Yeah, I'm just putting this issue to perspective again. The owner of the laptop is a teenager who needs it for school. It seems unlikely that she's going to throwing around serious amounts of data via USB, and if I put this question to the customer about whether I should try this risky update, she would immediately say no, I'm pretty sure of that.
I'm not particularly happy with Acer either from previous experience. I don't mind manufacturers saying things like "you should really only install BIOS updates if you're having serious problems and/or the updates mention fixes for those problems", but it shouldn't go as far as "well, if your laptop is almost a brick then you won't mind it becoming a brick". At least what I've read and previous experiences have sealed my opinion that Acer can jump off a cliff before I'll consider buying any of their kit.
I just wish I could think of some more things to try on this machine. I wish it had an eSATA socket so I could try doing a data transfer via that. The only things I can think of are to roll back some driver updates from Windows Update for the display and wlan.
I've already managed to transfer the customer's data onto the machine, as the problem doesn't happen every time, but I would say it's 75% of the time.
- edit - Dammit, why didn't I think of that sooner? I have the old disk with the Vista install, try the same test on that! I've got to wait for a disk check that I'm running on the Win7 boot disk at the moment.
- edit 2 - I'm listening to this repeatedly to try and calm down a bit, it's not been a great day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1bFr2SWP1I