Acer 751h & Linux: Success at last!


During the last months I have been experimenting with Linux in my low-end netbook (Acer 751h), in an effort to find a faster, user-friendly and productive environment, other than than the currently installed Windows 7. I started with UNetbootin, which allowed me to create a bootable USB out of any ISO that I downloaded. Then I started downloading ISOs which I hoped that will support the really problematic GMA500...

Ubuntu latest version (12.04) installed really fine through Windows (wubi), No messing up with boot record, no weird installation options, and the most important… GMA500 support out of the box. However, the desktop was really bloated, due to the side bar (which I never liked anyway) and I cannot say that Ubuntu  was faster than Windows 7 in my netbook. So Idecided to go for another distribution.

Zorin OS looked ideal for a user coming from Windows. However, despite the numerous attempts with live USBs trying different versions, the GMA500 failed to work properly… the Core version was a mess due to problematic support of this card while the Lite version was not starting graphical interface at all! Despite the great support from the Greek Zorin OS user community, I decided to drop Zorin as well…

Easypeasy was promoted as the ideal Linux distro for netbooks, working with low-end hardware and ensuring long battery life, However, GMA was only partially supported, so I ended up with a really nice desktop but in 800×600 instead of the native 1366×768 of my GMA500. So long for this distro…

Last, but not least: Linux Mint! Instead of me trying an old version, I went straight for the latest one (13, codename “Maya”), and Cinnamon in particular, which I later found out that is not as snappy or compatible as the Matte version. However, the live USB worked great, so I decided to give it a try with a proper installation. Everything went pretty well, updates were automatically installed and I am now writing this post using my Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon installation! The only glitch I noticed is the slow playback of the YouTube videos; on the other hand, avi and mpeg videos play pretty well with the pre-installed Gnome player (VLC is really sluggish when playing the same files!).

In addition, it seems the Cinnamon version requires 3D acceleration (which is not supported), so I cannot change the theme of my desktop. However, I was pleased to see that all hardware of my netbook worked  straight from the box. For this reason, I believe that I will not change my selection and I will give Mint 13 a detailed try before I give up again!

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4 thoughts on “Acer 751h & Linux: Success at last!

  1. Hello I have the acer aspire one 751h, 2GBRam and 250 GB HDD. Upraded from vitsa to WIN7. But I like to have Linux mint on the netbook. With this kind of projects it could have a nice result or if something is going wrong you have nothing at the end. Did you have the same netbook and could manage it successfully? What where the steps? Thank you. The acer is nice isn t it. I like the standard sice of the keybord so I can write blind.

    1. Well, since then I have upgraded to 2GB of RAM, too and have tried several Linux distributions; however, I never tried Linux Mint myself since then (and it has been a really long time) so I cannot comment on its performance with Acer 751h. The process for installing a Linux distribution is easy: Just download the ISO file of the Linux distro you want, create a bootable USB flash disk using e.g. Unetbootin and then boot from the USB flash disk (you may need to change the boot order in BIOS). You will find plenty of detailed guides online.

      Ig you are not familiar with the process, make sure that you have backed up everything before you try it, as you may end up deleting your Windows 7 partition without noticing!

  2. Hello , I have tried the same version Maya and seems it is not working on the latest version of BIOS because I have updated my BIOS before trying. I own a 0751h Aspire one. So please update your post. Only thing which worked after several days of searching and downloading more than 50 distros was the Ubuntu 10.10 but in that case you need to live with 1280 resolution and need to install wireless drivers and sound drivers manually. Thanks

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. I am not sure which is the latest version of the BIOS and why this would affect a Linux installation on the 751h. In any case, I have successfully installed more than a dozen Linux distros on my 751h, including Maya (if I recall well after such a long time) – and by “successfully” I mean full display resolution (1366×768), proper sound, touchpad working etc. – all hardware working properly with no need of downloading any additional drivers.

      Since then my netbook broke, so I am not following the updates of the new Linux distributions.

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