22 March 2009

System recovery for an EEE PC

My netbook lost its wireless connection after some brief experiments with a wirelss flash disk dongle. And a netbook without a live Internet connection is like a birthday without a party. So I bit the bullet yesterday, wiped out the old system, and installed a replacement. Drastic measures maybe - but possibly the quickest way to find a solution. For the benefit of those who have not done it before, here's how it's done.

You need a USB flash disk larger than 2GB. I got a tiny 4GB jobbie from my local MicroDirect for less than a tenner. Then you use the two recovery CDs that come with the original kit - and another PC of course, since the EEE PC has no disk drives. First you prime the USB flash disk, then you copy onto it the full installation program.

Next, plug the flash disk into the EEE PC and start up, keeping your trigger finger on the ESC key. This allows you to interrupt the boot-up process and select the 'boot from USB' option. It takes about five minutes, and - hey presto! - you're back to the original factory settings.

I was mightily relieved when it located both wireless systems within range of my study - but remember that you'll need your encryption key to make a new connection. There's also another delay, because the recovery disks were created in 2008, and the software updates itself automatically. So give it a chance to do that.

Boy - I went to bed happy, and watched Shirley Horn and Miles Davis on YouTube. Not a bad day all round, because I had also managed to re-start my car after a flat battery, and I also assembled a new office chair from a Chinese flat-pack without even reading the instructions.

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