Unfortunately, like the vast majority of laptops sold in recent years, the Acer 5220 comes without compact discs containing the operating system and supporting software packages. Instead, the software is contained on a hidden partition on part of the hard drive.

On purchasing the computer, you are supposed to run a program to copy the contents of this recovery partition onto one or more DVD discs. If you fail to do so and you encounter problems with your hard disk then you may be left with a computer without an operating system.

If you are fortunate enough that the integrity of the recovery partition is intact, the following steps may assist you in copying the operating system and recovery environment to a new and potentially larger hard disk. If you are novice with computers, you should not attempt this process unless you are prepared to loose all of your data as it involves altering the partition tables on the hard drive.

These notes are a work in progress, but they may be helpful in their present form.

Step 1 - Boot up the computer using a bootable CD containing Norton Ghost

Step 2 - Using XFDISK, set the type of the small partition marked "Compaq Diag", or "Diagnostic" to FAT32 by entering 0B. The relevant partition is roughly 6GB in size.

Step 3 - Using Ghost, make a copy of the partition to an image file.

Step 4 - Install the new drive

Step 5 - Boot the computer using a bootable DOS CD containing Norton Ghost

Step 6 - Create a new partition using XFDISK. The new partition should be of type FAT32 (type code 0B).

Step 7 - Restore the diagnostic partition from the Ghost image file to the newly created FAT32 partition.

Step 8 - Boot the computer using the bootable DOS CD containing XFDISK.

Step 9 - Using XFDISK, change the partition type of the partition to type 12 ("Compaq Diag", "Diagnostics").

Step 10 - Make the diagnostic partition active.

Step 11 - Create a new NTFS partition using XFDISK. This partition should be at least 40GiB to contain the operating system. This is important: an application used by Acer (D2D32) produces a "Type Mismatch" error if the target partition (partition #2) is not of type NTFS.

Step 12 - Reboot the laptop. The laptop should boot straight into the Acer eRecovery Environment.

Step 13 - Restore the laptop to factory setup using the Acer eRecovery Environment.

Step 14 - Boot the computer using a bootable DOS CD containing XFDISK.

Step 15 - Using XFDISK, make the new partition containing the operating system active.

Step 16 - Reboot the computer. It will boot into the operating system.

Step 17 - Install the computer and all the relevant updates.

Step 18 - To restore Alt-F10 eRecovery Environment key; using XFDISK set the partition type to FAT32 (0B). Reboot the computer using a bootable DOS CD. Select drive C.

Step 19 - Run mbrwrdos.exe with ??mbr.bin as the only argument. This will install a specific master boot record on the hard disk. The master boot record contains code that is executed before the bootstrap for the active partition.

If the computer only has mbrwrwin.exe with ??mbr.bin, then you will need to download a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows (UBCD for Windows) from http://www.ubcd4win.com. You build a boot CD for windows, then run mbrwrwin in a command window.

Step 20 - Using XFDISK set the partition type back to Diagnostics (12). Reboot the computer.


Alt-F10 - Boot computer into Acer eRecovery Environment.

F12 - Boot from selected devices.

F2 - Enter setup.