Monday, 29 March 2010

e-machines, weird machines

I have nothing against no-brand-names or emerging brand-names; actually I'm against monopole in general so I prefer to give a chance to smaller players on the market instead of over-feeding the already fat ones.
But, after seeing/installing a bit more than few dozens notebooks in my professional life, I have encountered the worst ever: emachines e525-902g25mi, and I felt I should point my finger to it. Here are the reasons:

- It never felt so bad inserting a cd in the unit of any laptop ever. The cd bumped in to a metal part inside the slot and jumped out of the tray, several times; also the movement of the tray itself is rough.
- it refused to even do the POST after changing in bios sata mode from ahci to ide. Not even booting from cd. Not even spinning the cd.
- none of the 3 drivers for the wireless delivered on the install cd worked. On their site they have 4 different products/manufacturer/chipset drivers for the same device. One of them finally worked, however, even if entering the exact model the list of possible drivers was not narrowed down to one, giving me unwanted freedom of choice. (Albeit this happens with some other notebook manufacturers too. Is so hard to write on the case, or a piece of paper exactly what type of lan card, wifi, etc, is fitted in that notebook?)
- only 2 usb ports, no modem, no bluetooth but the most hilar one:
- an "interesting" increasing/decreasing screen brightness result. See the photos:

Screen as bright as possible (looks normal):

Screen as dimmed as possible (is not a problem with the photo even if you can see me reflected in the left side... it's just half dimmed half not-so-dimmed :) )

I'm not sure how much it costs, I'm not even curious. It feels and behaves too cheap.

Friday, 26 March 2010

XP Pro install using AHCI

Well, the internet is pretty much full of this subject, even so I spent 2 hours to solve this. Because information is a bit outdated. So here is my very brief version:

1. Download AHCI drivers from Intel
I needed XP professional, english so got:
/eng/iata96enu.exe If you need something else or link is no longer available try to find your drivers at:

2. THIS TOOK ME MUCH TO FIND-OUT HOW: extract the drivers from the iata96enu.exe like this (in the command prompt line):
c:\> iata96enu.exe -a -p c:\drivers

3. Follow the excellent instructions (even with pictures!) from but adapt them to your Intel drivers already extracted in our step 2.

It worked for me this way. And, it wasn't a matter of installing windows in IDE compatible mode (from BIOS) and then changing it to ahci after installing Windows and the drivers from Intel.
The stupid laptop I had to install wasn't running at all in IDE mode! Not even booting the CD. It just freezed...
Btw, it's a Emachines E525.