Posts Tagged ‘dell’

Dell 600m, getting wireless to work

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

I have an older Dell 600m that came with 512k memory, Windows XP Home edition, no power supply and a few broken keys. From ebay I increased the memory to 1.2 gig ($34), replaced the keyboard ($17), and bought a new power supply ($11), for a parts cost of $62.

For a friend, I had tried to clean up the Windows installation twice, and tired of tying to make XP Home work right, I decided to install Ubuntu 9.04. It was a very easy install, except that the onboard broadcom wireless card was not recognised by the operating system. (more…)

Dual boot Windows and Ubuntu, Dell m1530, issue with Sata drive and AHCI mode

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Some time ago, I bought a Dell m1530, with Linux Ubuntu 8.04 pre-installed. I have since moved on and installed a few upgrades of Ubuntu. I am currently using Ubuntu 9.04, which I like very much. But I wanted to make the machine a dual boot with Windows, so I could also do a few things that Linux can’t do yet.

Yesterday and today I spent a huge amount of time trying to understand why Windows would not see my hard drive. I assumed this was a result of the Linux boot loader changing the Master Book Record (MBR), and I spend hours trying different ways of addressing this. But that was not in fact the issue. Instead, the problem was due to the hardware settings, and specially the fact that my SATA hard drive was set to use something called AHCI mode. As described in this blog post on the topic, older versions of Windows don’t have drivers that support AHCI. (more…)

Ubuntu 9.04 on Dell XPS m1530 and Inspiron 1420n

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Yesterday I installed Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) on two Dell laptops, the XPS m1530, and an Inspiron 1420n. Both installations went smoothly. (more…)

Ubuntu 9.04, beta, on Dell XPS M1530

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

I just installed Ubuntu 9.04, beta, on a Dell M1530. The install program asked if I wanted a dual boot configuration with the older 8.10 version, and I said yes. That resulted in a longer install, but it worked fine. Then I was asked if I wanted to migrate my data settings from the older partition. This was a nice option, but since I didn’t have much on the older partition, I couldn’t evaluate how well it works.

I did notice right away the cursor worked fine, without having to tweak the grub loading commands, as was necessary for the m1530 for Ubuntu 8.10. Open Office 3.0 is also supported, which is a good reason to consider upgrading when the final version is ready.

I turned on the “partner” repositories, and installed the “Ubuntu restricted-extras” packages, which I highly recommend.

I next went to, and followed the directions for adding the medibuntu repositories.

I installed Cheese to see if the webcam worked, and it did, without any problems. More important for me, I used the Synaptic Package Manager, to install Skype, which I tested with a USB Logitech headset and also a USB VOIP phone. Skype recognized and used both devices without any problems. The voice quality from the USB Logitech headset was particularly good, which show shows the value of a good microphone. It also found and worked well with the m1530 webcam. The built-in webcam seems to work quite a bit better with skype than with cheese.

So far, the beta version looks pretty polished, and it works better on this machine than did final 8.04 or 8.10 releases.

The Dell XPS m1530 is in some ways a nicely designed machine. Mine has a very high resolution screen 15.4 inch screen, 1920 x 1200 (16:10), and a fast NVIDIA video card. It has a fingerprint reader you can configure for log-in, an SD/MMC (8 in 1 they claim) memory card reader, built in web cam and microphone, bluetooth and lots of I/O, including HMDI and S-Video for video. It is also pretty light, and has a decent keyboard.

Despite all of this, right now I am using my older Dell 1420n, which is heavier, and has a smaller, but still pretty decent screen. The reason I switched back was that when using Ubuntu 8.10, the m1530 was not as dependable as the 1420n when I used suspend. And even more important, the battery life for the m1530 has been terrible for me, and this is a big deal when I travel.

If I can resolve the battery issue, I would probably switch back to the XPS m1530. But for now, I am more comfortable using the older laptop.