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Android 4.0.4 on the Acer Aspire One ZG5

Welcome back to another tech post! This time, we are going to be looking at how we can restore functionality (and I mean complete, fluid and authentic functionality) to the Acer Aspire One ZG5 (AOA150).

The Acer Aspire ZG5 comes in two packages. A cheaper linpus linux lite netbook which packs:
-1.6GHz N270 Intel Atom Processor.
-512mb DDR2  533MHz.
-Linpus Linux Lite.
-8.9″ 1024 x 600 WSVGA glossy LED backlit display.
-120GB 2.5″ 5400RPM Hitachi Hard Drive (with SDHC storage expansion slot).
-802.11b/g Atheros Wireless.
-3-Cell 23Wh battery.
-Size: 9.75″ x 6.625″ x 1.28″

And a Windows netbook which packs:
-1.6GHz N270 Intel Atom Processor.
-1GB DDR2 533MHz.
-Windows XP Home SP3.
-8.9″ 1024 x 600 WSVGA glossy LED backlit display.
-120GB 2.5″ 5400RPM Hitachi Hard Drive (with SDHC storage expansion slot).
-802.11b/g Atheros Wireless.
-3-Cell 23Wh battery.
-Size: 9.75″ x 6.625″ x 1.28″.

Aside from the difference of 512mb of RAM, the two models have absolutely no other differences. And that’s the problem. Nobody wants to run Linpus Linux Lite anymore, its old, outdated and extremely user-friendly, to the point where major functionalities are restricted. I’ve tried countless operating systems to run on the cheap 512mb RAM version from Windows XP to Netbook Ubuntu OS to Mac OS to Browser Linux and all have run extremely crappily. So ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a solution:

Android. Not just any Android version, Android x86 (which is able to run on 32 bit processors).

The latest Android OS I’ve found to have the best results is the eeepc Android 4.0 revision (download link). Now bear with me, the operating system may be out of date but most apps will still work with it. However, if you wish to run a more up-to-date operating system with the sacrifice of some performance, take a look at Android 4.3 (download link). If Android 4.3 is still too old for you, try Android 4.4 (download link) but please note that I did not have a smooth experience with Android 4.4.

If you wish to choose your own version and flavor, go here (for older versions of Android x86). Go here if you’d like to check out the most recent versions of Android x86.

Lets move on. Now that you have downloaded your ISO image, you’re going to have to flash it to a USB stick so you can boot the ZG5 from it and install the OS. I recommend using Rufus (download link). When you first download Rufus, it’ll be found in as a .exe file, just run it. Insert your flash drive and ensure that it is selected from the drop down menu labeled “device”. Next, click on the icon with a disc over a disk drive as shown below:

Now select the ISO file you just downloaded and click “start”. Beware, once you click start, there’s no going back. Whatever you have on the drive will be erased. Now sit back and relax. The word “ready” below a green status bar will be displayed when finished. Now its time to head over to the laptop.

Plug the USB drive in and power on the ZG5 while pressing and holding the key “F12”. The boot menu will now appear. Use the arrow keys to move the cursor next to the option USB HDD -name of your USB- and press enter. The OS will now boot from the drive. You will now be presented with a splash screen asking you to choose one of three options, live CD boot without installation, live CD boot with VESA, and live CD debug mode. Highlight live CD boot with VESA and press enter to start the setup. A screen of text will appear and at the bottom it will say”detecting Android x86″, be patient, the operating system is loading. You will then be presented with a screen where you must choose which partition you wish to install Android x86 on. Whatever it is you choose, make sure its name starts with “sda” and not “sdb”. SDB is the partition on the USB drive and we don’t want to touch that until after installation is complete. The setup will then ask you if you wish to format the partition. Format with “ext3” by selecting it and pressing enter. EXT3 is a filesystem most commonly used for Linux (just like how NTFS is used for Windows). The setup will then prompt you if you’re sure you want to format the partition, select and press enter on “yes”. Another prompt will ask you if you’d like to set up GRUB (which is a bootloader). Highlight and select “yes” once again. One final prompt will ask you if you’d like to install the system directory as read write. Highlight and select yes. Doing this will allow us to install and run apps later on. Setup will begin to write the OS to the partition you selected. Once the writing is done, setup will ask you if you’d like to reboot or continue to a live session. Highlight and select reboot and remove your USB stick when the laptop powers off.

Android x86 should now be installed. You can download apps from the Playstore or using the browser (browse for APKs). Access you notification center by clicking and dragging up from the bottom right of the screen. Volume can be controlled by using the volume keys along the function keys on the keyboard. Pressing the power button will put the computer to sleep. And also, the camera does work.

Issues: There is only one issue that I’ve found with running Android x86 on the ZG5 . When closing the lid and opening it again, the mouse cursor freezes and can’t be moved. To remedy this, tap the power button.

Thanks for reading, if all goes well feel free to drop a share.

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