If you thought adding a Bluetooth module to the Acer Aspire One was cool, how about practically squaring the amount of storage available? Tnkgirl is back with part two in her Aspire One hacking series, and this time she’s replaced the solid state disk with a 60GB hard drive.

But wait, you might be asking, aren’t SSDs sturdier and faster than HDDs? Yes and no. On the one hand, there are no moving parts in SSDs, which makes them more durable and drop-resistant than hard drives. On the other hand, the particule SSD module included in the Acer Aspire One is kind of pokey, which means that most commercially available 1.8″ hard disks (like the type used in iPods) will give you better performance. And it turns out that there’s just enough room inside the Acer Aspire One case to cram a 1.8″ disc in there.

Acer does sell a hard drive version of the Aspire One. But Tnkgrl points out that the hard drive used in that model is a 2.5″ standard laptop drive, which adds weight to the notebook and requires a slightly larger case. By modifying the SSD version instead of paying for the HDD version, you get a lighter weight laptop with similar specs.

You can check out the video after the jump.

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40 replies on “How to replace the Acer Aspire One SSD with a hard drive”

  1. I installed the Samsung 60GB and went through several cables because I was getting the BSOD.  Nothing worked.  BIOS recognizes the drive but Windows XP will not load.  Do I need to do something else??

    1. what the hell am I doing wrong? bought new zif cables, returned original Samsung 60gb drive to china, got a new one and still can’t load xp.  I get the BSOD even with the new hdd.  do i need to format the disk or something????? please someone help me at [email protected]

  2. Thank you so much! I have never fixed a computer but I used your tutorial to replace my 8gb SSD with a 16gb SSD the old one had burnt out and now I’m really thinking about upgrading other parts.

    Super helpful tnkgrl

    Anyone know how to boost my wireless reception?

  3. I have the Aspire 7736Z with a 320 gig HD. Can I put a second drive in, like a SSD to speed things up?

  4. is my acer one zg5 with 160gb drive factory fitted a ssd or a hdd i need to know for formatting reasons

  5. Just wondering if i replace my drive…how do i get windows reinstalled back seeing how i have no cd-rom 🙂 Just wondering.Thanks.

    1. If you can borrow an original CD ROM of Windows XP – or get a backup copy from somewhere, the XP key on the bottom of your Aspire One should work. Make sure it’s the same version (e.g. XP Home Edition) and not an upgrade copy, with as late a service pack as possible. I found that a Dell XP disk worked perfectly for me.

      You may have to make up a bootable USB stick. There are many sites showing you how to do this, but here is one:

      1. Thanks for your comment the bootable usb looks good i’ll give that a try .

  6. Hi all,
    If anyone could help me it would be greatly appreciated.
    I Just recently got a hold of an “Acer Aspire One AOA 110 – Aw (512mb RAM, 8Gb SSD, 1.6GH Atom)” for £50, perfect condition in and out, Great deal I though as I knew I could upgrade it.
    I just bought 1Gb memory from eBay that’s on its way, so that part should be easy enough when it comes. The part I’m having trouble with is the Hard Drive, I got a Toshiba 60Gb (MK6008GAH) that came from an iPod. I have the correct Zif to Lif cable that this drive requires as its a thinner connection on Toshiba drives. When I connect the 60Gb drive to the netbook and hit the power switch, it looks like it turns on (Power lights) but nothing comes on the screen. I then reconnect the original 8Gb SSD drive instead and all is fine. It could be that the Toshiba drive is faulty, but why would it affect the display? Is there anything i can do to check the Toshiba drive or anything else I can try?
    If anyone has any ideas or tips, please help me out.

    1. Nothing comes up on the screen as in it never turns on or that nothing loads after the BIOS screen? Did you install any OS on the toshiba drive?

      1. Hi ninetynine,
        Nothing loads on screen whatsoever, no POST, Nothing. I haven’t installed anything on the drive yet because I have no means of doing so. I’m planning on installing win XP from a USB stick once the hard drive is installed.
        Tricky one,
        Cheers, Kelvin

        1. I had this issue with the BIOS not coming up. You need to make sure your cable is in the right way round. There is a link to an image on one of the posts below, but as you look at the disk top down (writing facing you) you should see the bare silver contacts of the cable. This is then connected to the motherboard, blue side up.

      2. Similar problem. In my ZG5 Changed the SSD for a Samsung 80gb. Cables are inserted OK (have physically checked contacts) but drive not recognised in BIOS.
        Message is PXE-E61 Media test failed check cable
        PXE-M0F Exiting PXE ROM.
        Have reflashed BIOS with v0 3310 from Acer site.
        Anyone got any suggestions?

