Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Asus Eee Pc - 1005PEB-RRED01S



With Alicia's birthday coming up, I wanted to get her something I know she'll really use. She had been talking about a netbook, so I decided that would be it.

I was a little concerned about pulling the trigger without her input, so I went ahead and clued her in to my idea. She really wants one, so she agreed I could get one for her.


I had done a little research, and had narrowed my search to a couple of different makers, including Asus, MSI, and Samsung. I was definitely leaning toward the Eee Pc.

Of course, you know Alicia, it had to be pretty ;)

On a whim, we stopped by Best Buy to take a look last night, and to get a feel for the different styles and keyboards.

When we arrived, we saw the 1005PEB-RRED01S, which I hadn't read anything about online. I did a little digging on my iPhone there at the store, but didn't find much...

She immediately liked the little netbook from an aesthetic point of view, and the keyboard had a better feel than the other models. It was reasonably priced at $329.99, so we decided to go ahead and buy it. Good thing too, since first thing this morning, the price jumped to $349.99.

Happy Birthday Alicia!

When we got the little thing home, I opened it up and fired it up. I know, I know... it's Alicia's... but she was cleaning the sink, and I needed to put anti-virus on it, and get rid of all the stupid crap the manufacturer puts on there.

First boot happened pretty quickly, and I was presented with the Windows 7 wizard. I setup the basic stuff (hostname, username, etc), and it then went to an initialization screen... for TEN minutes. Took far too long, but eventually it booted up into Windows.

The laptop is pretty quick. Definitely more responsive than one would think given the low processor speed. I did the usual IT geek stuff like removing crap Asus software, Trend Micro, and some other BS that was installed from the factory. Once I was satisfied with the installed software, I got a bit adventurous...

Things get interesting...

Asus provides a utility to automatically download and update the bios. Neat.... "I'll see if they have any updates available." The installed version was 503. Sure enough, there was an update to 706.

Why not I thought?

I thought wrong.

After updating the bios to 706 (which was quite easy with the utility... next next done...reboot), the laptop no longer detected the battery!

oops. I forgot to save a copy of the original bios.... bad IT guy.

So now what?

Fortunately, Asus put a little "call for help before returning this laptop" card in the box, with a phone number for 24hr Technical Support. Surely they can provide me with an old revision of the bios, I thought....

I thought wrong... again...

So I call tech support, sit on hold for 15 minutes, and finally "Stacey" from India answers the phone.

I explain exactly what I did, and that I would like her to send me an older revision of the bios.

Here is where things get even worse!

She explains to me that the only way to fix what I've done is to restore Windows from the system restore partition.

Now, I know I'm not paid by Asus to provide tech support for Eee Pc computers... but really?

Last time I checked, I could re-install Windows as many times as I like, and NEVER get back to the old bios.

I tried explaining this... to no avail. I guess she because angry with my ignorant technical ability, and insisted I had two options.

Restore Windows or let the Geek Squad fix it.

Rather than enlightening her that I was on the Geek Squad before the Geek Squad was the Geek Squad, I simply hung up and decided to rely on my googling ability.


Fifteen minutes later, on some random asus ftp site, I had located an alternate, older revision of the bios. I flashed the bios again, and voila, we have a battery again.

Now in retrospect, had I realized how new this laptop was, I never would have tried the bios update (and I definitely should have saved a copy of the old one first). I still say Asus should eliminate the stupid woman at tech support who thinks the bios is part of Windows.

What next?

Now that the laptop was back in working order, I proceeded with normal new computer stuff... Installed Firefox, Office, and some other fun toys. I also decided to upgrade Windows with the Anytime Update utility. This worked well, and the next thing you know, she had a version of windows that would at least allow her to change her background.

N-Aero-ly Surprised!

This little thing can run Windows Aero! After the Windows upgrade, and the Microsoft Hows-My-Hardware test, Windows Aero turned on! Impressive. And it's still nice and quick.

All for now...

That's all for now, but I'll update you with more when I get to play with her toy some more ;)

Here are some pics from I'll get Alicia to upload some pictures of her's soon enough...