Thursday, January 11, 2007

Installing Ubuntu on Your Dell 1501

Ubuntu does not install on the Dell 1501 without a little work. But with a little work it can be done. The fix is adding the command pci=nomsi to grubs boot param. Follow this guide and you’ll be using Ubuntu in no time.

Getting Ubuntu Installed:

1. Changing the boot order in the BIOS.

This allows your Dell 1501 to first look to boot from the DVD drive. This is an essential step.

Place the Ubuntu Disc into your DVD drive

Reboot or turn on you 1501. When you see this screen, hit the F2 button.

This takes you to your BIOS screen.

2. You want to use the right arrow key to select Boot. Then use the down arrow key to access you DVD drive, I own the DVD-Burner and its name is ATAPI CD-ROM: HL-DT-ST DVD+/-RW-(PM) but common sense is your guiding light. I will say DVD and the 1501 only has one DVD slot.

3. Once you have your DVD drive selected, use the shift key and the +/=, right next to the backspace key (highlighted red) to change the priority order. Make sure your DVD drive is on the top. If you goof, the -/_ highlighted blue will lower a selection in the boot order.

Once done hit the F10 key to save and exit.

The computer will now boot from the DVD drive first. Restart your computer.

4. At the Ubuntu options menu (above screen) hit the F6 key to add to Ubuntu boot param. This will bring up a command line in the lower right hand part of your screen.

This is where the magic happens. Ubuntu will not be able to find your SATA hard disk without adding

pci=nomsi to the very end of this command line.

Yours should look just like the above picture. It will say …rw quiet splash – pci=nomsi. Hit the ENTER key and Ubuntu will begin to boot up. It will initially take a few minutes, be patient!

5. You will now see this screen. You can try Ubuntu out or go straight to the good stuff and install it.

Click the install icon on the upper left hand portion of the screen and follow the menus in order to setup your install.

After enter your time zone, keyboard, login name and password it will ask you if where you’d like to install Ubuntu you can choose to:
1. Erase the entire disk – (install Ubuntu on the Hard Drive and deletes everything else)
2. Manually edit the partition table – (allow you to separate the hard drive and have two or more operating systems on your computer)

Now Ubuntu should be installing. Sit back and relax it shouldn’t take more than 25 minutes. Once Ubuntu has been installed you will have to restart and repeat the steps of adding pci=nomsi to your boot param. This is the last time though, it will be permanent next time you load up Ubuntu.

6. Once Ubuntu loads you will want to make pci=nomsi permanent so go to the terminal. It’s located in ApplicationsàAccessoriesàTerminal

Enter in the code:

Sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst (that’s a lower case L at the end)

Enter your password and a text file will appear.

This file is your GRUB boot file. Be careful you can screw your system up if you delete or alter the wrong item.

Look at the bottom of the file for the lines

kernel /boot/vmlinux- root=/dev/sda1 ro quiet splash

Or a very similar variation. Look at the picture below if you are unsure but USE COMMON SENSE.

Add pci-nomsi to the end of the kernel boot line. It should look like this:

kernel /boot/vmlinux- root=/dev/sda1 ro quiet splash pci=nomsi

7. Save and you are done. Your computer will boot into Ubuntu every time and Installation is complete.

Next Up: WiFi, you wanna wait till I get the guide up before you try to set it up. But if you want to jump the gun use this guide.

edited by pHreaksYcle


Anonymous said...

Good start, having just bought one of these beasts, i was at a loss as to getting Ubuntu installed.. How do you feel about compiling a howtow for stuff like getting the ATI drivers installed, Wifi card working, and Compiz etc.. all for this device? could submit the howto to Ubuntuforums.. as it seems like a fair few people have ahd problems with this Laptop...

Chuck said...

I have a Dell 1501 and thought your instructions were going to be just what I needed. After install I edited the menu.lst just as you specified and now I can't boot. If it booted the first time after install, why did I need to edit the menu.lst to take something out? it had "pci=nomsi" at the end and I deleted the "pci=" part and now can't boot. No big deal, I'll just reinstall and leave it there next time.

Hawk said...

I was just about to give up after a long night of struggling when I found your blog. Literally on the edge of reformatting with a Windows CD, thank you so much!

