 100 MB of the Linux drive formatted as FAT32, for ESP partition
    The rest of the space allocated for the EXT4 root and EXT 4 Home plus other partitions that you want for data.

    When finalizing the Linux installation, make sure you specify the installer to insatll the Bootloder to the 100 MB ESP partition of the Linux drive, not the UEFI partition on the Windows drive.

    See if it will work.
  • tttttttttt Member Posts: 1,519 Community Aficionado
    @WetGeek

    With your first attempt to install Solus OS, did you check BIOS if the 500GB SATA3 SSD show up there or in Win 11's Disk Management?
  • WetGeekWetGeek Member Posts: 9 New User
    i've tried most of what you've mentioned.  The two SSDs are identified in the BIOS and in Windows 11's Disk Management, but they do NOT appear in the F12 boot menu.  Or to GPARTED or KDE Partition Manager.  It occurred to me that this is Windows 11 S, and that might be further restricting what I'm able to do with this computer.  I found it easy to remove the "S" feature from tnother windows machine once,and thought I'd try that before I return it to Amazon.
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 32,078 Trailblazer
    edited January 12
    Please post a phone photo of the BIOS Information tab if possible. And we'll try to go from there.
    Jack E/NJ
  • LeostatLeostat ACE Posts: 2,364 Pathfinder
    If you mash control S on the main page of the bios does an option called VMD controler appear? 
    If you found the comment helpful hit the like button, If the answer solves your Q, hit the yes button on the bottom of the post!  I'm a UK based techi, so apologies if my help links are for the UK region site! 

    Want to know if your PC supports Windows 11? Check out the offical Health Check tool :Dhttps://aka.ms/GetPCHealthCheckApp
  • WetGeekWetGeek Member Posts: 9 New User
    Yes, that appeared, and the information panel explained what is is.  I disabled that and tried to restart, but I just got an error saying that "Your device ran into a problem and needs to restart.  You can restart."  And says the stop code is: INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE.

    But actually, I can't restart.  The power key is disabled, and there's no link or button on that page to allow me to restart.  I'm not sure I could even get back to the firmware.
  • WetGeekWetGeek Member Posts: 9 New User
    Update:  I held the power key for 10 seconds, and it shut down.  Trying again with a bootable USB "Live" installer.
  • WetGeekWetGeek Member Posts: 9 New User
    Yes!  Finally this is solved.  Based on this, apparently  VMD hides everything except the Windows drive when it's engaged,

    When I was finally able to, I installed a bootable USB with a Solus installer on it, and for the first time it was able to see the original Windows drive as an install location, not the USB key.  I'm now going to reinstall the 500GB SSD again, and install Solus there. 

    This has been an adventure for several days now, but the ACER community came through for me.  Thanks to all who offered help!  
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 32,078 Trailblazer
    There you go. Thanks for reporting back. Yes, the Intel VMD controller is the culprit. It's option is often hidden for your inconvenience till you press Ctrl+S. It's another one of Intel's not so good ideas like its rapid storage technologies (irst)  with optane memory cache,  :) I would advise however to install Linux alongside Windows if possible because there are some possible tuture firmware updates that are best installed via the Windows environment to help avoid the risk of bricking the machine.
    Jack E/NJ
  • WetGeekWetGeek Member Posts: 9 New User
    There seems to be no end of problems.  I've been able to install Solus on the 500GB drive, but that OS says that there's no WiFi adapter available.  Is that feature only available if Windows is selected at boot time?  Seems odd, but I can use the ieyboard to turn Airplane mode on and off, but if it's turned off, no WiFi is available.

    I ordered a WiFi dongle from Amazon with overnight delivery, but I won't know until tomorrow whether Solus will find that.  Is there some other hidden setting that controls whether the WiFi radio is available to other OSs?  
  • tttttttttt Member Posts: 1,519 Community Aficionado
    @WetGeek

    Seems the Solus OS doesn't have the right Wi-Fi driver for your Aspire 5. 
    It is possible that the upcoming dongle will work with Solus.
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 32,078 Trailblazer
    I'm not sure if the Solus installation is as polished as something like Cinnamon 20.2, but it certainly should have detected the wifi cards in an A515-56 as shown below. If you haven't done so already, I suggest registering and posting the issue with the wifi card model installed in your A5 on the solus forums.

    Did you try to install Solus alongside Windows or did you wipe the drive?  If alongside Windows, there is a Windows safeboot sequence that should be followed when trying to disable Intel volume mgt that might cause problems.


    Jack E/NJ
  • WetGeekWetGeek Member Posts: 9 New User
    Solus is a curated, rolling release distro, and as such, new installer .ISO files for the four desktop environments can get a little old before there are enough changes to warrant a new version number.  Solus 4.3 has been out long enought that when I installed it on her computer, the first update I ran updated 345 packages.

    It's entirely possible that it didn't support the new Intel radio initially, but it might by now.  Many device drivers have been upgraded since Solus 4.3 was brand new.

    For now, the nano dongle is working just fine.  Those 345 upgrades downloaded and installed in about 5 or 6 minutes.  I don't want to fuss with my wife's computer any more today, but tomorrow morning  I'll pull out the dongle and see if it still can't find the wifi inside the case.

    Thanks for your comment.  And I appreciate the ID of the radio in that model!
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 32,078 Trailblazer
    Good luck. I mainly do Mint 19.3 & 20.2 dual boot in just about everything.
    Jack E/NJ
  • WetGeekWetGeek Member Posts: 9 New User
    Bingo!  While my wife was eating lunch, I removed the DLink dongle from her computer, shut it down, and restarted.  The radio in the PC was found, and it displayed my 5 MHz internal network.  The dongle had only provided 2.4 MHz.  I connected with it, and all's well now.

    This PC, being very new, had Wi-Fi that the Solus installer, being rather outdated, didn't know about.  Once I did the first update, it was no longer a problem.
  • padgettpadgett ACE Posts: 4,267 Pathfinder
    Some PCs also have a SD slot in the case. I had a 128GB card in one laptop that slowed Win 11 to a crawl. 100% activity on the SD card. I am nor certain the the December release is ready for prime time.
  • JackEJackE ACE Posts: 32,078 Trailblazer
    Congrats on your success. Thanks for reporting back. :)
    Jack E/NJ
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