Just got an Acer 5515 ($299 from TigerDirect shipped) and have numerous questions (even after a whole day pounding the web for info).
1) Had a heckuva time getting restore discs burnt. After about 6 failures in disc 1's verify process, I ran out and bought Memorex DVD-RWs. They worked on the first try, much better than the TDK DVD-Rs I was using at first. Was close to trying XP install without restore discs in-hand.
2) Spent a lot of time collecting drivers, tools, and web advice on making the upgrade to XP.
3) Figuring the restore discs would get me out of any tough situations, I went ahead and did something potentially stupid - owning only the XP Upgrade disc, I went ahead and changed the BIOS setting for SATA Mode (to the only other option I was given by the BIOS, "IDE Native") and then tried to install Win98. I needed to do it to run the XP upgrade, but was unsurprised when the attempt failed.
4) Restored BIOS to original settings and rebooted with restore disc 1 in the drive. Boot fails with message "NTMGR.exe" is missing. Press...restart". Changing BIOS to boot from DVD-RW drive allows booting to proceed, fires up eRecovery, allows me to select Install Language, pops up a couple of confirmation messages, and appears to begin restore with a command-line window, switches to an eRecovery window detailing progress, and then fails with an error from X:\RyTools\NAPP6.exe ("Restore failed - reason 0xa000000e. Click...restart"
I have copied the DVD-RWs to DVD-Rs (as a backup backup) and switching between types makes no difference. I am currently awaiting a download of XP full install, and am going to try the various methods of install I've found once I have the dics. Just for fun, I am trying to use the XP Upgrade Disc to format the hard drive now, and will report on how that goes.
So far, XP Upgrade disc has allowed me to delete all partitions (it found 4 of them, PQ-whatever, an unnamed 2.2 GB, and the 2 visible to Vista) and is right now running a full format to NTFS. I'm hoping a full XP disc and changing the SATA mode in the BIOS will be all it takes to get a Win install running.
Next step if all that fails will be to see if I can get an install started somehow from a USB hard drive, and after that, a trip to a thrift store to find a USB floppy. Praying not to have to do it.
More posts with more horror stories would be helpful. With that Tiger sale price, I'm betting there are a lot of us out there having issues with this unsupported nightmare of a project machine...