Installing Easy Peasy Linux on my Acer Aspire One netbook

Acer Aspire One

I bought an Acer Aspire One ZG5 netbook a few weeks ago. This model has the 120GB hard disk, 1GB RAM and runs Linpus Lite Linux, a Fedora-based Linux distro. Reading around various forums, it seemed a number of people were having problems installing software on their Aspire One running Linpus so I thought I’d install a Ubuntu distro as I already have an old desktop PC happily running Ubuntu 8.10. I had seen a blog post by Knightwise some weeks ago on his favourable experiences installing Easy Peasy Linux on his Acer Aspire One so I thought I’d have a go with this too. Easy Peasy is the new name for the UbuntuEEE distribution. It’s a Ubuntu Network Remix (UNR) of the standard Ubuntu release to enable it to work better on devices with small screens such as netbooks. It installs Firefox with Flash and Java, Skype, Google Picasa, Songbird etc. out of the box and Knightwise had no problems with the installation on his netbook and seemed quite pleased with it.

easy peasy

I’m going to go through the steps I took to install Easy Peasy, aimed at the new Linux user, like myself. I believe quite a few inexperienced users will be ‘sold’ this netbook/Linpus combination because of its price (somewhat cheaper that the Windows XP version) and the straightforward user interface and then may well run into problems when they try to install software. So here goes. It might look a bit daunting but it’s quite straightforward when you work through it.

Before you start, you will need two USB sticks or thumb drives and access to a desktop PC with a DVD optical drive because the Acer Aspire One doesn’t come with an optical drive. The USB sticks must be configured to use the FAT32 file system. If necessary, to change the file system of the USB drive, you just need to right-click on the drive icon in the My Computer screen and select Format, then choose FAT32 for the file system. Of course, reformatting your drive means nuking any data on it, so save whatever you need first. You’ll need a 2GB USB drive for the Linpus recovery drive and another 2GB drive for the Easy Peasy install. Once you are happy with the new Easy Peasy install, you can overwrite the USB stick with the Linpus install. You can always recreate it again from the DVD if required.

So first, we have to create the Linpus recovery USB stick should we run into problems with the new Easy Peasy install. You may have already done this when you bought your Aspire One, if so skip to the next section.

Creating the Linpus recovery USB drive

Your Acer Aspire One should have come with a Recovery DVD. Put this in your PC’s DVD drive and plug in the first USB stick. Reboot the PC. Your PC should boot from the DVD (if it doesn’t, you’ll have to change the boot order in the BIOS so that the PC boots from the DVD first). To enter the BIOS, you’ll need to press the Delete or F1 key (depending on your PC) while the PC is booting.

Once the PC has booted off the Linpus recovery DVD, choose the option Create USB recovery drive. Follow the on-screen prompts to select the USB drive. Takes about 3 minutes to create the Linpus recovery USB drive. Then remove the DVD and press Exit. Leave the USB drive plugged in. The PC then reboots back into Windows.

Check the boot order on your Aspire One

To check the boot order so you can boot your netbook off this USB stick, plug the Linpus recovery USB drive into one of the USB ports on your Aspire One. As the netbook is booting, press the F2 key for the BIOS setup. You’ll see the prompt on screen as the netbook boots. Go to the Boot menu, select your USB drive and use the F5 key to move it up to position 1. Press F12 to save this set-up and exit.

The netbook will now boot off the USB drive and you can reinstall Linpus Linux onto the netbook hard drive from here should anything go wrong. If your USB drive is unplugged, your system will boot off the hard drive.

Creating the Easy Peasy USB drive

Now we’re ready to create our Easy Peasy install on the second USB drive but first we have to download the Easy Peasy iso file. Boot your Aspire One with no USB drive attached, open your browser and go to the Easy Peasy website. Download the iso file to your Downloads folder. It’s about 860MB so may take a couple of hours to download depending on the speed of your internet connection.

To install a bootable copy of this iso file on your USB stick you will need a bootloader program. I’ve used UNetbootin and you can download it here. Make sure to download the Linux version. Again, download to your Downloads folder. You’ll need to make UNetbootin executable. In the File Manager, highlight the file and go to Properties, Permissions tab and check the box against Allow file to be run as a program.

Now, when I double clicked UNetbootin, I got the message: UNetbootin must be run as root. Use:

sudo /mnt/home/Downloads/Unetbootin-linux-319

But when I tried this command in the Terminal, I was advised I needed to install the programs mtools and p7zip.

To add these programs, I first enabled right click desktop menus by clicking on the desktop, selecting the Behavior tab and under menus, checked Show desktop menus on right click. Then right clicking on the desktop, I chose System and then Add/remove programs. This runs pirut which needs your admin password. I searched for the software I needed to install: mtools and installed it, then p7zip and installed it. I found I also had to install p7zip plugins before UNetbootin would run.

