Booting from USB and installing Windows 7 on current Acer notebooks like the Acer Aspire M5

Created by Valeria_aksakova - Freepik.com
When you want to install an older Windows (like Windows 7) on a notebook like the M5, you'll find multiple problems I will try to explain and solve in the following. The fact that you do not have a hard drive disc (HDD) in many of the new laptops doesn't make it easier.

At first, we must change the Bios settings to boot from USB (USB HDD, USB CD, and further options; shift them to the highest level that the system asks for these options first) and, in addition, change from the UEFI setting to the normal boot method (as UEFI is intended for Windows 8 and higher). The USB drive can be formatted FAT of NTFS - it should now work in both ways. I have here NTFS as my ISO file for Windows 7 does only support this. You will probably get into the Bios by pressing (multiple presses) F2 or F8.

We should now be able to boot from our bootable USB stick (prepared by the RUFUS program and a Windows ISO, that was installed on the stick via Rufus). A problem we can face next is that we are not able to install Windows on our partitions - whether or not we delete or re-format our harddrive. The reason for this may be that Windows 8 you used or bought with your computer used GPT as disk format on your HDD - what does sometimes not work for Windows seven or similar. In addition to the install feature, your USb drive with the windows ISO should also offer you the option to "repair" your computer and by this method to change your partition style:
From your Windows 7 DVD or bootable stick, click Repair your computer. Then select Command Prompt in the repair window. Once you've entered the command prompt, type diskpart to enter the utility. Type select disk # replacing "#" with the drive number of the one you wish to format. To see a list of disks, type list disk. Type clean. This deletes all volumes from the drive. Type convert mbr to convert the disk to MBR (you can repeat this process and in step 3 replace with the command convert gpt to go back to GPT).
See this tutorial for more info.
[Alternatively, Rufus may theoretically offer the option to "install" the live USB stick in GPT mode and UEFI, and an installation is possible without switching to mbr. But this does not work if your downloaded Windows is not capable of UEFI mode, generally this method is not safe.]

By this method, we now have MBR partitions where we can install Windows 7 or other older versions of Windows.

Another problem you might now observe is that the installation of Windows runs fine, but the computer is rebooting and trying to install Windows from the beginning.Having a closer look, you can find out that the boot manager you previously installed is blocked by the Bios of your notebook, what can happen when you install something like an older Windows or a modified version - what is not generally a bad thing! The option to change is "secure boot", better to say switch this function off, or insert the .efi file manually to the allowed ones (the options here differ from Bios to Bios). Then your new Windows should be allowed to start.

Comment if you have further ideas! :)

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