Installing Ubuntu on cheap Acer Aspire notebooks

07 January 2020 08:19 | Molnár Péter

I bought the following Acer Aspire notebooks in the past weeks:

  • Acer Aspire 1 A114-31-C9GV
  • Acer Aspire A315-21

These notebooks have a good price/value ratio and are suitable for lightweight browsing, multimedia and office workloads.

They come with preinstalled Endless OS, however I decided to install Ubuntu 18.04 (Xubuntu).

Linux compatibility

While the Linux based Endless OS compatibility is a good news, it is worth to mention some issues about Linux compatibility. The most important problem with these computers is the poorly implemented BIOS/EFI. There are a number of bugreports on different forums about Acer Aspire A315-41 problems.

Some users reported successful kernel boot with ACPI disabled. Linux Mint users got IVRS table and soft lockup kernel error messages. One can find Ubuntu related bugreports on Launchpad or on ubuntu-bugs mailing list. Another install note describes experiences with BIOS/EFI password. Someone tried to populate the hidden M.2 SSD socket. The InstallingDebianOn Wiki contains practices on how to reduce disk access with SSD.

BIOS/EFI

General steps in order to setting up EFI:

  1. Set an admin password.
  2. Disable Secure boot.
  3. Leave EFI boot enabled.
  4. Disable the TPM device.
  5. Turn off the admin password.
  6. Turn on F12 boot menu.

Installing Ubuntu 18.04

Create an USB installation media and connect wired network.

You can start installing Ubuntu as usual.

I suggest you to choose LVM based disk management.

Enable downloading and installing updates during install. Thus the installer automatically installs the LTS Hardware Enablement stack and the Linux kernel 5.+. Recent Linux kernels contain patches for the handling of the poorly implemented ACPI table.

Linux EFI utilities can not modify boot entries on every models. Enter to the BIOS/EFI and set proper boot order if the Ubuntu does not boot.