Acer ES1-111M-C3CP review

Acer ES1-111M-C3CP
Acer ES1-111M-C3CP

A few months ago I bought a new laptop: the Acer ES1-111M-C3CP. I wanted something small and quiet. I didn’t need anything particularly powerful—that was the point: just something that would allow me to get on with some writing projects while Reuben. Joshua and Isaac hijack my desktop PC to play LEGO computer games.


The laptop features:

  • Windows 8.1 64-bit
  • Intel Celeron N2840 2.16 GHz
  • Intel HD graphics
  • 11.6″ HD LED display screen (1366 × 768 pixels)
  • Fanless (silent performance)
  • 8 GB DDR3 RAM (upgraded from 2 GB — there’s a guide here on how to upgrade the RAM: Acer Aspire E3-111 Disassembly)
  • eMMC 32 GB (solid state disk)

Setting up the laptop

My plan was to install only a few applications:

  1. Google Chrome (browser)
  2. Dropbox (selective sync of only writing projects)
  3. Scrivener (writing application)
  4. Write! (a beautifully simple editor)
  5. LibreOffice (a Microsoft Office-compatible office suite)
  6. Scapple (free-form text
  7. Mindjet Mind Manager (mind mapping)
  8. MusicBee (audio player)
  9. VLC media player (for watching the occasional Mpeg-4)
  10. Skype (video and text chat)
  11. F-lux (adjust the screen colour temperature)

Out of the box, set-up didn’t take terribly long (once I’d swapped out the 2 GB RAM for an 8 GB module) and I signed into my Microsoft account

I then uninstalled most of the bundled applications (McAfee, Microsoft Office 2013 Home and Student trial, a few Acer media/office applications, plus a bunch of Windows Modern UI (Metro) apps and set about the seemingly never-ending task of running Windows Update which pulled in more than 130 updates.

But here’s the thing… the laptop only started with 32 GB of hard disk space. On initial startup there is a little more than 9 GB of free space. After the Windows updates only 3.13 GB of hard drive space is left.

Windows updates ate almost 6 GB of hard drive space!?

And that’s after uninstalling the bundled software and running Disk Clean-up to remove remnant update files.


Over the last couple of months I appear to have performed a factory reset more often than actually using the laptop for the purpose for which I bought it.

The factory reset is pretty good, to be fair. The 32 GB drive is divided into three partitions:

  • 100 MB (EPI system partition)
  • 19.40 GB (NTFS—Windows 8.1)
  • 9.5 GB (recovery partition)

Despite what the Acer factory reset application advises, once you’ve created a USB recovery disk you cannot delete the recovery partition. According to some on various discussion forums, this partition is a Windows Image File Boot (WIMBoot) that is required to run Windows.

Which means that if you find that you’ve installed too large a collection of applications you end up with your C: drive reporting 0 bytes free, as I did for the umteenth time last night.

To try to get around this I attached a tiny Sandisk 32 GB USB 3.0 drive as storage (installation files and music) and onto which I could install applications. But, of course, whenever you install any software on Windows, no matter where, the C: drive is always used.

And so I still managed to overflow the C: drive and had to perform yet another factory reset.

Currently my ambitions are a little less ambitious:

  1. Google Chrome (browser)
  2. Dropbox (Modern UI)
  3. Scrivener (writing application)
  4. Write! (a beautifully simple editor)
  5. F-lux (adjust the screen colour temperature)

I’ll see how I get on. With those five applications installed I have 2.63 GB free on C: drive. Far from the 9.5 GB that I had expected when I bought the machine.


I can’t help feeling rather disappointed with my first couple of months with this machine. The build quality is really pretty decent for something at this price (£179): the screen is large and bright enough for my needs, the keyboard feels comfortable, and so far I’ve had no issues with the touchpad (though I do prefer to use a USB Microsoft Intellimouse Optical mouse.

32 GB is clearly not enough. I would have happily paid more for double that. 64 GB would have made this gem of a machine far more flexible. Instead I have to worry about installing as little as possible. I can’t simply get on and write, I always have to have an eye on whether Windows Update has run and used up the remaining sliver of hard drive.

(UPDATE: Note that the hard drive cannot be upgraded. It’s an eMMC drive — like flash storage — that is soldered to the motherboard.)

Hey! There’s not even enough free space to keep the trial installation of Microsoft Office 2013 that it ships with—how utterly ill-thought through is that?!

If I’d been using this as a Windows-flavoured ChromeBook-equivalent, relying entirely on web apps and storage, I would probably be delighted with the machine. But as it is, I’m not writing everything in Google Drive and I’ve more or less given up on Microsoft OneDrive due its unreliable file synchronisation for documents. (Something that a friend of mine from St Andrews was also complaining about on Facebook the other day, prompting her move to Dropbox.)

