The main problem with installing Windows XP on an Acer 4310 notebook always comes back to the wireless lan. You will oftentimes see an error code 39, and be told that the driver is corrupt or missing. The problem with the wifi card seems to be specific to the broadcom 802.11b/g adapter. This same chipset would appear to be the basis for the 802.11g. Here lies the problem: you can't use a 802.11b or 802.11g driver. When you try to do so, you get the code 39 error.
With that in mind, I'm going to put up a brief but detailed tutorial that describes how to correct the problem and get your Acer notebook up and running. This is the method I followed when working on my wife's 4310, and it works every time. Keep in mind, however, that I am going to approach this from a fresh build perspective with a slicked hard drive, with the OS being Windows XP SP3. I would recommend that you slick your hard drive and do a fresh install to avoid in conflicts. Also note that in the relevant step I'm going to throw an idea out there for all of the dual-booters out there who have a Linux distro and need to run nds-wrapper or have no connectivity at all. I'm not sure if this works because I haven't tested it. So if it does work then that's great for everyone. Just make sure you put something in the appropriate forums for others.
Now! To get your Acer 4310 Aspire Notebook up and running with Windows XP SP3 installed do the following:
- You will need all of the latest drivers for your Notebook dating from 12-08-2008. Go here and download them all EXCEPT for the wireless lan driver. You want an older version, preferably from the timeframe of BIOS rev V1.10, and if you've got the factory driver DVD handy you should be set. For some very wierd reason I had to use older drivers. Further, the later driver zip files for the wireless lan doesn't contain the file you're looking for. Get all of your files together and unzip them, then burn them to a DVD or several CDs.
- Now, you'll need to slick your hard drive. The best and safest way to do this is with a utility such as DBAN, with the second choice being Kill Disk Just grab one of these and burn the ISO image to a CD and you're set. Now, the question may arise as to why these utilities should be used. First, they're free. And second--this is the important part--these utilities will not harm your hard drive. Low Level Formatting has been known to damage the platters and landing zone on hard drives. This is, in a word, BAD. Plus, by slicking the hard drive you have no chance of encountering any problems during installation. Kill Disk takes about an hour or so to wipe the hard disk, while DBAN will take about 3 hours. I use DBAN, but Kill Disk will work just as well.
- Now comes the fun part. Install Windows. For those who are having a hard time with the Windows install hanging on your Aspire, slicking the hard drive with DBAN or Kill Disk will almost always prevent that. Nuff said.
- Now, install all of those new drivers you just downloaded. Start with the chipset, then add sound, synaptic for the touchpad, video, modem, etc. Install the lan controller (not the wireless lan) last.
- Now, open up device manager by right clicking on My Computer and in system properties go to the hardwar tab, and then click on device manager. You'll see that wireless card glaring at you with an exclamation point and sporting an error code of 39.
- Select the wireless card and right click on it, then click "Update driver..." and click next
- Click "No, not this time" and click next
- Select "Install from a specific location" (advanced) and click next
- Click "Don't search. I will choose the driver to install" and click next
- If it has not done so already, the card should identify itself as "Broadcom 802.11g Network Adaptor". If not, that's just as good because even though it has identified itself, that's not the driver you want. Click "Have Disk" and navigate to where you stashed the older wireless drivers (CD, DVD, or somwhere on your Desktop).
- And here's the prize: from the driver list select Broadcom 802.11 Multiband Network Adapter and install it. You should immediately see your wireless come online, and the error code should go away in the device manager. Problem is solved!
Now, two things. First, the driver I used has the following date and version number:
If you run into problems, check the date and version.
Second, those Linux folk who are having connectivity problems with this adapter should see if there is a similar multiband driver available. That should cure the problem--again, I'm not sure because I haven't done that. But it should.