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- We had 3 units arrive on June 6, 2000 from Dell,
with the bare minimum 32MB, and
upgraded w/ two 128MB sdram's from a 3rd party vendor
(crucial.com) since it was about half the price Dell was
charging us. -
Upd: upgraded units arrived July 11, since they sent us
the wrong (1024) screen resolution version
- Configuration: P600/500 speedstep, 256MB, 18GB, 8MB ATI video, 15" LCD. XGA
Upd: 18GB became 20GB, XGA became
- Dell/Hardware/Software quirks:
- to work with the touchpad and external mouse at the same time,
change the BIOS setting. If you have an imwheel based mouse
you may not want to do this.
- sometimes the external mouse does not seem to be detected
when you come back out suspend. You can try going to a VC
and come back to X, or kill and restart gpm, or
take out the mouse and re-insert it. I've had good luck
with some of those.
- to safely switch playing DVD's from different reqions.....
(the DVD in this unit is supposed to be multi-regionable)
- the hardware volume buttons on the left do not work in linux
- on occasion (probably once every other month) my machine does
not wakeup from suspend normally, and i have to reboot. I'm
still running BIOS rev. A06 though, Dell now has A08 available.
- Linux distribution quirks:
- Mandrake7.0 is fine, but 7.1 (or an upgrade to it) locks up
when the maestro driver is loaded... Comment out the
/etc/conf.modules entry for maestro and it appears to run
fine (you will need a rescue boot for this or do this
before rebooting the system).
My upgraded mdk71 also seems to have problems with APM.
- Had problems with rh62 on the first unit, decided to install
rh62 before memory was upgraded, and had no problems this time.
- Once I had multiple OS's (w98 and rh71) running again,
the rh62 Meastro sound driver could not be loaded (the machine
would hang) during a boot. Presumably the sound card was in a funny
state. This was the default 2.2.14 kernel, it may very well be solved
with later kernels, as the rh71 did not seem to suffer from this
- Split the disk with FIPS, no problems. My personal preference
was: dos=3G /=1.5G /test=1.5G /home=12G swap=256M. On an
18GB drive I like to use a backup/bootstrap partition for
another OS (came in handy, see below)
- Redhat6.2 refused to install on first model, random hangups in the text
install (graphic install is already known not to work). Maybe the
extra new memory. Advice to install on machine as it came from Dell.
Then add memory when all works well.
- Mandrake7.0 then installed without a snag. After this was installed,
redhat6.2 suddenly installed just fine..... go and figure.
- autorepeat is too slow, i use kbdrate -r 30 to speed this
up. After a suspend it will however loose this again. Need to
patch the system resume scripts for that.
- I don't trust speed-step with current kernels yet, it may seem to
work, but after a few days coming out of suspend mode will cause
spurious lost interrupts, and a hanging system.
- I'm setting the clock to GMT and using ZONE to point at time-zone,
which seems like a more sane way to handle time if you travel with
the laptop. However, unlike my Micron, the Dell doesn't reset
the time properly. I have to manually run "hwclock --hctosys"
upon resume. Despite that CLOCK_SYNC="yes" in the system files.
- APM on the 5000e now also kinda-works (May 2001), but you need to
upgrade with the new BIOS available on Dell's website.
- closing the lid, and Fn-ESC to suspend are not exactly the same. The
former wakes up the machine by hitting a key, but it doesn't
seem to wakeup my externally connected PS/2 mouse. It may have
problems with other peripherals.
- Suspend to disk should work, making a partition is probably better
than using a DOS file. As somebody wrote:
1. shrink Windoze partition
2. boot into Windoze and find the 'phdisk' program (possibly on one of the CDs
that came with the machine)
3. run 'phdisk /create /partition' (check these switches!)
4. install Linux and remove Windoze. While installing Linux, fdisk shows:
/dev/hda4 2566 2584 143640 a0 IBM Thinkpad hibernation
This is the partition created by phdisk.
