Acer Aspire OS Alternatives

Last Update: 13 November 2023

This page was originally created to collect requirements and rate alternative operating systems for an Acer Aspire One Netbook (532h).   The plan was to simply evaluate alternatives to Win7 Home but turned into somewhat of a sick hobby - playing with various x86 distros .  The evaluation checklist and hit/miss evaluations are tailored to my world, but may be useful to others.  

Slow/Low/No  Priority project ... thoughts/comments welcome.


(notes/observations below the test tables)

2023 Testing - STILL not done w/ AAO

Nov 2023

Sept 2023

Mar 2023

Feb 2023 - Reinstall w/ Win10 2022 Update ISO (22H2) - Wow!  Much Better!   Notes

2022 Summary

July 2022 - Exploring faster alternatives to NST (Network Security)

April 2022 - AAO Dusted off and Powered up!

2021 Summary - See notes below Test Tables

Jan 2021:   Playing w/ SSD in AAO.  Win10 reinstall on an SSD 

2021 Status:   AAO  is STILL alive 10+ years!

2020 Summary - See notes below Test Tables

2018-2019  Summary - Test notes below Table

2017 Summary

AAO has been working great in the following roles:

22-23 July 2017 - Took 2 days, but updated to Win 10 Creator (v1703). Works OK, but would not attempt on a stock 1g AAO - See Notes/observations below.  Simply wanted to make sure MS still supports AAO

2016 Summary

2013-2015 Summary

Test Table/Scorecard

(tabs by year, links may be broken)

Aspire Test Tables


2023 Test Notes

Overall:   Looks to be quite workable.  Can't believe I missed this one ... couple of bumps but I'll revisit this


Motivation:  Stumbled upon Zorin during a Windows PC rebuild.   Always looking for a simple alternative for Windows users.  
Lite version looked perfect for AAO:   System Requirements =   1g RAM, 1ghz Single Core, 10g Storage and 800x600 


Install Notes:

Overall:   Looked good enough to Install on the AAO.   Time will tell.   Expect some tweaking.     


Motivation:  Looking for alternative to NST, specifically web-based access to a good set of security/pen testing tools.   HTB edition Use case targets "Beginners in Cyber Security" and "Slow device/laptop with low capabilities".  

System Requirements:  Dual Core CPU, no graphic accelerator required, 1g memory, 20g available storage.   My AAO is actually over qualified, for once!


Install Notes:

Overall:   A Struggle ... started with live boot - it's was OK.  Installed to USB drive, not the best but I'll keep it around and try to use Web Interface (NSTWUI)

Tagline:  "Welcome to the Network Security Toolkit (NST). This bootable ISO live USB Flash Drive (NST Live) is based on Fedora. The toolkit was designed to provide easy access to best-of-breed Open Source Network Security Applications and should run on most x86_64 systems"

Motivation:  Gave up on NST a few years ago ... can't recall why!   Time to give it a re-try.  It was VERY handy and I've been struggling to find alternative for years

Docs (you may need these!):

Install Notes:

Overall:   Looks pretty good for advanced users, seems to work with AAO hardware  ... Arch-Based Pentesting Distro

Tagline:  "BlackArch Linux is an Arch Linux-based penetration testing distribution for penetration testers and security researchers. The repository contains 2840 tools. You can install tools individually or in groups. BlackArch Linux is compatible with existing Arch installs."

Motivation:  Quick look, I like Arch 

See Also:

Install Notes:

Overall:   Trisquel Mini.  Seems to work OK!  Nice and lightweight. 

Tagline:  "Trisquel GNU/Linux is a fully free operating system for home users, small enterprises and educational centers."

Motivation:  For the heck of it ... Win 10 reinstall stepped on my Backbox grub loader!

Install Notes:

Overall:  Worth the trouble ... IT WORKS  and breathed life into the AAO - AGAIN!     Ended up doing a Re-install (again) using latest 2022 ISO (22H2). 

