In its infinite wisdom, Asus has stripped the Eee of any optical drive. It's a good idea because with 4GB of storage, this drive is really not useful. This lightens the machine and increases the machine's autonomy. However, it is sorely lacking in a simple situation, when you want to change the OS or reinstall it.
In the box of your Eee, you have a system recovery DVD. If you've been following the blog since its inception, you've already read how to reinstall from an external DVD drive. If you have an EeePC SFR, the problem is quite tricky since the package does not include a Xandros recovery DVD. You will therefore first have to download an ISO image of the DVD and burn it. That's not a problem, thanks to the dedication of two members of the Hardware.com and blogeee.net forums, the Asus DVD image files are available online.
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If you don't know how to burn an ISO file, there are plenty of tutorials on the internet. You can use the very good CD Burner XP which is free.
Once you have your burned DVD in hand, you need to be able to communicate with the Eee. The easiest solution is to buy an external USB DVD drive. It's not the most economical (prices fluctuate between 50 and 150€...) but it will do you a lot of good.
The other solution to exploit your DVD is to use a universal USB connection accessory. If you have a DVD drive in your PC, you can use it with this type of accessory which allows you to connect any peripheral (IDE or SATA) to a USB port. In practice, connect the connector to your DVD player (machine off if you are using a DVD already present in a tower) then power it with the mains unit provided and finally connect it via USB to your EeePC.
A third, more roundabout way comes from a blog reader, Roger, who used his External USB hard drive enclosure to plug in an old DVD player.
This very popular type of box is not very expensive and has the enormous advantage of being able to serve as removable storage for the machine.
Finally you have the option of using a USB key to store the DVD image and use it on the Eee. An easy-to-use utility running under Windows is provided by Asus on the recovery DVD. Thanks to it you can transfer the complete image of the DVD to a USB key and boot from it. Video demonstration.
[vimeo 650349 nolink]
Please note, as you have seen, the key is first reformatted in FAT16, the data present on the key will therefore be lost. You need a USB key of at least 1GB, there are major brands from 6.90€. Insert your key in a machine equipped with a DVD reader under Windows, insert the Asus restoration DVD in the reader and, under Windows, you will have an automatic menu which will be displayed. Go to "Utilities" and then to "Asus Linux USB Flash Utility".
You can then format and copy the files from the DVD to the key, the utility taking care of making it bootable. Once this operation is done, you can insert the correctly prepared USB key into your EeePC and there, start your ultra portable.
[vimeo 652185 nolink]
When booting, press the "ESC" key located at the top left of the keyboard to choose which device to start on. Choose the USB key with the arrows of the Eee and press Enter. The reinstallation begins immediately and before starting to overwrite the old system, the program asks you to confirm your order by typing "YES" followed by Enter on the keyboard.
5 to 10 minutes later you have a system like new. If a black screen appears during the reinstallation, do not panic as long as the operating LED of the SSD disk is working.
Finally, note a small detail that is important. Installing Windows XP can be done in the same way... either via an external DVD drive, very simply, or via a USB key, much less simply...
In both cases all the necessary drivers and utilities are available on the Asus DVD. Even the Synaptics driver which allows scrolling on the touchpad... It is just invisible on the first page of the drivers given the resolution of the EeePC. You have to click on the small arrow at the bottom right to change the page.
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