- Kernel 2.4.x attempts with rh62:
here is my current .config file for
kernel 2.4.1. It's not 100% working, and there are some caveats:
(don't forget to update modutils, and rename your
/etc/conf.modules to /etc/modules.conf)
- booting from 2.4 to 2.2 will cause 2.2 to hang when it wants
to load the maestro sounddriver. Simply go through a cold
boot to make it forget it was in 2.4 mode. At fault is the
slightly older 2.2 maestro driver (probably)
- "apm -s" did not want to wake up. Ooops, i don't do suspend,
maybe should have done standby.... need to check this.
- vga=791 in lilo.conf did not work, console was blank....
but X worked. used vga=2, that worked fine, but does not
look as nice in console.
Reinstalling everything from scratch on a new HD:
Dell had a good offer for a new 32GB HD (also at 5400rpm as opposed to
the default 4200rpm for laptop HDs), this included the housing, so although
the Dell 5000 cannot be configured with 2 HDs, replacing the HD is now
a matter of seconds (and a small screwdriver if you desire to keep the
HD well attached). To my surprise Dell's windows install was linux
friendly (i've seen much worse). In a nutshell these were the
- installed rh62 on a non-first partition
- set the partition type of hda1 to 0c "(Win95 FAT32 (LBA)"
- ran "mkdosfs -F 32 /dev/hda1" to format the partition for windows
- insert the purple special-for-Dell Win98 CD, choose the
3rd option to recover Win98 (4th option would reformat the disk,
1st and 2nd would only do drivers or win98 itself). This takes
about 15 minutes.
- boot back to linux, and add dos to the lilo again, my /dos was
now about 500MB, but it's only a 640x480 and 16 colors :-)
[see also ms-sys]
- boot back to windows, now "Windows is running for first time"
and you need to enter your language, keyboard, product ID
(which I could not find, but later found out it's on a sticker
at the bottom of the laptop), timezone etc.
- reboot again, and enter the system software CD from Dell. You
need to manually start up the CD via the D: icon in "My Computer"
and run "Setup" in the Audio, Video, Touchpad and Speedstep
directories in Windows98. There are a few more things though
(e.g. APR is the port replicator, which i don't have) you could
do. Each time don't reboot the machine, we do that later.
- Now reboot the machine, (you should now see the 1400x1050 screen)
and after that enter the DVD encoder
software, the other CD Dell gave you with this machine.
- reboot again, and now you should be able to play DVD's !!!
- I then proceeded to install rh71, which was a total snap, realy easy.
the 1400x1050 screen was detected, sound worked right away etc.etc.
My /dos now contains 608MB.
- caveat: default rh62 needs to be booted from a cold start, else
the Meastro-2E sound driver hangs the boot. Maybe newer kernels
(>2.2.14) will have fixed this.
- now....anybody still claiming installing Windows98 is a snap,
should probably be taken to an asilum.
The previously mentioned 32GB drive started making some really
scary noises. Happened twice, first christmas 2001, then
again in May 2002, both times locking the mahcine. First thinking
it was a disk crash, but it seems some kind of mechanical thing.
Ordered a new drive from Dell, and sadly , they didn't have the 32GB
available anymore. Instead replaced it with a 40GB. Despite that it
was running at 4200rpm, this drive was a lot lighter and also
faster: 19-20 MB/sec instead of 16-17 MB/sec, as measured with
hdparm. This time copied the contents over a 100Mbit link
to a fast desktop hard-drive. Installed RH73 on it, and copied
the data back. Time to copy: 2hr10min for 28 MB, or about
3.5 MB/sec. Command:
tar -cf - / | ssh xeon tar -C /a/BACKUP -xf -
- Random notes:
if you use 2 batteries, one (expansion bay) will be used before
the other, and between one and the other the charge will sit at
50% for 10-15 minutes or so.
you can actually - carefyully - swap batteries if the laptop is
on juice. I did suspend the machine while doing this.
- Some notes on installing Fedora:
- graphic install doesn't work... so need to enter "linux text" at the prompt....
- fedora core 3: graphic install works, but now X doesn't work. Adding
vga=792 seems to get get back to live. Some others mentioned
replacing "driver ati" by "driver vesa" in teh xorg.conf file,
but of course that way you loose acceleration
For inspiron 1000 is was mentioned that vga=733 did the trick.
- Other people have also written about this unit
(you should be able to find their links on the
Linux Laptop Page too.