Tagline:  "A Scoped and Streamlined Update"

"Windows 10, version 22H2 is a scoped release focused on quality improvements to the overall Windows experience in existing feature areas such as quality, productivity and security." -

Motivation:  AAO Win 10 updates have been chronic prob.  One update just won't go in (KB5011487, I think) - It takes forever attempting  to install (a day or so) then fails and spends forever (another full day!) attempting to "Undo Changes" ... I noticed the Nov 2023 22H2 image and decided to give it a shot

Note:  My AAO has a couple of mods.  A solid state disk and 2g of memory

Install Notes:

Ack!  It booted back to the USB! ... watch carefully and pull the USB after it gets the files ready!

2022 Test Notes

Overall:  Looks great and runs very well!!   I'll use as an alternatives to Network Security Tool (NST) installed as alternate boot on AAO SSD

Tagline:  "A Free Open Source Community Project"

"BackBox Linux is a penetration testing and security assessment oriented Linux distribution providing a network and systems analysis toolkit."

More:  "BackBox is more than an operating system, it is a Free Open Source Community Project with the aim of promoting the culture of security in IT environment and give its contribution to make it better and safer. All this using exclusively Free Open Source Software, demonstrating the potential and power of the Community. If you’d like to know more feel free to navigate in our web site and get in touch with us."

Motivation:  Looking for a simple/fast Pentest distro that works well on AAO

Install Notes:

Overall:  VERY NICE.   I was THIS close to installing it as dual boot on AAO SSD!   

Tagline:  "Midweight Simple Stable Desktop OS"
More:  "MX Linux is a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS communities, using the best tools and talents from each distro. It is a midweight OS designed to combine an elegant and efficient desktop with simple configuration, high stability, solid performance and medium-sized footprint."

Motivation:  Looking for a good/fast Linux to run on slow/old AAO 

Install Notes:


SSD + Win 10 Reinstall 

Notes - Picking up where I left off in early 2021

2021 Test Notes

SSD + Win 10 Reinstall

2020 Test Notes

Manjaro KDE Plasma

NST 32




2018-2019 Test Notes

NST 28

Parrot OS



Linux Lite


Ubuntu Studio

Network Security Toolkit (NST 26)

2016-2017 Test Notes

Win 10

Elementary OS

Mageia 5

Puppy Slacko

Security Onion



Network Security Toolkit (NST 24)



2013-2015 Test Notes


- Worked very well.  Fast, easy to work with.  AAO hardware worked right out of the box with the exception of the mic, which required fiddling to get working - used this post  Connected nicely to mac world, windoze network and network printer (Dell M5200).  Mate is snappy and easy to use.


Twas rough - did not run well at all.  Slow, periodically unresponsive, not worth continued effort.  Aborted.  


- A little disappointing, KDE Plasma Desktop is cool.  A lot of good old Linux monkeying around to achieve network participation.  Never did get SD card reader working.  Live USB boot seemed slower and more cumbersome than Mint.  Periods of slugishness/unresponsiveness.


- Some probs switching between wifi networks - would not release network connection dialog box, had to reboot.  Lots of fiddling to participate in home (windows & mac) network.  External monitor was flaky, appeared to be related to differences in resolution/aspect.


- Specialty distro (security tools) but a VERY pleasant surprise, it runs great on AAO 532h.  Tested KDE (plasma) window manager, but didn't mess around testing hardware or features that wouldn't be used for security scans, audits and such ("n/a" in table above).  Odd/sporadic issues adding software via kPackage.


- Attempt #2, little rough, tinkering required.  Takes dumps on startup (ubuntu internal error and keyboard input method), connecting to smb network did not work out of the box.  Some AAO hardware seems to be working., Doesn't seem as fast as Mint ... Maybe more to come

Kali -  Attempt #2 

Live/USB is pretty painless/easy -  Some fiddling to get persistence  Internal mic didn't seem to work (very quick test), internal/external audio seemed fine via smoking monkey youtube test.   USB, cardreader, external monitor and trackpad worked with no putzing.  Kali tools don't seem to be as fully baked as BT - but could just be learning curve. 

Kali 2.0 

- Somewhat of a forced update due to 1.0 EOL and repository purge.  Had a heck of a time going back to 1.1 with persistence for some reason.  I'd recommend sticking with Kali 1.x on the Aspire for the time being and using archive mirror for time being ("deb moto main non-free contrib" in /etc/apt/sources.list)

Network Security Toolkit (NST 22) 

- Looks REALLY good!  Still some testing to do, but the toolkit (and fedora) seems to function well on AAO!

AAO Tools & Links