Ubuntu Video Configuration on a Dell Inspiron 2600

September 21, 2008 by
Filed under: HowTo, linux, Ubuntu 

Update Nov. 9, 2008 - While trying to get Ubuntu 8.10 working on my 2600, I remembered one key detail to getting 8.04 to work. I've only gotten it to work with BIOS revision A08. Here's a link to the Inspiron 2600 BIOS A08 on the Dell website. Unfortunately, this is a Windows executable to make a bootable floppy, so obviously you'll need access to a Windows machine to make the BIOS boot disk.

Ubuntu 8.04 installation on the Dell Inspiron 2600 takes a few tweaks to the video configuration to get it working properly.  First off, to get the Live CD to work you will need to select Safe Graphics Mode at the boot options screen to get the Desktop Environment to load properly. I'm not going to cover the entire Ubuntu installation process as it is well covered elsewhere.

Once you have Ubuntu installed you need to reboot and select the recovery mode from the boot screen.  Select the root prompt option and hit Enter. Now that you're logged in, you need to edit the xorg.conf file.


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nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Find the section with the following line:

Identifier    "Configured Video Device"

and change the section to look like this.

Section "Device"
Identifier    "Intel i830"
Driver        "i810"
BusID        "PCI:0:2:0"

The next section should be for "Configured Monitor".  Change it to look like this:

Section "Monitor"
Identifier    "Generic Monitor"
Option        "DPMS"
HorizSync    28-49
VertRefresh    43-72

Next, change the "Screen" section to look like this:

Section "Screen"
Identifier    "Default Screen"
Device        "Intel i830"
Monitor        "Generic Monitor"
DefaultDepth    24
SubSection "Display"
Modes        "1024x768" "800x600"

With all of your edits complete, hit Ctrl+X to exit the nano editor. Hit Y when prompted to save, then hit Enter to save it as /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

Now, reboot your computer to see the changes take effect.


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4 Responses to “Ubuntu Video Configuration on a Dell Inspiron 2600”

  1. [...] As a result, I was running Hardy with an older kernel from Gutsy. There were also difficulties with getting the video settings properly configured. I decided it was time to go in search of a new distro to run on this old [...]

  2. Linerd says:

    I recently downloaded the CentOS 5.4 Live CD and it works on my Inspiron 2600 without any changes. I don't use this old laptop very often any more, so I haven't gotten around to doing a permanent install yet. I think CentOS will work well because it's based on the 2.4 kernel series which includes the older Intel video drivers. Intel has dropped support for the i810/i830 chips in the newer drivers, so Ubuntu is becoming more of a challenge on this laptop.

  3. Rob Lang says:

    Thanks for that top tip!

    Just an added joy, On the Dell A08 BIOS page, there is a handy 'other formats' link where you can get a hard drive version of the installer. It's still a Windows EXE but it installs to the HD so if you can't find a 3 1/4 inch floppy to save you life, you can still install it.

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