Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Update on EeePC 901 recovery

Might seem like I'm continually bleating on about the miraculous recovery I'm seeing in my netbook, but I am truly amazed.
Just a week ago, I posted what I thought was the death knell of this machine.
At it's worst, Grub seemed to be totally messed up and I could not boot to any of the four OSes I had on the ssd's.
In addition, a USB key with Ubuntu would not boot but gave, in addition to very many "spurious" keyboard outputs (such as ^[[[B or OQ) a long, repeating series of error messages as well as a blinking screen.
The only thing I could get to boot was a Live USB of Haiku R1A3 RC.
Thankfully, this booted perfectly, although I still saw many keyboard "anomalies" during the boot and during normal operation. In particular, after many boots, neither the keyboard nor the touchpad worked.
But, that was then.
Now just 7 days later, I have three OSes installed (Ubuntu 11.04, LinuxMint 11 and Haiku R1A3) and all work perfectly. The keyboard works "almost" perfectly and I never have touchpad problems.
Literally, everything works, browsing, sound, YouTube videos and 3D effects.Additionally, the Ubuntu USB-key which resolutely refused to boot, now boots perfectly without any error messages or weird symbols appearing.

The only problems I have are:
i) The BIOS always appears on booting. So, I have to ESC out to continue to my Grub2 menu.
ii) I cannot type "F" using the Left Shift key. However, with the Right Shift, it does work. Interestingly, all other keys provide capitals with the Left Shift. This is mysterious.

So, what did I do?
Well, not a lot really.
I wiped both ssd's, updated the BIOS (1301 to 2103) and reseated the ribbon cable of the keyboard.

Perhaps the two problems that remain are indeed keyboard problems (a failed F2 key may be the reason BIOS always shows up on boot. And the F2 key does not seem to work in any of the OSes I have installed).
Now, I received a new Keyboard yesterday which I have not installed simply because everything was working so well.
However, I'll certainly use it this week and see if even further miracles are possible.

I'll just mention that I had a somewhat similar, but much less severe, problem about a year ago (I posted about it here). On that occasion, a major problem with the "1" key disappeared after about a month. However, this could be explained by water entering (unbeknownst to me) a small section of the keyboard which eventually evaporated.
In the case of the present problem, the astounding recovery is less easily explained.

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