Friday, November 27, 2009

Installing Windows 7 on an ASUS EeePC

[Disclaimer: this clearly is not the typical Gondolin post (though one could argue that nowadays the typical post is empty - let's not even get into that); I'm posting it here because I want to share the info and I can't think of an easier place to write it to.

Dear usual readers, feel free to ignore this entirely]

I recently installed Windows 7 on my wife's netbook, an ASUS EeePC 1000HE (if you landed here looking for instructions on how to do it, see for instance this guide). Five minutes after I proudly handed it over to her, considering my task done, she noticed that the special function keys (the overloaded Fn keys that one can use for various tasks such as increasing, decreasing or muting the system volume, changing brightness, etc) were not working. I naively assumed that fixing it would be a simple task. It took me 4 hours! So I decided to try to save people's time by posting a how-to.

If you go to the ASUS download page, you can easily enough find and download drivers for your EeePC netbook. Just type the model name on the upper left hand search box, fill in the model name (in my case, "1000HE"), select the OS and it will show you links for a bunch of things. Windows 7 installation picked up most things by itself (Video, LAN, Audio), so I didn't bother to get specific drivers for them. I did download and install the "Hotkey Service Utility" (under ATK), the "Touchpad Driver" (under Touchpad) plus the "ASUS Instant Key Utility" and "ASUS Update Utility" (both under Utilities). The latter installer refuses to run and quits with a confusing error message: "WARNING ASUSUpdate only support Eee PC Product and please install the ASUS ACPI Driver First".

The symptom one would typically experience after installing the other three utilities and restarting the system is a mysterious error message popping up after logon saying "ASUS ACPI service Can't get WMI ASUSManagement Object".

The fact that ASUS Update refuses to install is unfortunate; in fact, it seems ASUS created a chicken-and-egg problem. It turns out that ASUS Update doesn't want to be installed because the BIOS version doesn't match its requirements. The error message after login is caused by the same reason. However, the easiest way to update the BIOS would be by running ASUS Update.

There are other ways of flashing your BIOS, but they are poorly documented. I had to search for hours and try multiple different things until I arrived at the following (reasonably simple) solution.

How to update an ASUS EeePC BIOS

1. Get an USB drive. It can be quite small, you will need less than 1MB in it
2. Format the USB drive using the FAT filesystem (aka FAT16). This is important. Do not use FAT32; otherwise the EZ Flash utility will freeze (specifically, it hangs saying that it's reading the file). You can do this by going to Windows Explorer, right clicking on your USB drive, selecting Format and choosing FAT. Quick format is turned on by default and should work just fine
3. Download the latest BIOS version for your netbook from the ASUS website. You don't need to do incremental steps; you can go directly for the latest version (which is the highest numbered update (in my case, it was version 1104))
4. Copy the ROM file to the USB drive
5. Rename the file to ModelName.ROM. In my case, I had to rename it to 1000HE.ROM
6. Turn the netbook off
7. Make sure the USB drive is connected to one of the netbook's USB ports (prior to turning it on)
8. Make sure you have your power adapter plugged in (because you really don't want to run out of battery in the middle of a BIOS update)
9. Turn the netbook on
10. On the initial screen, press ALT+F2 to run the EZ Flash utility
11. If it finds the pendrive, it will say so. Otherwise it will keep on an infinite loop looking for it
12. If it finds the file with the name it's expecting, it will say so. Otherwise it will complain
13. EZ Flash will then read the file and perform a bunch of operations. In my case, these took less than 5 minutes. When it's done, it will instruct you to reboot. Do it!
14. You're all set. :)


After you went through this, once you boot Windows it will stop displaying the error message and it will allow you to install the ASUS Update utility.

35 comments:

Joshua Williamson said...

Thanks for posting this info. I plan on upgrading my 1000HE to Windows 7 this weekend and checked the Bios version, and indeed there is one strictly for Windows 7 that doesn't show up under XP.
I plan to save them all to my usb drive first, before the rebuild. Possibly upgrading the Bios before wiping too.

Anonymous said...

thanks a lot works very fine

the detail about FAT was crucial

Anonymous said...

