Monday, June 21, 2010

Installing Nvidia driver Ubuntu 10.04 Satellite Pro 6100

Yes I did it I got Ubuntu 10.04 up and running on my old Toshiba
Satellite Pro. I have OpenOffice running (and am writing this article
with it) I can print to the shared printer attached to my wifes
computer, I can scan documents into my computer life is good. Now to
make my video work really nice.
I noticed that I had no video driver installed so I was viewing
everything with default settings. This was all good and fine except I
wasn't using the capabilities of the built in Nvidia4 420 Go 3D video
card. This of course I had to change. But doing this was much harder
than I had expected. I will explain the steps I took to install and
make it work.
I had to search the Internet for pieces of what I needed, then do a
bit of trial and error to get it installed and working. I ran into all
sorts of stoppers like blank screens, no Xorg.conf file after loading
Nvidia driver. and the

computer not letting me edit Xorg.conf file I later created. There was
no step by step instructions until now.

  1. At the top Menu select System

    1. Then select Administration

    2. Then select Hardware drivers (The computer will now scan for

  1. The Computer will find an Nvidia driver

    1. Select Activate (The driver will not be activated until a
      reboot has happened)

  2. At the top Menu select Applications

    1. Select Accessories

    2. Select Terminal and type in the following in sequence.

      • sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg -phigh (then hit the
        Enter key)

      • sudo nvidia-xconfig (then hit the Enter key)

      • gksudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf (then hit the Enter key)
        You will need to enter your system password. This will open up a text
        editor and allow you to edit the Xorg.conf file.

    3. Look for the Screen section and add these two lines:

      • Option "UseDisplayDevice" "DFP" (add this right under
        Section "Screen")
      • Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True" (add this under
        DefaultDepth 24)

      • Example Before:

        Section "Screen"
                Identifier "Screen0"
                Device "Device0"
                Monitor "Monitor0"
                DefaultDepth 24
            SubSection "Display"
                    Depth 24
                    Modes "1600x1200" "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

      • Example after:

        Section "Screen"
                Option "UseDisplayDevice" "DFP"
                identifier "Screen0"
                Device "Device0"
                Monitor "Monitor0"
                DefaultDepth 24
                Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True"
           SubSection "Display"
                   Depth 24
                   Modes "1600x1200" "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

        d. Select File
        e. Select Save
        f. Reboot Computer

You should now be able to boot into Unbuntu 10.04 and have the
Nvidia video driver working on your Satellite Pro 6100. Of course this
will probably work on many other laptops so this information should
help others with similar issues.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The quest to add Linux to my Flash drive.

Every once in a while I get fed up with Windows, I swear that I will wipe XP off of my old Toshiba laptop and replace it with a free operating system that will not be so bloated and slow. I then always step back a step or so and think to myself “I still have programs that I like to run on XP that won't run on Linux.” I have tried splitting up my hard drive and dual booting but why waste hard drive space when I could stick a whole operating system on a flash drive and use it on any computer. So my quest began to find a Linux package that would be somewhat stable and operate reasonably for me to use.

I will cut to the chase and then tell you the steps you can take to do the same thing. After trying out about 10 different Linux packages on my flash drive I decided that I really liked Kubuntu. Ubuntu has come along way and I really prefer a KDE environment over others that I have tried. Plus it works really well for me.

Here is my system:
Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100 Laptop
P4 1.8 GHZ
1 GB of RAM
2 USB 1.1 ports
2 USB 2 ports using a PCMCIA adapter.
40 MB hard drive
Kubuntu on a 4GB flash stick.

My first hurtle was the fact that the BIOS for my laptop didn't have USB boot support. But I was able to work around it with a program called Plop Bootmanager. This gave me the ability to choose one of my USB ports as the Boot drive. I am still only able to boot from the 1.1 USB ports but it's better that nothing. I think that the driver for the USB 2 ports that are on the PCMCIA card don't load until after the boot menu. Click this link Scroll down to “Harddisk install using the Windows boot menu (2K, XP and VISTA)” and follow the instructions to allow USB booting on a machine that doesn't have the USB boot option in the BIOS.

If you have a flash stick that doesn't let you use the full space on the disk because of secure space reserved on the flash you might want to reformat the whole disk. Now this is easier said than done, my 4 GB flash drive was split into 2 partitions. I wanted all 4GB in one partition. I found a very small free utility from HP that reformatted the flash drive into 1 partition. It's called HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool.

The next step was to actually put a Linux package on my flash drive and test it out. The best way to do this is to use Universal USB Installer found on There is a list of many Linux packages to choose from. I started out thinking I wanted a small package for my flash drive and tried some of the small packages like DSL (Damn Small Linux), Puppy Linux, and Slax. They were all kind of fun to play with but a little too unstable for me. I finally decided on Kubuntu. With this little program you can even download the exact disk image you need. Remember to use persistence if it is needed. I found 2GB worked just fine for my setup. Persistence allows you to save changes on your flash stick.

After playing with Kunbuntu on my hard drive for some time I opted for Unbuntu the regular installation. It just worked better for me all the way around on my Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100. I was having some issues with scanning that corrected by switching.