Install Windows 7 on Acer A715 and A717 NVMe SSD

Discussion in 'Acer' started by franzerich, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. franzerich

    franzerich Notebook Evangelist

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    Hello everyone,

    I've recently ordered an Acer A715 and got some time to fiddle around with it. A major headache gave me the installation of Windows 7, which only worked after lots of trial and error. So I wrote a small guide to spare you the time. Since the hardware is similar on other notebooks of Acer, this guide could also work on the Acer A717, Acer A515, Acer Nitro 5 AN515, Acer Predator Helios 300.

    The biggest issue was, that I couldn't get the NVMe SSD to work. There was an inbuilt Intel 600p 256gb SSD in it. This SSD is allegedly supported by a Windows Update package (KB2990941). Therefore I tried to integrate it into Windows 7 either by manually using /dism commands or with NTLite. Unfortunately both ways didn't work, because the SSD still didn't show up during install. The first working solution was a "mixed" iso (***see Post #3), which consists mainly of the Windows 7 iso, but uses boot.wim and setup.exe file from a Windows 10 iso (I found this "Frankenstein" solution somewhere on the internet). However the disadvantage of this "mixed" iso was, that Backup Images could not be restored anymore. This was a dealbreaker for me.

    I've almost given up, until I found the solution here: http://forum.notebookreview.com/thr...r-intel-skylake-and-kaby-lake-laptops.803630/ This guide uses a "Windows Image Tool" from Gigabyte, which is simple and clean. It only needs a Windows 7 iso and automatically integrates NVMe+USB3 drivers. And it just works! In fact this is the easiest and cleanest solution of all. Restoring System Images works too.



    Create Windows 7 USB-Stick:

    (1) Download required tools and images:

    - Download Windows 7 image from official source (I used a Win_7_Hm_Prem_German_x64.iso)
    - Download WindowsImageTool from Gigabyte http://download.gigabyte.eu/FileList/Utility/embedded_utility_windows_image_tool.zip
    - Download and install DaemonToolsLite http://www.filehorse.com/download-daemon-tools/

    (2) Create Windows 7 USB-Stick:

    - Mount the Windows 7 iso in DaemonTools
    - Unzip WindowsImageTool, start it, select Windows 7 from the virtual optical drive as source and a USB-Stick as target, and check all 3 options (Integrate USB 3 drivers, NVMe drivers, Windows packages), let it process... (takes approximately 1 hour).


    Prepare the notebook:

    (1) Press F2 (a couple of times) on boot to access the BIOS and change:

    - Main -> F12 Boot Menu -> Enabled
    - Boot -> Boot Mode -> Legacy
    - Touchpad -> Basic ("Advanced" does not work in Windows 7)

    (2) After reboot press F12 (a couple of times), select the USB/Flash Disk to boot from, and install Windows 7
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
    sicily428 likes this.
  2. franzerich

    franzerich Notebook Evangelist

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    Installing device drivers:

    - Install the chipset driver Chipset_10.1.1.42_Public.zip
    https://downloadcenter.intel.com/do...ce-Software-INF-Update-Utility-?product=98465

    - Install the Intel HD630 driver mb_driver_vga_intel_21.20.16.4508_w7.zip
    http://download.gigabyte.us/FileList/Driver/mb_driver_vga_intel_21.20.16.4508_w7.zip
    This is the prerequisite for the Nvidia driver. This is the only version which worked. None of the "official" drivers on the intel website worked, but resulted in "computer does not meet system requirements".

    - Install the Nvidia driver 385.41-notebook-win8-win7-64bit-international-whql.exe
    http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en

    - Install Hotfix for TPM 2.0 Windows6.1-KB2920188-v7-x64.msu
    https://support.microsoft.com/de-de...-tpm-2-0-in-windows-7-and-windows-server-2008

    - Install Hotfix for Intel Management Engine kmdf-1.11-Win-6.1-x64.msu
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=38423

    - Install Intel Management Engine ME_Corporate_Win7_8.1_10_11.0.6.1194.zip
    https://downloadcenter.intel.com/do...1-and-Windows-10-for-Intel-NUC-Kit-NUC5i5MYHE
    You only need to install the one in the folder "MEI-Only Installer MSI"

    - Install Atheros Wireless LAN driver Wireless LAN_Atheros_12.0.0.295_W10x64_A.zip
    https://supportdrivers.info/acer-aspire-a715-71g-drivers/ (choose the "Wireless LAN – Wireless LAN Driver (NFA344A HAI)"

    - Install Realtek Audio driver Audio_Realtek_6.0.1.8108_W10x64_A.zip
    https://supportdrivers.info/acer-aspire-a715-71g-drivers/ (choose the "Acer Aspire A715-71G Drivers -Audio – Realtek Audio Driver").
    This driver is important because it gets rid of a "Popping" noise while booting Windows.

