My Tweaks to the Aspire One Netbook

I need to document the tweaks that I made to the Acer Aspire One netbook, so I figured I might as well post them here since someone else may find them useful. All of this info is available with sufficient googling but here’s the condensed version.


The PC is the Acer Aspire One, Linux  version with 8GB SSD, referred to in these previous postings:

My basic approach to hacking this PC is to leave most of it alone and make minimal adjustments:

  • Enable the advanced mode user interface
  • Load Thunderbird in place of the original email client
  • Load a few more games

Enable Advanced Mode

This one is easy. Get into the Terminal mode (AKA linux command line) by pressing ALT – F2 on the keyboard.  Type in: xfce-setting-show which will bring up a window with several icons on it. Click on Desktop to get to the Desktop Preferences and choose the Behavior tab. Now mark under Menus the Show desktop menu on right click option and close the window. Now you can access a much expanded menu selection by selecting a Right Click on the desktop.

See for more information or if you find my instructions inadequate.

Load New Software

Now that Advanced Mode is enabled, we’ll go load up some new software. Do a Right Click with the mouse on the desktop to bring up the advanced menu. Select SYSTEM and ADD/REMOVE SOFTWARE, which brings up the dialog box for managing the installed software. It will probably take a little while for it to load the list of available choices. Then use the SEARCH tab to find these software programs and add them in:

  • thunderbird
  • any other programs (I just added a few games)

Follow the prompts to get the software to load and be patient.

Fixing the Main Menu (So Email points to Thunderbird)

There is one more thing to fix. The Desktop Menu icon for “Email” still points to Aspire One Mail, not Thunderbird. You could choose to just live with this and select Thunderbird from the Advanced Menu (Right Click on Desktop). Warning: You can royally screw up your computer if you make an error, so all disclaimers apply!

To change the Desktop Menu, we need to edit one of the files that defines how the menus are configured. This forum discussion has all of the info but I will also summarize it here.

Edit this file using Mousepad or some other editor:


You should be able to use the standard file manager to find this file. A double-click on the file should launch the editor.

Find the line that begins <app sequence=”3″ acs=”email”>
Change AME.desktop to mozilla-thunderbird.desktop
Save the file and reboot the PC (you may want to save the original file somewhere in case you need to reverse this edit). Be Sure to Reboot the PC for this change to take effect.

One More Thing

To stop Aspire One Mail from checking for new messages:

Open Aspire One Mail (you may need to use the advanced menu now for this)
Uncheck: “Check for Messages Every:” and “Play sound when new messages arrive.”

5 thoughts on “My Tweaks to the Aspire One Netbook

  1. Hi. Thank you so much. I have been trying to sort this out for days without success and your solution worked! I am trying to get an understanding of Linux. How did you know to change the wording on that line from ‘AME.desktop’ to ‘mozilla-thunderbird.desktop’ and not just ‘thunderbird.desktop’ or something else? Thanks again. Simon

    • Simon, I just followed the directions that I found on the web. I know a bit about Linux, but I have to tell you….it is not trivial to learn. If you really want to get into and have the time, I’d encourage you to investigate it further but don’t expect to just dabble in it.


  2. That’s awesome!!! I look for netbook for my boyfriend.And how to choose it.Which brands is the best ?I saw many web about this but your web is the best for me.Thank you.

    • Thanks for the comment. The netbooks being offered are changing every week with more capability for the dollar, so it is difficult to stay current. My daughter has a new HP netbook, which is quite nice. I’d recommend looking at them in person (not on the web) as the keyboard size is a key factor (don’t want it too small if you are going to type on it.) If I were shopping for one today, I would look at Acer, Asus and HP.

  3. It is worth noting that the Linpus Linux version on the Aspire One is based on Fedora Core 8. Most of binary rpms that exist for FC8 will work on the Aspire One.

    I installed fldigi on mine so that I can operate a number of Amateur (HAM) Radio Digital modes such as PSK31 and Hellschreiber.


    Michael VE3WMB