So back to the terminal window and type:

sudo /mnt/home/Downloads/Unetbootin-linux-319

Unetbootin

Click Disk Image, keep ISO in the drop down box and browse to the Easy Peasy iso file in the Downloads folder. Select your USB drive from the drop down box then click OK. Easy Peasy Linux will now be installed on your USB drive. Once installed, close all windows and restart the netbook with the Easy Peasy USB drive in place.

The netbook will boot off the USB drive and you can now install Easy Peasy Linux. On the partitioning screen I chose Guided – Use entire disk as I didn’t want to retain the old Linpus install on a partition.

easy peasy screenshot 1

I’ve been running Easy Peasy for a couple of days now with no problems. Connected to my wireless network without problems and straightaway I could share files with my Windows PC over the wireless network. YouTube videos play without problems and Skype is loaded ready to go.

And that’s about it. Hope this guide is clear enough to get you through the install. If you found problems following it, let me know and I’ll update it. Although I’ve used an Acer Aspire One, the procedure should work to install this Ubuntu distro on any netbook. If you found it useful, please Digg, Stumble, tweet or bookmark on Delicious using the links below.

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40 Responses

  1. Installing Easy Peasy Linux on my Acer Aspire One netbook | Tech … Says:

    [...] posted here:  Installing Easy Peasy Linux on my Acer Aspire One netbook | Tech … Category : Acer Aspire One / [...]

  2. Anonymous Says:

    1MB of ram? Are you kidding? I think it’s 1GB of ram, not 1MB.

  3. techandlife Says:

    Thanks for spotting that. Have corrected it.

  4. tad Says:

    Thanks for that. I’ve just put ubuntu netbook remix on my aspire one (8Gb SSD) aand it’s nice but no wireless. I’ve found a couple of articles on fixing that but they involve half a book of terminal instructions.
    You are saying easypeasy works straight away? What is the difference between easypeasy and the standard ubuntu netbook remix?
    Cheers Tad

  5. techandlife Says:

    Easy Peasy was formerly known as Ubuntu Eee and uses the Netbook Remix interface.
    Yes I had no problems getting Easy Peasy to work. Wireless was real simple to set up. No terminal work at all! It detected my network card no problems and all I had to do was key in my WPA passphrase. Only problem so far is that it won’t load Skype.

  6. tad Says:

    OK thanks. I may try the terminal stuff and if unsuccessful try easy peasy.
    I have read somewhere though that there may be an issue with easy peasy on a machine with SSD (like mine) -something about it writing to the disk a lot and wearing it out(?)

  7. Yarik Says:

    Thanks for a comprehensive how-to-guide! Bought the AA1 over the weekend so planning to install the Easy Peasy soon. Two questions: I went to the UNetbootin website and they have many different versions, Which one should I download? Fedora 7, Fedora 8 or some other one? Also, could you please outline the steps for installing mtools and p7zip? Sorry for all the questions – I’m a Linux n00b :)

  8. Yarik Says:

    Please ignore my first question – looked at the UNetbooting website and saw that there are only two options. But if you could explain how to install mtools and p7zip I would really appreciate it.

  9. techandlife Says:

    Yarik,

    I’m a complete Linux n00b too! Problem is I only used Linpus for a short while before installing Easy Peasy so I can’t go back and check what I did in detail. I did take some notes during the install and used those to make this post. Try following my instructions in the post for enabling right click on the desktop, going to add/remove programs and searching for mtools and p7zip. Do each one separately and install it after the search has found it. I do remember it was important to install p7zip plugins too. It will show up in the p7zip search. Hope this helps.

  10. Yarik Says:

    Thanks! :)

    Will give it a try this coming weekend – I can already see that I’m not going to be happy with Linux linpus, even though I managed to download Skype and VLC

  11. camacho Says:

    Hi there,
    Sorry, you have a lot of newbies around! Here’s another one. I’m running Easy Peasy from the USB just to try it out before installing. It works and looks great except for the webcam and the microphone. Have you had problems with them as well? Would they work if I install it properly on the HD?
    Thanks for your help

  12. tad Says:

    Another thanks. I installed easyp and the wireless works.
    I put it on at work where I only had access to windows xp os (now I’ve upset everyone) -it was even more straightforward than the above.

    1) Formatted a 2Gb usm pen with FAT32 (My computer/rclick device/format)
    2)Downloaded easyp .iso from the site you gave to desktop
    3)downloaded the UNetbootin from the site you gave (but the Windows version)
    4)Used UNetbootin to load easyp onto the pen.
    5)started the acer with pen in (tapping F12 to select boot priority)-and that was it -had wireless which I straightaway used as there were about 300 updates.
    At no point was I asked to load any additional software.

