Toshiba 2450-101

From: Andrew Sobala (andrew_at_sobala_n_o.S_P_A_M_net)
Date: 08/14/03

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    Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 16:09:52 +0100

    Installing Linux on a Toshiba 2450-101 Laptop

       Table of Contents
       Notes about the experience


       This documents my experience in installing GNU/Linux onto a
       Toshiba 2450-101 laptop. I used Red Hat Linux 9 as my
       distribution of choice. Mileage may vary with other
       distributions, though anything that's possible under Red Hat
       should be possible under all distributions with appropriate

       The essential website for any Toshiba laptop linux
       experimenting is Toshiba's unofficial Linux page.


    Working hardware

       After going through the standard install process, the
       following hardware works.

         * Monitor
         * Keyboard
         * Touch pad
         * Hard drive
         * CD-R/RW/ROM and DVD-ROM
         * Graphics card
         * Sound card
         * Network card
         * USB ports

    Untested hardware

       Some of the hardware I haven't tested since I don't use it on
       a regular basis, if at all.

         * Firewire ports (although they are detected)
         * Monitor/S-VIDEO out
         * PC card slots
         * Software modem


       Although I have not tested the software modem myself, I have
       read reviews where people have got this particular model to
       work under Linux. Extra drivers are required, though.

    Unworking hardware

       Power management - ACPI or APM - doesn't seem to work at all,
       at least with a 2.4 kernel. This means no hibernate, suspend
       or auto-power-off. If someone can get this to work, please
       contact me.

       Power management does work under Windows.

    Notes about the experience

    Repartitioning the hard drive

       From the factory, the hard drive is pre-partitioned with 1
       FAT32 partition containing Windows XP. If you want to have a
       Linux-only machine, you can boot the installation CD-ROM
       straight away and wipe this partition. If, like the majority
       of people and myself, you wish to dual-boot, you will have to
       shrink this partition.

       The most well-known way of doing this is to use Partition
       Magic. I used Partition Magic 7 to shrink my Windows partition
       down to 15 Gb, which worked fine. I didn't create any Linux
       partitions with Partition Magic because I trust the Linux
       tools more for doing that sort of thing.


       The laptop only has a 30 Gb hard disk. 2 operating systems
       will use a few Gb of this in their normal installs. Be sure
       that 30 Gb is enough for your everyday needs.

       When creating partitions, I created a standard Red Hat 100 Mb
       /boot partition (though this is excessive, 25 Mb will do
       fine), 200 Mb /tmp partition (the theory in having a separate
       partition for this is that a runaway program won't fill your
       root hard drive with silly logs), a 250 Mb swap partition and
       the rest as the root partition. Since then I have removed the
       /tmp partition since the GNOME 2.4 CD burning tool that comes
       with Ximian Desktop needs 500 Mb free space in /tmp for
       creating a CD image. So that was a waste of space, since I
       can't resize ext3 partitions.

    The graphics driver

       If you only want to use 2D applications, the graphics driver
       installed by Red Hat is fine. If you want to play Tux Racer
       you'll need a 3D accelerated driver.

       This is available from NVIDIA's linux driver page. You need
       the IA32 version. Note that it is free of charge, but not Free
       Software. Installation is fairly easy, but remember to read
       the README. You need to make small changes to /etc/XF86Config.

    Monitor unblanking

       The monitor automatically blanks after a certain amount of
       time. When it unblanks, the graphical X desktop is misaligned.
       It's difficult to describe the problem, but it makes X
       unusable without a restart. This happens with either GeForce 4
       video driver.

       It can be fixed quite easily, by going into the BIOS settings
       by holding down ESC when you see the Toshiba logo at boot and
       then pressing F1 when prompted. You can then disable screen
       blanking. This has the side effect of your screen being always
       on, though, but it's the only workaround I have been able to

    Reinstalling Windows (if you ever need to)

       The CD that comes with the laptop is a Windows recovery CD,
       not a proper install disk. It resets the hard disk to as it
       was when you bought the laptop, including partition table
       information. If you ever use it, you will completely wipe
       linux from your hard drive. Back up first!


       This laptop is Linux-compatible, with the exception of power
       management. I was nervous when I installed Linux, certain that
       something would go wrong, but I haven't had any major
       problems. Big thumbs-up to Toshiba!

    Andrew Sobala

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