    - Install Elan Fingerprint driver Fingerprint_ELANTECH_1.6.5.1_W10x64_A.zip
    https://supportdrivers.info/acer-aspire-a715-71g-drivers/ (choose the "Fingerprint – Elantech Fingerprint Driver")

    - Install Realtek Cardreader driver 0006-RtsXStor_10.0.370.162.zip
    http://www.realtek.com.tw/Downloads...=25&Level=4&Conn=3&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false

    - Install Realtek LAN driver 0018-Install_Win7_7110_08222017.zip
    http://www.realtek.com/downloads/do...d=5&Level=5&Conn=4&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false


    Issues:
    - Touchpad drivers don't work (neither Synaptics, nor Elantech). Only basic functionality exists, but no 2-finger-scrolling etc. This is really frustrating if you work with touchpads.
    - Function keys work, but there are no visual applets for it (i.e. for screen brightness).
    - If you are trying to undervolt the cpu with Intel XTU, it won't work. The advanced tuning section doesn't show up. It does show up in Windows 10 though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  3. franzerich

    franzerich Notebook Evangelist

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    ***For the record here is also the NOT RECOMMENDED alternative of creating a "mixed" Windows 7/10 iso with NTLite. Note that with this alternative System Restore will not work. You can also try this procedure without mixing in Windows 10 files - but then the intel SSD would never show up during install. No idea what is wrong with the procedure or NTLite.
    (1) Download required tools and images:

    - Download Windows 7 image from official sources (I used a Win_7_Hm_Prem_German_x64.iso)
    - Download Windows 10 image from official sources (I used a Win10_1703_German_x64.iso)
    - Download Windows Update Windows6.1-KB2990941-v3-x64.msu (drivers for SSD)
    - Download Intel(R)_USB_3.0_eXtensible_Host_Controller_Driver_5.0.3.42.zip (drivers for USB)
    - Download and install NTLite_setup_x64.exe
    - Download and install Windows7-USB-DVD1024-tool.exe
    - Download and install 7zip


    (2) With 7zip extract all the contents of the Windows 7 iso into a separate folder, i.e. a folder named "Extracted_Win7_iso"


    (3) Now start NTLite and do the following:

    - On the left menu go to "Source", and add the extracted folder "Extracted_Win7_iso"

    - Right-Click on "Home Premium" (that's the version I wanted) and "Load"

    - On the left menu go to "Updates", and add the Windows6.1-KB2990941-v3-x64.msu. Note, that it must often be extracted from the original download file (which was called 477475_intl_x64_zip.exe in my case) via 7zip.

    - On the left menu go to "Drivers", and add the USB drivers. However we only need the folder /Intel_USB_3.0_xHC_Driver_KBL_MR3_5.0.3.42/Drivers/Win7/x64/ from the zip file (Intel(R)_USB_3.0_eXtensible_Host_Controller_Driver_5.0.3.42.zip). You can extract this folder with 7zip and then add it. Note, that it is important to integrate the USB drivers, otherwise not a single USB port will work after a successful Windows 7 install (no kidding, not even the USB 2.0 ports would work without the drivers - despite them working during the install process...).

    - On the left menu go to "Apply", and check the box for "Create Iso"

    - Then press the green "Process" button on the top left


    (4) Burn the ISO to an USB-Stick with the Windows7-USB-DVD1024-tool


    (5) Open the Windows 10 image with 7zip, go into the /sources folder, and extract only "boot.wim" and "setup.exe" and copy it onto your USB stick into the same /sources folder (replacing the old ones).


    For the record I also add some points about the laptop, which could be annoying:
    - The colors of the display were wrong (and I mean obviously wrong, i.e. yellow looked like orange). Don't expect to do any art or design work with color fidelity, because it most likely will come out wrong on other displays.
    - The fan frequently started and stopped, which was annoying. I would rather have a constantly spinning fan. Also it behaved uneasy under medium load (youtube etc.). This was solved better on the HP Omen, which had clear and distinct fan steps (and therefore more pleasant on the ears).
    - Another annoying thing was the fan noise on the lowest step: That fan noise was not like an air blowing "whooosh", but like a "nnnnnggggggg". You heard an "engine sound" instead of air blowing. Even if not loud, this noise pitch was worse than the usual fan noise from other laptops.
    - Fingerprint magnet. Every fingerprint on the lid is visible and make it look ugly within a short period of time. Don't underestimate that. The inside (keyboard top) is also a fingerprint magnet, but not as bad as the lid, and you could remove them easily. However the fingerprints on the lid were very difficult to remove!
    - The keyboard backlight was annoying. After some seconds of not using the keyboard, the backlight automatically switched off. Then you'd think you could tap on the touchpad to activate it again - but you can't. Instead you had to press a random key on the keyboard. Now imagine you are writing a text document, then you pause in writing, the backlight switches off, and then you press a key to activate it again, but this key will be recognized as a keyboard input in your text document. So you constantly type random wrong characters in your document just because you need to reactivate the backlighting again and again.

    All in all a decent laptop, but which could be better. Some tweaks in the fan behaviour, in the keyboard backlighting, a better display, a different lid (i.e. the lid from the A515), and a new Intel U processor(?) would make this laptop better. I think it's also better to stay away from Windows 7 on this laptop, as it's too much of a hassle. Better use Windows 10 with something like ShutUp10.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
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