Installation of Linux Red Hat 7.2 on a Compaq Presario 1700T (1710TW) laptop

Denis Bourdon - Student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) / Telecom Grenoble, France -

Last update: February, 16th 2002

 If you own a Compaq Presario 1700T and you want to (try to) install Linux, here is the place! First of all, prepare yourself to waste quite a lot of time...
 If I manage to solve the problems I currently have, I will update this page, so come back soon. But at the time, as I have X and Ethernet working, that's fine for me. Any help and comment is appreciated.
 Check the Compaq section of the famous "Linux on Laptops" site for other material, as well as Daniel's page about installing Linux on a Compaq Presario 1711T.

I. My configuration and what works under Linux

COMPAQ Presario 1700T (actual model: 1710TW), with Windows 2000 Professional SP1 preloaded.

Hardware Works
Intel Pentium III mobile 1GHz with SpeedStep Technology (slows down to 700MHz if battery-powered) -not tested-
256 Mb RAM 133 MHz (1 slot + 1 slot available) with 512 Kb L2 cache yes
20 GB hard disk, IDE yes
14.1" TFT XGA screen - 1024x768 32 colors max yes
ATI Radeon AGP 4x 8 Mb video card yes
DVD 8x - floppy interoperable (FutureBay) no hot swapping
Ethernet Intel 10/100 yes
Modem 56Kbps Conexant HSF Winmodem no
Audio Intel Corporation i810 AC'97 yes
USB yes
(with USB mouse)
Power management -not tested-
Cisco Aironet PCMCIA 350 Series 802.11b wireless networking card (purchased separately) -not tested-

II. Reinstalling Windows 2000 and repartitioning the hard disk

 My machine has a Windows 2000 "QuickRestore" recovery CD, which is actually a Windows 98 boot which will install a FAT-32 (not NTFS!!) hard disk image of Windows 2000, erasing every partition which exists, but without erasing the MBR (Master Boot Record).

 First step: reinstall Windows 2000.

 Second step: start Windows 2000, and defragment "c:\" to gather all the data at the beginning of the hard disk and allow an effecient repartitioning.

 Third step: use "Partition Magic" or any other repartitioning software and reduce the size of the Windows 2000 partition (I resized the partition to 9 GB) (Notice that I use the included in the Linux Mandrake 8 distribution to resize mine, I know it's crazy but it works...).

II. Installing Red Hat 7.2

 Notice that Anaconda systematically crashed in post-install configuration - I therefore installed Linux Red Hat 7.1 and then upgraded to 7.2. Anyway, it may work with you... I should have checked MD5!

 Here is my partition table (I left the Windows 2000 partition in FAT32 to be able to read it from Linux):

VERY IMPORTANT REMARK: NEVER DELETE THE HDA1 PARTITION, otherwise the recovery CD will not work, and your system will not start any more.

Choose to customize your packages (even if you're a beginner), and install LinuxConf (under Applications -> System), which is really useful to configure your networking.

 For the X configuration, choose:

 I'm quite used to log in text mode (and this is my advice); read below for final installation of the video card.

 I chose Lilo as bootloader (not Grub, but it should work), and install it at the Master Boot Record (MBR), with a dual boot Linux/Windows, I let you choose your default OS ;-)  With the FutureBay and the hot swapping, you will have to skip the boot disk creation (according to me, don't try to change your CD/DVD drive by the floppy while installing!)... As soon as you have everything up and running, halt your system, put your floppy derive, and create the boot disk.

 At first startup, kudzu recognizes the following hardware (don't know if it really helps):

III. Display and Video

 In order to have the ATI Radeon Mobility card working, you need XFree86 4.1.0 or superior (in RH7.2, this is this version, but not in RH7.1).  As written below, during installation, I chose:

 But if you try a startx, it will not work. You have to edit your /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file and add the following line:
VideoRam 8192 in the Section "Device" (even if we chose 8 MB during the installation).
 Then startx will work.
 Here is my
XF86Config-4 file, and be careful if you copy, it may damage your laptop if you don't customize it with your configuration.

IV. Ethernet

 Using linuxconf with the eepro100 module, it works fine.

V. Modem

 I downloaded from Conexant's aite the RPM version for the "hsflinmodem" driver, which was hsflinmodem- at the time. It didn't compile using rpm -i.

VI. Install your workstation

 You're done! Now, install all you need (well, JSDK - 1.4.0 is great! -, Apache, Tomcat, PHP4, MySQL, PostGreSQL for me!).