After I spent a whole evening trying different things and nothing worked. And all because of the FAT16 partition detail. Asus could really include that tiny detail with the bios update info. You are my hero! Thanks!

vindy said...

Thanks, worked straight away without any problem ! would buy you a beer if i could :) cheers!

Vinicius said...

You could write a knol with this info:
http://knol.google.com/ :-)

Stephen said...

You are my hero.

Marc said...

I was so happy to find your update, only to hbe crushed... it doesn't work at all.

I did the Fat16 thing and have been at this for like 5 hours. I'm done for now. Unreal.

Thanks though!

Anonymous said...

This is what an Internet-hero should really be like ;) thx from sweden!

Randy said...

thanks for the write up this helped a lot!!!

Anonymous said...

Life saver... thank you....

maurice said...

Thanks very much. I have managed to upgrade the BIOS on my eeePC to version 2204 thanks to your very helpful post. I will attempt the upgrade to windows 7 later. I had to try a couple of USB sticks before I could get the eee PC to recognise it after pressing alt + F2 during startup.

Maurice

KellyNg said...

It is so strange to get help from a non-IT blog. But it works like charm. Thanks from Singapore!

Misha said...

thank you so much

Anonymous said...

Just perfect

Marcel said...

Thanks for your post, it has allowed me to finish my Win 7 upgrade of my Epc 1000HE

Marcel

http://webtechnology.com.au

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much!
I've f*cked up with Win7 for many time without your advice about FAT16!

Good luck 2 u!

Anonymous said...

I`M HAPPY I FOUND YOUR POST!!Eventually I fix it!!!Thanks a lot from Kyrgyzstan!!!It works perfect!You are my heroo as well!

Anonymous said...

I`M HAPPY I FOUND YOUR POST!!Eventually I fix it!!!Thanks a lot from Kyrgyzstan!!!It works perfect!You are my heroo as well!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!!! Your info saved many hours!!! Thanks a lot from Ukraine!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank YOU!!!!! I did the exact same thing for my girlfriend... handed over the netbook with a shiny new Windows 7.... only to run into the same situation as you with your wife :) Thanks for sharing, saved me many hours also!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post! I've seen many others, but they didn't help since they didn't mention the need for FAT16 vs FAT32. Just wanted to let you know your post saved me hours of my time, even though it was posted a few years ago, so thanks!

Michalis said...

Thanks my friend. You saved my day...
I really got angry trying out so many things...
THANK YOU and a big kiss

Anonymous said...

Fucking yes!! you are awesome

Anonymous said...

It works great =) God Bless!!!

Ruben Tecnologies said...

Very good job, many tanks

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Please note that using an old USB key is better, my (not that new) USB did stuck at "Reading file"...

Jordan said...

I've had the same problem, the only thing is that even with just plain FAT formatting I get stuck with "reading file", and nothing happens.

Not sure what to do about it.

Noc77 said...

Great post you saved me, god bless you!!!

Hola! Noc77 :)

ThundaRR said...

Excellent post, I agree that the FAT bit was crucial.

Another bit of advice, for those who are stuck on "Reading File" for a long time (like more than 10 minutes). Make sure that you have fully extracted the downloaded BIOS file and that the file you rename to 1000HE.ROM is actually the ROM file, not the container file....I was busy doing other things and not paying attention, and made this goof. Once I renamed the right file, then the BIOS occurred in 5 minutes (Says "Completed" then "Start Erasing" then "Start Programming" etc through to "The BIOS Update is finished. Please press power button to shut down the system."

Anonymous said...

Damn it!! I stuck on this problem couple days and can't find a satisfied answer from asus website! But today you save my time fixing my notebook, thanks man!

Anonymous said...

thanks a lot for this!

worked at once...

IainS said...

Worked like a charm.

Thanks alot!!!

Maicon avila lucas said...

isso serve para bios com senha??

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. Clear-cut no nonsense instructions. I have a computer-geek son and a son-in-law. Now I can stand proud in their company! Denis Bourke, New Zealand

Jadwal KRL Agustus 2015 said...

thanks for your instrustion. Its work fine :)