Putting Windows 7 on the ASUS EeePC 1002HA
If you've been following my twitter lately, you might know I've been having a rough weekend trying to get Win7 to work on my ASUS EeePC 1002HA. The problem started when I upgraded and I found that when I powered the machine on, the screen would be blank unless I hit shift+F1 to put it into sleep mode and wake it up again. I tried upgrading the drivers from the ASUS download site, and that ended up getting me into a myriad of problems. However, I have finally gotten it all sorted out, and everything works like a charm. My observations on installing Win7 properly on this machine after the jump. Hopefully you read this BEFORE you start :)
Long story short, I was in a place I now call "Netbook Oroboros". In order to fix the black screen issue, I needed the latest BIOS. To install that, I needed to install the ASUS Update utility. To install that, I needed the ACPI driver. To install that properly, I needed the latest BIOS. :( Here are the solutions:
Problem: Blank screen when Windows boots up. At first I thought this was a graphics driver issue. In short, it is not. As of writing this, the latest BIOS for this model is version 1004. The description of this update is simply "Windows 7 support". Installing this bios using ASUS UPDATE (I used v1.03.4) fixed this issue. Sounds like a simple fix? It might not be if you were like me and installed Win 7 without updating your BIOS. Just see the issues below.
Problem: Cannot install ASUS UPDATE. When I tried to install ASUS Update from the ASUS download site, I got an error that says "update only support Eee PC product and please insiall the ASUS ACPI driver first. Installation will be abooted now". (update: Thanks AJ for posting the full message in the comments--I didn't get to copy the whole thing down myself). There is another way to upgrade the BIOS, which is to hold SHIFT+F2 when the machine starts to start an instant upgrade off of a USB key, but none of my USB keys were recognized, so that solution was a dead-end. The solution that DOES work is installing the ACPI driver (confusingly called the "Hotkey Utility"). At the time of writing this, the latest version is 1.11.1. Ahh, easy, right? Again, it might not be. See the issue below.
Problem: The Hotkey Utility installs, but there is still an "unknown device" in Device Manager, and ASUS Update still does not install. After the installation there are several other errors also pointing to the fact that ACPI is not recognized. You may also find that your hotkeys do not work. After much troubleshooting, I found that this was because the latest Hotkey for Windows 7 is incompatible with the BIOS I was trying to upgrade from (version 302). If you have come to this issue because of similar troubleshooting steps to the above you'll realize that you're stuck in a loop. You can't install the new BIOS because utlimately it is dependant on the ACPI working. The only solution is to revert back to Windows XP and use the ASUS Updater to upgrade to the latest BIOS. I've heard it works in recent BIOS versions, but mine was REALLY old (version 302, latest is 1004). This is why I recommend installing the BIOS before upgrading to Win7 :)
How to revert your 1002HA to XP. If you are like me and you used the Windows 7 download to upgrade, then it is likely that your restore partition is still active (yay). If this is the case, then restoring is super easy and will take about 5 minutes. All you need to do is back up any data, restart and hold F9 down while the computer comes back up, and then follow the prompts. This article goes into more detail. If you did wipe the restore partition, you'll have to locate the restore CD (and a USB CD-ROM drive). Good luck with that.
Problem: Touchpad Driver error upon startup. After going through all of that, and then reinstalling Windows 7, I found that whenever I started Windows, I'd get an error that says "CAN'T FIND TOUCHPAD DEVICE". This was confusing since there were no touchpad drivers listed on the download page for this model, or any other netbook that I looked at. Luckily I found this forum post that says to redo the search on ASUS's support site for Notebook>Drivers>Touchpad, and to download the latest Eland driver (not the Synaptics one). At the time of posting, the latest version is 7059. Installing that made the error go away and made my touchpad much more powerful.
Other observations. Install the latest Super Hybrid Engine from the download page for this model. It gives you the option to put the netbook into various power saving modes, and there is a whole button dedicated to this feature on the keyboard, so you might as well. I also read here that you should install the KB Filter, as it is actually an enhanced driver for the keyboard, not just a utility with an extremely vague definition. I found that the Windows 7 drivers for the WLAN, Bluetooth, and graphics card were more than adequate, so I kept those in place.
If you are a fellow 1002HA/XP owner, I hope that this helps. Once the correct BIOS is installed and the utilities and drivers mentioned above, Windows 7 runs REALLY smooth on the PC. I found, to my suprise, that despite the warnings from Microsoft's "Upgrade Advisor" the transparency effects of the UI work fine on the machine, and that it does not degrade performance. I think this OS handles netbooks very well.