Linux: Ubuntu 7.04 on a Compaq Presario C500

I got Ubuntu 7.04 working on a new Compaq Presario C500 laptop. It's running really well, and it only cost me $479 :-D

The Ubuntu installer voluntarily resized sda1 (the primary partition) to 41595mb. I'm super impressed that it knows how to resize an NTFS partition! Hence, dual-booting Ubuntu and Windows Vista was really easy. By the way, I left sda2 alone. It's 5946mb, and it contains the Compaq restore image.

By the way, does anyone else feel that Compaq computers running Windows are simply an ad delivery mechanism? The default 512mb is scarcely usable in Vista. Fortunately, it's just fine under Ubuntu.

I setup wireless using ndiswrapper.

I kept hitting the touchpad with my thumb, which was messing me up when I was typing. Hence, I did:
  • apt-get install gsynaptics
  • Set "SHMConfig" to "true" in the touchpad section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf.
  • I restarted X.
  • I ran the touchpad preferences utility at System :: Preferences :: Touchpad. I disabled tapping.
  • The next time I logged in, the sensitivity was turned down all the way. Hence, I had to use the touchpad preferences utility to turn it up again.
To get the screen to work at the right resolution, I ran "apt-get install 915resolution" and rebooted.

I've noticed that suspend does not work, but hibernate does.

Anyway, I'm happy :-D


Anonymous said…
Vista with 512mb ram is almost completely unusable, even as a fresh install!

I keep saying I'll order more ram, but the half-gig I have works fine with XP and Ubuntu, so I'm sticking w/it.

Also, I too kept the recovery partition but can't seem to use it. The documentation states to hit F11 at boot, but that does nothing for me, ha ha ha!

- A
Anonymous said…
I have a Compaq Presario 1000UK and it came with 256MB of RAM. I ordered a Gig (1024MB) of RAM for it which is now happily working in my machine :-) so now I got 1279MB RAM . So I can definatly run ubuntu as a live CD right?? Nope, it just does nothing. you get a black screen with some writing at the bottom and a cursor at the top left hand corner of the screen and thats it. I thought it was curious so I tried it in another Compaq computer with 256MB RAM. still no go. exactly the same thing happened. I'm going to try it on the last comp in the house with is a packard bell with vista basic on it. I'm using Vista ultimate on this one. the Packard has only 512MB ram but I shall try it once I can kick my little bro of it because hes playing games on it lol. To get it working on my Compaq Presario 1000UK do I need to re-flash BIOS? pleas help me. Thanks
jjinux said…
I'm sorry, I don't know why your Compaq Presario 1000UK isn't working. I'm sure it's not the lack of memory. It's probably something related to DMA or the video card. What does it actually say?

I googled, but didn't come up with anything. Sorry :(
Unknown said…
Thanks to your post, I now have my Presario C500 working (including the wireless) with Ubuntu 7.04. I really appreciate the clear instructions and links.
jjinux said…
> Thanks to your post,

Wow, hearing a thank you like that makes it all worthwhile ;)

Anonymous said…
I'm curious if you had problems with getting the soundcard working? I installed kubuntu on a Presario C500 (542A to be exact), and although the soundcard is recognised there seems to be no output. Vista & XP both defaulted to the non-existant SPDIF out, but I can't seem to see if kubuntu is doing the same or if it's a driver issue.

Thankfully everything else worked as you documented, for which I'm very grateful to have found such concise instructions in one place!
jjinux said…
> I'm curious if you had problems with getting the soundcard working?

No. Open up your mixer and play with all the various settings. In the past, it's happened to me that something was turned down all the way, preventing me from hearing anything. Make sure you're configuring the right device, etc. For me, even the hardware buttons for changing the volume worked without any configuration.

> I'm very grateful to have found such concise instructions in one place!

Oh, thanks!
jjinux said…
When I plug my headphones in, it doesn't mute the speakers. Apparently, this is a bug in ALSA. More details here. I think I'll wait until they actually release the fix.
Anonymous said…
Thanks this is a great resource. I have a Compaq C560US. I got this specifically to run Linux (as Vista on a 512M machine is just unsuable) You site pointed me in the correct direction to solve my Video res. Ill look into the Network (WLAN) issue when I get home.

again thanks and well done.
Russ Benk said…
Running Lucid Puppy on a Compaq Presario C500 as I type. Ticking along just fine for the moment, but still having a few issues with the WLAN.
jjinux said…
Cool! Thanks for the comment!