Hacks for the Asus Eee PC

Written by g.d. palmer
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Hacks for the Asus Eee PC
Adding an extra hard drive gives the Eee PC 901 more functionality. (hard disk drive image by dinostock from Fotolia.com)

Asus's line of Eee PCs provides lightweight, wireless connectivity and durability at a low cost. These computers are available in sizes between 7 and 12 inches wide and come with either a conventional hard drive or a solid state drive. Both Windows and Linux operating systems are available. While the Eee PC is usable out of the box, it still has room for some improvement. A few hacks can make these inexpensive, versatile computers more useful and easier to operate.

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Improve Screen Resolution

Asus's Eee PCs offer relatively low-screen resolutions under Linux 1024 by 600 for the 10.1 and 8.9 inch wide models, and only 800 by 480 for the original 7 inch model. According to Eeeuser.com, users can hack smaller Eee PCs to get a higher resolution as long as the netbook is running Linux. This hack requires the user to start a Virtual Network Computing, or VNC server, and then open a scaled client in the higher resolution. While this client doesn't always run trouble-free, it does provide a higher resolution than the native hardware can offer. Users running Windows can download a special unofficial driver to produce a similar result.

Install Ubuntu

The Eee PC's native Linux operating system---a modified version of the Xandros distribution---boots quickly and allows these netbooks to run smoothly on limited resources. However, for experienced Linux users, its reduced functionality and customizability can be frustrating. Installing Ubuntu, one of the most user-friendly and popular Linux distributions, can solve these problems. It's important to use Ubuntu Eee, which is made specifically for Eee PCs. Since the Eee PC lacks a hard drive, users must install the operating system from a flash USB drive containing a live disk image. However, once the Eee PC has been set up to boot from flash media, the actual installation process is quite simple. Just follow the set-up dialogs.

Add a Hard Drive

Users who feel that smaller, older Eee PCs don't offer enough storage space may wish to install an extra hard disk. The Eee PC 901 has an extra space inside, capable of holding a spare hard drive, though adding one does require the user to take out an SSD module. An extra connector inside makes adding the hard drive itself quite simple. According to Electricpig, the 901 can accommodate up to an 80 Gb drive.

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