My Acer Aspire ONE is a beautiful little computer but it has on at least three occasions completely “lost” its wireless hardware. An earlier ONE was sent back with this problem but the latest has it too, so it’s probably a “feature”. Flashing a new BIOS is the answer – it’s a pain but it is a beautiful little computer and worth saving.
My experience is that this problem is likely to come back (even after flashing in the latest BIOS release). I suggest you take one of those old 128mb USB sticks you’ve got tucked away in a drawer, put the fix on it, label it and put it back in the drawer so you don’t have to do all this the next time the wireless hardware “disappears”. The good news is that the fix doesn’t really interfere with using the USB stick for plain old file storage so you can even use a good stick.
I have done this at least half a dozen times and did not back up any files – nothing was lost but I do not keep vital files on my ONE. I do advise, however, that you back up anything you cannot afford to lose.
You need first to create a bootable DOS operating system for Acer’s BIOS flashing program to work on the ONE. For this, there is the most fantastic open source program for creating bootable USBs at:
Download the executable and run it. Select the FreeDOS distribution and select your USB (E: in this case) to be the boot device. Creating the boot just takes a minute or two. Click Exit when UNetbootin finishes (not Reboot Now). You now have a bootable USB stick. And yes, you can also use UNetbootin for Ubuntu distributions and whatnot (but don’t lose the thread of what you’re supposed to be doing … and, yes, Ubuntu will run very nicely on the ONE, except for the wireless, which is why you’re here in the first place).
Now, navigate through the Acer site (http://us.acer.com) in “Drivers & Downloads” to find the latest BIOS for the Aspire ONE 8.9 – unfortunately there is may be no reliable URL for this, you may have to persist until you find it. The latest URL at time of writing is Flash BIOS v3309; for this documentation, I downloaded AS1_BIOS_3309.zip from that page. Unzip the file (a folder called 3309) on to your bootable USB. Take out your USB stick.
Now, take your powered-off ONE and plug in the AC power supply; the software will not operate unless it is plugged in. Do the following steps:
Your ONE now has its BIOS updated and your wireless hardware should be working again! My apologies to those Web authors on whose backs I am standing, but I have forgotten how I found all this out. Anyway, I think I have simplified the fix.