        1. I’ve just finished doing the same. With the exact same results PXE-E61. Can’t find the drive, not recognized in the BIOS..

          Anyone else experience this?

          1. It’s trying to boot from the nic, but I’ve turned that off now. Now it just jumps directly to the bios screen. It won’t recognize the hard drive. WTF.

  7. I think this is great lady….the internet is a great source of info for a 77 year old man that thinkers w/computers, now laptops. I just bought an aspire one 8.9 8gb ssd AOA 110 1158 Acer Aspire on ebay.
    They said it didnt have a hhd but it did, it was just asleep. I plan to put your 1.8 60gb drive in mine soon, because the guy who owned it left a lot on it and I am not sure what to delete, as I have no space hardly left. I will use your insts, and you say I should get a 1.8 ipod 60gb drive? ata or sata or pata or? Also, I do not have highspeed in the sticks where I live, so I ordered a usb modem 56k….do you think it will work on this net book? Thanks for your info, and any reply. Is there a contribution required or allowed? ed goeking, [email protected]

  8. I replaced the SDD with a Toshiba 40gb drive, didnt have any problem with the connector, used the original ribbon cable, it worked well for like 8 months, then started to load really slow, with times arroud 200ms, so i put back the SDD and worked great again

    1.  Hello,
        I also have an acer zg5 that the SSD has crashed, and I need to replace the crashed SSD with a HD, so please I need to know what and what U did, and the things to used while replacing the SSD with the HD.

    2.  Hello,
        I also have an acer zg5 that the SSD has crashed, and I
      need to replace the crashed SSD with a HD, so please I need to know
      what and what U did, and the things to used while replacing the SSD
      with the HD., pls reply me to : [email protected] and I will be very grateful!!!!

  9. hey can anyone send me a link to where i can buy some of those zif-lif ribbon cables

  10. Isn’t one of the benefits of the SSD is that it runs cooler than a regualar hard drive?
    If you replace the SSD in this Acer then how do you cool the hard drive when this model wasn’t designed for it?

  11. Can’t seem to find any lif to zif connectors. No joy searching for ZIF002. I couldn’t find anything on eBay either. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

      1. Looking for zif cable for aspire one. I tried the original but no luck. Computer not recognizing drive. I bought a samsung 80gb 1.8 pata and tried using the original zif ribbon that was hooked to my 8gb ssd. Can u help pls? May have damaged the ribbon? Are you selling the one I need thanks!

  12. Thnx Brett!

    I just ordered zif – lif ribbon cables, but does anyone knows which HD does have an pata zif connector? maybe i am searching incorrect, but i find it difficult to find the proper one!

    thnx in advance!

  13. I am also having an issue replacing the SSD with a Toshiba 120GB drive. My issue is also the ZIF cable. It will not fit the drive. >.<

    1. Hi, the ZIF is about 0.35mm thick. LIF is about 0.22-0.25mm… All Toshiba drives have LIF… So what you need is a ZIF002 cable. This cable is on one side 0.35 and on the other side it’s 0.22mm…
      Another possibility would be to use some sand paper and make the original ZIF a bit more thin on one side…

    2. I ran into the same problem putting a Toshiba 20gb drive into my Aspire One (the original SSD seems to have become defective, and it was cheaper to buy the 20gb drive than to send the unit back).

      I did what someone else suggested: peel the blue plastic piece off the hard-drive end of the cable, and then put two pieces of tape on instead (I used transparent scotch tape). This was almost too tight but it went in. It does not go in very far though, which seems to be the way the connector is designed.

      By the way, the writing on the cable was facing up (same side as the label on the HD). I ran a test before assembling, and the drive was recognized.

      I also used a dremel to shave down a couple of posts/stand-offs that were pushing the drive up a bit too much. Used some stick-on velcro to space and fasten the drive. Installed Ubuntu 9.10 and it’s all working very nicely now!

  14. Hi,
    I ordered an 30GB HD from Toshiba (MK3008GAL) to replace my ssd in my aspire,
    but i cannot connect the zif-cable, it is just impossible!

    do you (or does anyone else) know what i doe wrong? (i found out it has the same zif-40 connector as the HS06THB model you’re using..

    thnx in advance (i will check this frequently 😀 )


    1. MK3008GAL = LIF (not ZIF)
      LIF is a little thinner than ZIF, so the cable will not fit in there.
      you can buy a cable that is ZIF (fat) one end and LIF (thin) other end.

      for anyone else trying this, get a drive with ZIF and not this Toshiba with LIF

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