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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 (Intel 600p 256gb) to work. This SSD is allegedly supported by a Windows Update package (KB2990941), which I tried to get working by:
    a) Integrating it with /dism commands. However the SSD didn't show up during install.
    b) Integrating it with NTLite. However the SSD still didn't show up during install.
    c) Creating a "mixed" iso, which consists of Windows 7, but uses the installer (boot.wim and setup.exe) from Windows 10 (I found this "Frankenstein" solution on the internet). It worked, but the disadvantage was, that Windows Backup Images could not be restored anymore. This was a dealbreaker.

    I've almost given up, until I found the ultimate solution here: http://forum.notebookreview.com/thr...r-intel-skylake-and-kaby-lake-laptops.803630/ This guide uses a "Windows Image Tool" from Gigabyte. 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: Jan 27, 2018
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  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 or KB2685811 (thanks@Jupiter065)
    https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/ca/en/downloads/ds102157

    - 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 Touchpad driver TouchPad_ELANTECH_11.6.24.210_W7x64_A.zip (thanks@lebnovic)
    http://www.helpjet.net/Fs-98411357-33145795-14567282.html

    - 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:
    - Function keys work, but there are no visual applets for it (i.e. for screen brightness).
    - Trying to undervolt the cpu with Intel XTU on Windows 7 Home Premium did not work. The advanced tuning section didn't show up. It did show up in Windows 10 though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  3. franzerich

    franzerich Notebook Evangelist

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    For my own record I add some points about the laptop, which could be annoying:

    - The colors of the display were kinda wrong (i.e. yellow looked like dark-yellow or orange and green seems too dark).
    - The fan frequently started and stopped, kinda uneasy under medium load (youtube etc.). I would have preferred a constantly spinning fan.
    - The fan noise on the lowest step was not like an air blowing "whooosh", but like a "nnnnnggggggg". Like an "engine sound" of a motorbike. Even if not loud, this noise pitch was worse than the usual fan noise from other laptops. Maybe the cause was a rattling fan? I don't know for sure. I noticed this on the A715, which has 2 fans. However the fan noise on the A515 had a normal "whoosh", and only 1 fan. It was als much more stable. And not too loud under load.
    - Fingerprint magnet. Every fingerprint or fat from fingers on the lid or on the top of the keyboard is clearly visible. Looks not only dirty after a short time - it looks gross.
    - The keyboard backlight was kinda 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 - nope. Instead you had to press a random key on the keyboard. Now imagine you are writing a text document, then 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.
    - The stability on the lower bottom of the lid is not so good (on the A515 because it's a thin plastic lid compared to the metal lid on the A715). You can bend it easily in the middle, due to both hinges on the outer ends. This may become a culprit after lots of opening and closing the laptop, producing cracks etc. However this is just a thought, because my last laptop suffered on this area as well. Though one can't expect a totally robust and durable casing in this price class. Rest of the body is fine though.
    - The laptop is unusable in a Powerline/Powerlan/PLC network and the use of headphones. Each signal and data transfer from the internet will be picked up by the laptop, leading to a very audible "brsss-brsss-brs-brs-brs-brsssssssssssssssszzz" noise in your headphones. For further information see the spoiler text:
    After some extended testing, I came to the conclusion, that the Acer A515 and A715 (and most likely also the 17" counterparts) are unusable in a Powerline/PowerLAN network, if you are dependent on this type of network and headphones.

    Issue 1: If you use a powerline network to access the internet router, you can hear crackling, static, buzzing, hissing noises "brsss-brsss-brs-brs-brs-brsssssssssssssssszzz" each time some data is transferred to your computer. It's very noticeable with headphones! (not on the onboard speakers though). When you are watching youtube, every time it loads parts of the video you will hear that noise.

    Issue 2: The noise from the powerline gets into the laptop via 2 ways: 1) via the network cable AND 2) via the power cable. In fact, even if I disconnect the ethernet cable from the Acer laptop, and download a file on another computer in the same room, the buzzing and hissing noise is audible on the Acer laptop, because of its power adapter being on the same electric line.

    Issue 3: I have tried to plug the laptop into sockets with noise filter and surge protection - and while it reduced the noise a bit, it still remained loud enough to be annoying.

    Issue 4: If you disconnect the router, the powerline adapters automatically create a small network by themselves. When you plug the laptop into this network, you will hear a "bubbling" noise in your headphones. Annoying. For the lulz: the Acer picks up the bubbling sound even if not plugged into the powerline network and even if not plugged into the electric grid - yep, it picks up the noise through air (for ~0,5m). This laptop is like a radio receiver...

    Issue 5: The bubbling noise can sometimes be heard directly on the Acer power supply unit, which indicates that there is no filter in there.


    This whole thing becomes even more ridiculous with the fact, that my 8 year old laptop (a Samsung R522) doesn't have any of these issues. Not a single one of them. Obviously my old laptop is shielded much better from interferences than the Acer. There is either a low quality headphone jack built in the Acer or some kind of filters missing in either the power adapter, ethernet adapter or the motherboard.

    Eventually it shall be noted that the wireless connection did not produce these issues in the headphones. There is no noise in the headphones using WLAN. Also you shouldn't have any issues if you use a direct ethernet connection.
    Some crackling noises can also be heard from the motherboard though, which is strange as well. These are permanent, regardless if connected to a network or not, or working on battery or not. I think some of them may come from the SSD. These noises seem harmless though and are very quiet.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  4. Jupiter065

    Jupiter065 Newbie

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    Just created an account to say thanks for making this, it helped immensely. :)
    Also, the intel management engine hotfix is no longer available from Microsoft, but you can still get it from Lenovo at time of writing:
    https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/ca/en/downloads/ds102157
     
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  5. Nonick_

    Nonick_ Notebook Enthusiast

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    On A717-71G i havent experienced any unconstant fan spinning rates and it behaves normally under load. Fan noise in idle is completely normal (no "nnngggg" sound :).
    You can switch keyboard backlight to always on in win7 Power options (keybord backlit on/off still works).
    The only thing i cant fix is touchpad on Windows7 - it doesnt recognise advanced functions (2finger scrolling, swipe etc.). I guess switching to Win10 is inevitable :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  6. franzerich

    franzerich Notebook Evangelist

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    Interesting. And yeah, even Notebookcheck mentions constant fan spinning rates there and no annoying fan behaviours. Maybe my A715 was just a lemon...
     
  7. Dantei

    Dantei Notebook Consultant

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    How did you get 'Legacy Mode' in A715 or A715? I'm using VN7-793G and checked the BIOS but there's no Legacy Mode available.
     
  8. Nonick_

    Nonick_ Notebook Enthusiast

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    To enable Legacy mode switch, you need to set supervisor password in BIOS, and then disable secure boot.
     
  9. Dantei

    Dantei Notebook Consultant

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    I won't show up even after setting the supervisor's pass and disabling secure boot.
     
  10. lebnovic

    lebnovic Newbie

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    First of all thanks for this thread! I got the A715 and was able to find the driver for the ELANTECH Touchpad, there is another version with Synaptics Touchpad, so you have to figure out which one is yours, enjoy 2 finger scrolling.
    - TouchPad_ELANTECH_11.6.24.210_W7x64_A.zip
    http://www.helpjet.net/Fs-98411357-33145795-14567282.html
     
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