Windows 10 on Acer 6935G

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Finally, I man­aged to up­grade to Windows 10 for my 8-year-old lap­top. I know, I know, I’m ask­ing for trou­ble.

It all started with an er­ror mes­sage last year. Nowadays, I sel­dom use the lap­top as I have a much more pow­er­ful desk­top (which is, well, nearly 5 years old). But when I do, I up­grade the op­er­at­ing sys­tem. I thought that it would be a piece of cake like up­grad­ing to Windows 10 on my desk­top ma­chine, so I was shocked to see an er­ror mes­sage say­ing that my lap­top CPU was not sup­ported. No, no, no, lit­tle up­grade as­sis­tant, my Acer 6935G has Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 proces­sor, which has all the fea­tures you want. PAE, check. SSE2, check. NX, check. What else do you need? I searched all over the Internet, but I did­n’t find too much use­ful in­for­ma­tion, which was not a sur­prise con­sid­er­ing the age of my lap­top.

Frankly speak­ing, I was not very fas­ci­nated with Windows 10. Had I stopped right here, I would have much less trou­ble. However, I sim­ply did­n’t (or could­n’t). To me, this was a chal­leng­ing puz­zle and I re­ally en­joyed try­ing to solve it.

One piece of in­for­ma­tion did give me some in­spi­ra­tion, but it was also a trap, well, kind of. It said that NX could have been dis­abled by BIOS, and it might re­quire a BIOS up­date or hack to see the hid­den op­tions. I was not sur­prised at all to see that my up-to-date” BIOS did­n’t have that op­tion. Let’s try BIOS hack, I thought.

I was lucky to find an old un­locked ver­sion of my BIOS. I was ex­cited to see the hid­den menu for ad­vanced op­tions, but I did­n’t see an op­tion for NX. As a side find­ing, I saw the op­tion for VT-x. I turned it on, but SecurAble still showed NO for hard­ware vir­tu­al­iza­tion. It seemed that the hid­den menu was un­cov­ered, but that op­tion for VT-x was not work­ing for some rea­son.

I kept look­ing for other un­locked ver­sions, but I did­n’t find any suit­able one. I even flashed a wrong im­age of BIOS. Guess what? My lap­top turned into a brick. Not sur­prised at all. Long story short: I had to tear apart the lap­top, des­ol­der the BIOS chip, re-pro­gram it, re-sol­der it, and then re­assem­ble the lap­top. Lessons learned: never flash a BIOS im­age if its size is dif­fer­ent than the of­fi­cial one.

A year passed by quickly. Recently, I came across this post. It is talk­ing about en­abling VT-x on Acer 8930G, which is a model very sim­i­lar to my 6935G. I thought that a suc­cess in en­abling VT-x would be a good step to­wards NX, so I gave it a try. Basically, I dumped out the run­time BIOS us­ing an Ubuntu Live USB stick, used the script in that post to patch the im­age, and then flash it back (with size check­ing first, of course). This time SecurAble re­ports YES for VT-x. Nice. Let’s see if we can turn on NX.

By the way, I launched Windows 10 up­grade pro­gram when­ever I made some changes, but it al­ways failed. Up till then, I had no luck.

I did­n’t ex­pect it when I came upon this post dur­ing Internet search­ing. The post men­tions a Windows sys­tem set­ting that turns off NX. Guess which one? Surprise! It’s the DEP set­ting! I had seen that set­ting for a mil­lion times, but I never re­al­ized that it would af­fect NX. I was as­ton­ished to see that Windows 10 started to up­grade with­out er­rors af­ter this. What? Why? No! Yes!

Actually, that DEP set­ting might be the only step I need. Anyway, I did it.

Hopefully from my story, you can get some in­spi­ra­tion. Or amuse­ment.