Anyway, I’ll report back here in a couple of months to give an update on how I’m getting on… in the meantime, if you’re looking to buy this laptop yourself be warned that once you’ve done all the updates you’ll have next to no drive space to store anything, let alone run the thing.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

10 thoughts on “Acer ES1-111M-C3CP review”

  1. Good to see you have increased the memory, I must try that – was it easy? The Touch-pad kept freezing on my first machine, so I now have a new one. I agree about the 32gb SSD limitation – a bit frustrating. Would it take a bigger mSata SSD, not sure – have not opened it up yet. I would also like to consider upgrading the wireless card to dual band AC. In hindsight, I probably should have bought something like this with a HDD and swapped with a standard SSD. Great for just Browsing though and handy for travel.

  2. Hi Stephen

    replacing the RAM wasn’t particularly straight forward. While many laptops have an easily-accessible hatch that allows you to quickly remove the old RAM module and replace it with another this laptop requires you to dismantle the machine.

    This guide on Acer Aspire E3-111 Disassembly will give you an idea of what is required.

    The issue with the hard drive is that it isn’t a hard drive in the conventional sense: it’s eMMC which is like flash storage, similar to an SD or MMC card that you’d fit in a digital camera. Which means that it’s soldered to the motherboard.

  3. hello, im reading on internet (and amazon comments) that people can delete restore partition of 9Gb, installing a cleaned 8.1. and later they have free 15Gb . Can you delete finally this partition??? thanks!

  4. rip out the windows OS…….it uses half the memory before it does anything
    install a decent version of Linux… it does everything you want FOR FREE and can use very little space if you look for a small one……

    1. If I had that laptop now, I would certainly do that. But I sold it a few months after I bought it and bought another. And like Goldilocks, I got one that was too small, then one that was too big, and I still have the one that was just right.

  5. One of the reasons Windows sucks …you need so much space to install all the crap afterwards …dont forget space for restore and space for a page file . Then there is the indexing which should be disabled …in fact you could spend a day sorting out Windows disabling things …just to get it to run reasonable .
    May as well go back to XP which takes little space and still does the job ..but of course thats silly ? Or is it ? There is little to cheer about when 32 gig is consumed by the op system … before you even think about programs ? which also need updates (lol)
    You may as well run Linux from a thumb drive and keep all the drive space …Windows is a white elephant that grows every day along with the browsing history and drivers junk it collects like a garbage truck . Nobody can say is not important ..when so many lap tops have emmc 32 gig drives ..perhaps a bad idea from day 1 …but its a price thing when you buy your net book .
    Windows 10 can be cut own to a 9.8 gig install ..but it has next to nothing left ..not even updates ..but you can use it with third party progs ..anti virus..firewall ..ect Depends what you do with the machine ..the only other option is Linux not Windows .

  6. Hi!
    I came across this blog looking for ways to tweak my Acer E-11 (ES1-111M-C7DE). It’s a different hardware setup than the OP’s, but even though I don’t have the small storage issues, there are a lot of things I’ve learned as I went about that sort of thing.
    Having gone through lack of storage issues with my desktop (with game downloads, sigh), I did a LOT of research into maximizing the storage I did have.
    This first bit addresses the elephant in your room, Gareth. Though your problem is going on six years in the past, you’ll one day have need of this again, I’m sure. Examine this link:

    The short version of this idea is that by using a method built into Windows you can make a program THINK it’s installing/saving to the small C: drive when in fact it is installing to any other drive you wish. Like your external drive.
    The next approach you might take is to reroute where Windows saves certain files. Now, I’m completely talking about Windows 10 here. AFAIK Windows 7 and back can NOT do what I’m describing. I applaud your “hang tough” attitude with Windows 7, 8.1, XP, etc, but…time marches on.
    Windows 10 allows you to assign new Windows app installs and saves to your libraries (Documents, Movies, Pictures, and Videos) to any other storage location you wish. Get to it, man!
    The third thing you can do is eliminate components of Windows that are more bulk than profit. Check this link: for a start.
    Many people move the Windows Pagefile or eliminate it altogether. Personally, I believe in having plenty of RAM, which removes the need for a page file, so I don’t keep it. Opinions are very divided over this, though, so my advice is do a LOT of research before you commit. Here’s a good explanatory link for the whole move/remove process:
    I run the Windows built-in Disk Cleanup program regularly too to keep bloat under control.
    Nice blog, Gareth, and as a fellow Scrivener, much luck in your writing endeavors! <– Tells you my side of the pond . 🙂

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