Acer Aspire One - replacing/upgrading 8GB SSD

I have replaced the 8GB Intel SSD witha Transcend SD card broadly according to the DIY advice here

Reassembled, inserted USB live distro (openSUSE FWIW) but unable to see SD card. Obviously I was expecting to have to reformat it but it’s not mounting nor coming up with any filesystem

Should I be able to see it?

Should I try to format it (perhaps using a rescue or similar distro?

Should I format the CD in a card reader elsewhere?

Grateful for any help or advice

Is the CF card recognised by the BIOS ?

If you hit F2 during bootup, what is listed as

HDD Device Name:

and if you hit F12 during bootup, what is listed in the boot device selection screen ?

I’ve read elsewhere that some CF cards come in “removable media” mode, so aren’t seen by the BIOS, but may be able to be switched to “fixed disk” mode, where they are seen.

Thank you for replying.

HDD Model name comes up as “none” (drive light is on, helpfully)

boot order is (as written…)

  1. USB HDD: USB 2.0 DISK
  2. Network Boot: LEGACY PCI DEVICE

(live USB stick boots successfully)

My guess is you have a bad connection somewhere … from what I read (having never used one myself) about using the ZIF to CF adapters in the AA1, it may not show in the BIOS (if the CF is set to “removable media” mode), but it should show in the boot device selection screen.

See the comments here:

That link is really helpful. Thank you

I’ve tried to create a flip over cable using the various comments on the original site (but probably failed…). I think I’ve managed to order some flipover cables. I see also the comments about converting a card to fixed disc mode. Need to find out more about that too. Also I thought the black thingy was just a holder not a ferrite core anti interference device…

I’m using a Transcend card, I’ll try to track down a Linux utility

I’ll report progress back here in a few days time if/once I’ve got all the bits sorted out.

Please do … I’m VERY interested to know how you get on, as I have a couple of AA1’s myself :slight_smile:

Good Luck.

i’ve been here before and bios does not pick up either left or right cf slot i used a usb key with of put on via another pc with unetbootin after my upgrade hope this helps

You’re misunderstanding what he’s doing … it’s nothing to do with the left and right SD slots,

He’s replaced the internal SSD with a ZIF to CF (compact flash) adapter and CF card.

See the links :wink:

Some new information worth putting on the forum, I hope:

Most CompactFlash cards by default identify themselves as removable media instead of fixed disk. Which is fine for Linux, but not for Windows.

If you have to use a CF card that has the type bits set to Removable and want to install Windows XP you can work around it as follows;

Use Linux to partition the drive with a FAT32 partition (you can boot from one of the LiveCD/LiveUSB distributions for this), and set the partition bootable.
Start the install of Windows, during install you will be given the opportunity to migrate to NTFS
After the install is finished you will need to install the Hitachi microdrive disk drivers (google for, which will mask the removable bits and should allow suspend and other operations that fail on a removable drive to work.</blockquote>

Question …

Does Linux see the CF card ?

If you boot to a LiveUSB of say Peppermint, then open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T), what is the output from:

sudo fdisk -l

I’ve reinstalled my old SSD while I wait for the flip ZIF cables to turn up.

At the install stage, my live openSUSE partitioner was unimpressed, couldn’t see anything, but that might be because as you said earlier there was a connection problem.

I’m going to guess if the openSUSE partitioner couldn’t see it, neither would fdisk … so your probably right (connection issue) … let me know what happens when the flip cable arrives :slight_smile:

Just updating that I managed to order the wrong type of LIF >:(

OK - I’m stuck. The flip cables arrived today, also I managed to neatly fold a non-flip cable too

I’ve bulked up the ribbon cable to ensure a tight fit in the connectors

I’ve tried two CF cards both Transcend: 32Gb/400x and 16Gb/600x

None of the combinations proved visible to the BIOS

Attempting to install openSUSE doesn’t indicate the existence of the Transcend card either.

Either I start assuming that the adaptor is faulty and obtain another or that the original article was BS.

Any suggestions?

Are you SURE the Transcend CF cards are “Fixed Disk Mode” models ?

It may pay you to get one of these:

and attach it to a PC that has an IDE interface to check the cards are in “fixed disk mode”, and format them if necessary
(some people have suggested they won’t be detected unless formatted)

I have no idea if the CF cards are in fixed or removable mode. It was only once I started all this that I discovered that they had such a mode, never having used them previously

According to a post on another site (in full above) it is only necessary to set that bit if you are running MS Windows

According to a post in another thread the software required to set the appropriate bit is no longer available (but as I don’t use MS Windows, apparently it shouldn’t matter)

TBH I was (mis) led by the apparent simplicity of the process as presented in the jkkmobile article I posted originally (which was at least mechanically and physically accurate).

The failure in that article to mention the need for a flip cable or indeed to mention the need to put the ferrite collar in place now leads me to question the veracity of this article. My experience (I’m not that much of an idiot) causes me to question the veracity of all such articles. Indeed, some of the related posts recording despair and failure tend to support my opinion.

Happy to be convinced otherwise

It is probably late in the day for this as you must have invested considerable amount of money an time,
but have you considered to get one of those ssd’s made for the AA1

Though I haven’t tried this myself, there are enough articles online to convince me it IS possible … and it makes sense that it should be.


Unlike you, I’ve read that specifically the AA1’s BIOS will NOT recognise the CF card unless it’s set as fixed disk mode … which is a little odd, you’d expect it to list it as removeable media but maybe not be able to boot from it … but I keep reading that unless it’s set to fixed mode and formatted it’s not even recognised by the BIOS … and if the BIOS doesn’t see it it won’t be initialised and available to ANY OS.

I have a feeling I have the software to change the “mode” somewhere … but you’d still need some way of applying it … hence the link to the IDE CF reader for a PC.

On the other hand that could end up being another wasted £6 … so your call.

Let me know if you want me to try find the software that changes the “mode” … I’ve never actually tried it but I’m sure I downloaded it a while back when I was thinking of trying a ZIF to CF setup myself.

@ Sezo

Yes, he’s mentioned one of those in a PM :slight_smile:

I can vouch for the Super Talent SSD … I’ve got the 16GB version and it works a treat.

I wouldn’t say it’s hugely quicker than the original but those annoying I/O pauses(where the read/write light is constantly on) are gone :slight_smile:

Another option is to fit a Samsung HS06THB 60GB 1.8" PATA (IDE) hard drive … I know this works too as I have one in my other AA1

instructions here if you’re interested:

If you DO decide to go with an HDD … go for the Samsung, other people have managed to get the cheaper Toshiba drives to work, but they can be iffy as they use a LIF connector where the cable is thinner
(read the comments on the above link)

Speed wise, there’s nothing in it between the Super Talent SSD and the Samsung HS06THB … obviously the Samsung has more room, but the SSD is more robust and an easier fit as its a direct replacement for the standard SSD.

Was pointed to a nice CF holder on ebay that was advertised (see below) as not requiring a flip LIF cable (enabling reuse of the original cable).

£4.99 (seemingly wasted)

Does it make the blindest bit of difference? No

I think I’ll stick my original 8 GB SSD back in and leave this record here to save anyone else the trouble and expense.

Update: I haven’t buzzed it out but I decided to compare this card with the card I bought first (the one that required a flip cable) TBH I’m not convinced this one is as described as the track layout of the two PCBs looks identical.