    EasyPeasy is like ubuntu netbook remix but with the logo. I’ll have to investigate that thing about it’s suitability for SSD’s.
    Sorry camacho I havn’t tried the functions you are worried about.

  13. techandlife Says:

    tad, Yea it’s probably easier to install the iso on the USB stick using a Windows PC, especially if you’re more familiar with Windows than Linux, but I was aiming the post at new users who only had a netbook+Linpus and had to use that to put the iso on the stick.

    camacho, I can’t get Skype to run yet so I’m not sure about the webcam and mic myself. I’ve searched on the net and found that the default configurations in Skype can give errors. May just need a bit of tweaking.

  14. tad Says:

    I was pointed in the direction of this site from which I fixed most of the bugs. I think you can get Skype working from there too.
    http://www.ubuntu-eee.com/wiki/index.php5?title=User_Guides

  15. Chad Says:

    This seems quite helpful, but I have a 160GB ZG5 with XP and am wondering if anyone knows if I can revert to factory settings if I do not like Easy Peasy?

  16. techandlife Says:

    Once you’ve installed Easy Peasy on the netbook you can’t click a button to restore to factory settings. In the first part of the post I described how to create a Linpus recovery USB drive. This is the way back to your original Linpus setup. Just use this to reinstall Linpus but be sure to back up any data you have created on the netbook first.

  17. Juscelino M. Acevedo Says:

    Very informational. Especially since I was not aware that you can change the operating system on a netbook with such ease.

  18. john Says:

    Thanks for the post, I installed it on my aspireone 8gb SSD and it works great, except for the sound (either none, or very very low) and the multi card reader won’t recognize any cards. Anyone have any luck with these?

  19. tad Says:

    Go to my last comment (#14) and use that link to show how to set up sound

  20. jim Says:

    hey,

    great instructions! I am currently running easypeasy from my jump drive, but the wireless won’t work. I hated Linpus[skin disease???;)], so I installed UNR 9.04 thinking the wireless would still work. I am having the exact same issue in easypeasy-I put my WPA2 passcode in, and it finds the network, but it won’t connect. Also, in Network Config, it changes the password to gibberish. I have tried almost everything in UNR to no avail.

    Just to recap,
    i am running easy peasy 1.1
    I have an acer aspire one ZG5
    My wireless router is a new d-link
    and my security is WPA2-Personal

    If anyone knows how to fix this, please let me know.

    Regards,
    Jim

  21. dominique Says:

    hey, I read your comment jim Says:
    …………….
    (June 9th, 2009 at 10:48 pm
    hey,

    great instructions! I am currently running easypeasy from my jump drive, but the wireless won’t work. I hated Linpus[skin disease???;)], so I installed UNR 9.04 thinking the wireless would still work. I am having the exact same issue in easypeasy-I put my WPA2 passcode in, and it finds the network, but it won’t connect. Also, in Network Config, it changes the password to gibberish. I have tried almost everything in UNR to no avail.

    Just to recap,
    i am running easy peasy 1.1
    I have an acer aspire one ZG5
    My wireless router is a new d-link
    and my security is WPA2-Personal

    If anyone knows how to fix this, please let me know.

    Regards,
    Jim)
    ………………………
    and i have the same problem so i found out this “Well the only thing I can suggest is that you are using the wrong type of encryption. When the data (including the password) is sent to the router it is encrypted. That means it doesn’t send your password it sends your password encrypted, which may look like gibberish to you. There are different types of encryption. The two main types are WEP and WPA. First find out what type your router uses. It should say in network manager. Then somewhere look for where you can slect the type. Both WEP and WPA have different types like preshared or passphrase. You need to try them all untill you get the right one.

    Hope this helps!

  22. Akhila Says:

    Hi,

    I love your step by step guide to install easy peasy. I’m a complete novice at linux and want to change over to easy peasy on my AA1. I followed all your steps but I don’t see the partitioning screen you talk about. I don’t want to retain the linux OS but it seems that I don’t have an option to partition my drive. Right now I have ubuntu running off my USB drive and when I restart after removing the drive, it goes back to the old linux OS. I love ubuntu and I want it to be my sole OS. Please help!

  23. satannoy Says:

    you can reviews & buy netbook at Reviews Netbook

  24. Randy Says:

    I’d like to see an answer to Chad’s question above since I’m in the same situation having XP. Can I partition my 160G Hard drive and install there?…”This seems quite helpful, but I have a 160GB ZG5 with XP and am wondering if anyone knows if I can revert to factory settings if I do not like Easy Peasy?”

