Installation tips for HP DV4T laptop on Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex)
November 2, 2008
Note: this post is a bit of a work in progress – I hope to add a section on external monitor support soon.
This is a brief guide to installing Intrepid on an HP Pavillion DV4T laptop. It is NOT a step-by-step guide, I will just list the steps specific to this laptop. I assume that you already know how to install Ubuntu and configure disk partitions. If you need a more in-depth way to install and configure Ubuntu, please read Getting Started With Ubuntu.
Specification of my laptop
Laptops bought directly from HP can be tailored to your specific requirements. My customizations were as follows:
– Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo Processor P8600 (2.4 GHz)
– 14.1″ diagonal WXGA High-Definition HP LED Widescreen Display (1280 x 800)
– FREE Upgrade to 3GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm) from 2GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
– 50% OFF 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 9200M GS
– FREE Upgrade to 250GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
– [For LED Display] Webcam Only
– Wireless-G Card with Bluetooth
– No Integrated WWAN
– No Modem
– LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-RW with Double Layer Support
– No TV Tuner w/remote control
– High Capacity 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
Why Ubuntu rather than Kubuntu?
I started off by installing Kubuntu, but I had a multitude of reliability problems with it. I’ve decided that KDE 4.1 (at least the Kubuntu packaged version) is not really ready for use in production yet. Which is a shame, because I found it really pretty!
I chose to install the 64bit version (amd64). I booted from the desktop install CD, and the install ran fairly smoothly. The only problem I encountered was that the first time I booted from the CD, I had an external monitor attached to the DVI/HDMI output, and the standard X drivers couldn’t handle it. I rebooted without the external monitor attached and it worked perfectly.
I always prefer to choose manual partitioning, and mount windows as /windows. Here’s what I ended up with:
Be sure to leave /dev/sda2 unchanged, and unmounted – this is the recovery partition installed by HP, which is used if you want to restore the laptop to its factory settings and data. Resize /dev/sda1, leaving enough space for your required Windows usage, and add new partitions for Linux in the newly empty space.
First boot – initial tweaks
The first thing you’ll notice is that the startup sound doesn’t work properly – the first second of the sound just repeats endlessly. This can be fixed by appending the following line to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base:
options snd-hda-intel model=3stack-dig enable_msi=1
(Thanks to Jonathan for posting this solution as a comment!)
The volume controls worked out of the box.
There are already kernel updates available, so the next thing to do is get all the latest packages:
sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude safe-upgrade
You should see a “hardware drivers” icon in the system tray (top right of the screen). This icon looks a bit like a PCI card. Click on this icon, or go to System->Administration->Hardware Drivers if the icon doesn’t appear. There should be three drivers listed:
I recommend that you activate version 177 of the NVidia driver, and the Broadcom wireless driver. These choices will of course vary depending on the specification of your laptop.
CPU Frequency monitoring
I added the “CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor” applet to my panel. Right click on the panel, select “Add to panel…” and choose it from the list. This lets you choose between difference CPU frequency settings depending on your performance needs.
Function key support
The following function keys work out of the box:
Fn-F2 – Print
Fn-F3 – go to homepage in currently opened browser
Fn-F7 – decrease brightness
Fn-F8 – increase brightness
Fn-F9, Fn-F10, Fn-F11, Fn-F12 – play/pause, stop, back, forward (in Rhythmbox)
I changed one of the key combinations as follows, by using System->Preferences->Keyboard Shortcuts:
Fn-F3 – “Launch web browser”
Adding new ones is less intuitive. This blog post has some tips: http://ubuntu.wordpress.com/2006/01/30/defining-keyboard-shortcuts-for-commands/ but I haven’t had time to look at them in detail yet.