You just got your new eeePC with Linux OS on it. This is specific version of Linux (XANDROS) that has its own unique user interface, modified by ASUS. Interface is very simple, easy and intuitive to use and offers the whole productivity software suit preinstalled. However, it is not compatible with other common flavors of Linux and you would not be able to enjoy completely the whole new world of Open Source Software. In this case, you may decide to move into more common direction and install Windows XP on your eeePC.
Linux version of ASUS eeePC 901 netbook comes with two solid state hard drives, 4G (configured as a master drive) and 16G (configured as a slave drive). 4G Solid State Drive seems to be faster and Linux is installed on 4G. While this is not required, I would recommend using this drive for Windows installation. I will cover both versions of installation.
Let’s consider that you already have your copy of Windows XP installation disk.
ASUS eeePC 901 netbook does not have integrated CD or DVD ROM. This means that you have to use one of available USB ports to connect external USB CD/DVD ROM. You may also make bootable USB flash drive and move Windows installation files there. I’m assuming that you have USB CD/DVD ROM and if you don’t, I would recommend buying universal 3.5/2.5/SATA USB adapter.
You can use it to connect internal IDE DVD ROM. I purchased this one together with eeePC and it works well for me. One thing that I like about this adapter is that it could also be used to connect 3.5 IDE, 2.5 IDE or SATA hard drives to USB, meaning that I have universal backup solution. And if you’ll look at the price, you’ll realize that this is less expensive option, compared to ready to go external USB CD/DVD ROM.
OK. You have all that you need to proceed. It is time to plan OS installation. By saying this I mean that I’m considering more than one OS on my eeePC. I want to install Windows XP on 4G or 16G SSD and then, install Ubuntu Linux on one of these drives or, may be, on SDHC card. I would recommend installing Windows first, because Ubuntu is capable of taking care of modifying partitions and making multiboot menu bootloader. In fact, Ubuntu comes with complete set of powerful and simple to use tools for partitioning, modifying partitions and arranging multiboot startup options. The easiest way of taking advantage of this Ubuntu capability is to make clean install of Windows XP and arrange multiboot later. We are planning to do clean install and you will loose all previous data. Backup all data that you want to keep. I don’t care about backup, because I just got eeePC and there is no my data on it. Original Xandros Linux could be reinstalled from CD and you don’t have to worry about this.
1. Installing Windows XP on 4G master drive of EeePC 901.
Connect USB CD/DVD ROM to EeePC. Start EeePC, press F2 and enter BIOS.
Verify that boot order in Hard Disk Drives is set so, that SM will boot first (default setting).
Set USB device to be first boot device in Boot Device Priority menu.
Disable Quick Boot and Quiet Boot options simplifying access to BIOS. It would be hard to enter BIOS with Quick Boot and Quiet Boot enabled.
Startup from Windows XP Setup Disk. Remove all partitions from 4Gig and 16Gig drives. Select 4Gig drive for Windows XP installation. You may partition 16Gig drive with NTFS before installation. Or you may do this later, after Windows installation. I plan to use 4Gig drive for system files and 16Gig for data and additional software installation.
Follow setup instructions. It’s straight –forward installation and should be the same as installing Windows on any PC.
The last step would be installation of EeePC specific WinXP drivers. These drivers are located on Linux Support CD. Don’t be confused by this name. It contains Windows XP drivers and installation utility. After completion of driver installation you will get fully functional version of Windows XP, installed on eeePC.
2. Installing Windows XP on 16G slave drive of EeePC 901.
a) Leaving 4G drive as first boot device and installing Windows XP on 16G slave drive
Leave the same boot order as in previous installation.
Startup from Windows XP Setup Disk. Remove all partitions from 4Gig and 16Gig drives. Select 16Gig drive for Windows XP installation. You may partition 16Gig drive with NTFS before installation. Setup will offer you to create small partition on 4Gig drive. The purpose of this partition is to contain MBR that will redirect to 16Gig drive. Create this small partition on 4Gig drive and install Windows XP on 16Gig drive.
Follow setup instructions. Repeat the last step from the previous installation.
b) Installing Windows XP on 16G slave drive without additional partition on 4Gig drive.
Change the boot order in BIOS. Start EeePC, press F2 and enter BIOS. Set the boot order in Hard Disk Drives menu so, that SS disk (slave disk, 16Gig disk in case of EeePC) will boot first and SM disk (master disk, 4Gig disk in case of EeePC) will be second in HDD boot order.
Startup from Windows XP Setup Disk. Remove all partitions from 4Gig and 16Gig drives. Select 16Gig drive for Windows XP installation. Follow setup instructions. It’s straight –forward installation and should be the same as installing Windows on any PC. Repeat the last step from the previous installation description-install Win XP drivers from “Linux Support CD”.
I tried all three versions and all of them worked. The first one (4 Gig) seemed to be working smoother. The reason could be related to the different speed of internal SSD’s. Also, installation of EeePC specific WinXP drivers went smoother with the first version. All drivers were properly installed with automatic installation, while using ASUS driver installation utility. For the second and third type of XP installation, I had to reinstall some of the drivers manually.