  25. techandlife Says:

    Randy, I can’t help with dual booting Easy Peasy and XP or reverting to factory settings. My AA1 came with Linpus and I just wanted to replace it with Easy Peasy.
    I’ve come across a few sites which might help guide you through the dual boot process:
    http://www.linuxhaxor.net/2009/04/28/nixies-linux-haxor-quickie-learn-how-to-install-ubuntu-linux-in-5-minutes/
    http://linnewbies.com/howtos/dualboot.php
    http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?pid=623344
    http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?id=71675
    Obviously, the key thing is not to use the entire disk when installing Easy Peasy. Set up a new partition, either in Windows before you install Easy Peasy or during the Easy Peasy install.
    Hope this helps. If anyone has practical experience with dual booting here or resetting an AA1 with XP back to factory settings, please drop a comment. Thanks.

  26. Steve Says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the tutorial, seems very thorough. I’ve just brought as Aspire 1 today and am in the process of downloading Easy Peasy now – I have certain ‘allergies’ to Windows.

    Anyway, I’m fairly good with Linux but installing it on a machine without a cd drive had me stumped.

    Think I’ll be ok from now on in – if I have any problems or find any fixes to the problems about I’ll let ya know.

    Cheers!

  27. Steve Says:

    Akhila – When you boot up from the USB it loads the OS but does not install it. To install you need to click on the Desktop tab on the right and then double clikc on the install icon – this will start the installer and bring up the partitioner.

    You should be able to dual boot by resizing the windows partition from within the installer – no idea about restoring to default though. If I need to do this I’ll post instructions.

  28. William Says:

    Brilliant. I was about to chuck out my 18 month AA1 Netbook because the Installed Firefox browser had become hopelessly outdated and could not be updated, the built in software updater had stopped working and although supposed to it would not work with a 3Mobile Dongle. Then I came across your blog. I followed the instructions and to cut a long story short now have a cracking little piece of kit that in many respects is as good as a full size laptop. I’m delighted and really grateful to you for sharing your knowledge and expertise.

  29. techandlife Says:

    Glad you found the post helpful William. I’ve actually moved on to Ubuntu Netbook Edition (10.10) now as I had occasional problems connecting to my wireless network with Easy Peasy which I’ve never had with UNE. But if Easy Peasy is working for you that’s great.

  30. kat Says:

    can i use an external hard disk instead of a usb flash disk?

  31. techandlife Says:

    kat – sorry, I’ve never tried that. Instead of the flash drive, you would be using UNetbootin to install Easy Peasy on your external hard disk and then changing the boot order to boot up from that to install Easy Peasy on your netbook. Rather than mess with your external drive you might be better just to pick up a USB thumb drive. They’re really quite cheap.

  32. Melanie Says:

    Thanks for the instructions, was really useful and worked first time with no problems- first time since I bought this netbook!!!

  33. techandlife Says:

    That’s great! Nice to see that people are still getting something from this post.

  34. Clare Says:

    Thank you so much for this article! I actually only used it to work out how to create the recovery USB drive for Linpus. I experienced difficulties which seem to have been experienced by many users – my Aspire One’s network centre stopped working and I couldn’t pick up wireless networks. I tried several fixes I found online but none worked and after months of just letting the machine sit unused I decided to try the final answer – use the recovery DVD. Only, part of the reason it had taken me so long to get to this point was that I didn’t have an external drive to put the DVD in, or a USB drive to use. By the time I got around to getting a USB drive I found it quite difficult to work out what I needed to do (and searching online confused the hell out of me). Your step-by-step instructions made it so easy, thank you so much! Now my machine is back up and running and connecting to the net – just in time to take it on a round-the-world trip :) Thanks!

  35. An EasyPeasy makeover for my Acer Aspire One Says:

    [...] website, although the instructions for installing it are not all that clear. Instead I followed the instructions I found here on techandlife.com. I cut a corner by not bothering to make the recovery drive for Linpus – I was confident that [...]

  36. JL Says:

    has anyone successfully configured a Siera Aircard 250U 3G/4G to run with Easy Peasy? Tried to get it to work with Knoppix Live from a USB flash drive with no luck. Please advise. THanks

  37. paddy688 Says:

    Thank so much for this. I have given my AAo a new lease of life – it looks so cool in Dec 2011. Much better than Kuki. Even WiFi & Skype work 1st time!

  38. rich will Says:

    hiya, followed info…. no drammers! can’t find the whole “Show desktop menus on right click” clicked on the desktop icon, the only behaviour tab i can find is in the “preferances” under “edit” 2hrs with no luck here
    many thanks

  39. rich will Says:

    well i managed to enable show desktop menu’s on right click by pressing alt +f2 and typing xfce-setting-show but now when i click on the desktop i can’t find the add/remove programmes part.

  40. Michael Says:

    Installed to run from USB stick will not shut down my AA1 or laptop properly and changes made during the session are not saved I think this is lost with the problem shut down. Any fixes for this. Tried Ubuntu disk creator boot loader does not work although fine with 11.10 strange any thoughts.

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