OriginalP said...

Thank you very much for the how-to

vad said...

Segui tus instrucciones al pie de la letra y nada no me detecta mi disco. Tengo una 1501 dell con AMD Turion 64x2 el HDD es el Fujitsu y no funciona ni con el pci = nomsi, ni con el apci = force irqpoll, siempre se queda en la deteccion del HDD al momento de estar instalando, mis distro es ubuntu-6.06.1-desktop-amd64.iso
Porfavor ayuda

redDEAD said...

You're lucky I read Spanish. I just can't write it. I started a thread on the Ubuntu Forums for a fix for Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake and it was never solved. I like everyone else wanted to run Edgy on my Dell 1501. I have no advice for you except to download and burn Ubuntu Edgy Eft 6.10 and use that. I am sorry that I can not help you with Dapper.

Usted tiene suerte yo puedo leer español. Yo apenas no lo puedo escribir. Empecé un hilo en el Ubuntu Forums para un fijar para Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake y nunca fui resuelto. Yo no tengo consejo para usted menos descargar y quemar Ubuntu Edgy Eft 6.10 y utilizar eso. Siento que yo no le pueda ayudar con un Dapper instala.

Martin said...

Man u're my salvation... thanxxxxxx aa lotttttttttttttttt.

redDEAD said...

Thanks for the info/suggestion. It looks rock solid, so if you're brave give it a try. If any one gets it too work let me know.
When you use my guide you do not have to edit the boot param line after kernel updates. It's pretty permanent.

Niels said...

It doesnt work for me, it goes wrong after the re-boot. The re-boot doesnt start Linux it starts Windows xp for me. I can only re-boot with the DVD but the menu.lst is completely empty.

What did I mis, can I still fix it or do I need to re-install again?


redDEAD said...

First are you using a Dell 1501? Are You installing Edgy? If the answer is yes, it sounds like grub (your operating system selector) is messed up. Re-install, go slow. The guide works. Over 100 people have used it to successfully install Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft.

Jean A. said...

Thanks for posting these instructions. I just installed Edgy on my shinny new 1501, everything went fine.

Note: Vista allows to resize its own partitions. Find the "disk management" tool in computer management, right-click on partition and choose "shrink". Gparted or qtparted could not do it.
Again thank you!

redDEAD said...

Vista's Disk Management sucks, use gparted.

c0ld said...

Thanks a lot for this man. I found this site before buying my laptop and i was confident i'd be able to load Ubuntu on it with your help. I'm installing right now, and if it wouldn't have been for your little nomsi trick, i would probably have tried another distro or settled for Vista, so thanks a lot!

Expect more comments from me on your other posts as i progress through the installation and setup process and again, thanks a lot for your help!

Manuel said...

First thank you for your blog. I´m following all your instructions and i wonder how did you handle partiotions on your Inspiron 1501.

redDEAD said...

First I deleted all the partitions Dell made. Then I installed Ubuntu on my Dell no windows. But if I did dual boot I would:

1. Download all the driver I need from Dell/use the driver recovery CD from Dell.

2. Wipe the Hard Drive.

3. Install windows normally

4. Spend a couple of hours installing the drivers from Dell.

5. Then Install Ubuntu. The Ubuntu CD does the partitioning for you.

6. Notice it's easier to install Ubuntu then Windows form scratch.

Peter Azor said...

another ubuntu user ... thanks to you ... i was really cross because i intended to use ubuntu when buying my inspiron. then the shock ... thank you very much.

ps: in my case, after the installation, i didn't need to insert 'pci=nomsi' again and when i went into terminal, it was already there - no additional changes needed.

Steve said...

Thanks for the guide, it seems to have worked.

I installed XP first and then used Ubuntu, I found that my loading screen as the OS loads is completely colourless, but doesn't have any negative effects.

Also, as Ubuntu reboots and it tells you take the disk out the drive, I found that it didn't want to continue and I had to hold the power button down.

Strangly enough my menu.lst already had pci=nomsi, but I've followed marshall's advice anyway, just to be sure.


Diabolic Preacher said...

this blog is just perfect :) as it is there are very few people going for amd and hence it's more easier to find fixes for 1505 and not 1501.

i could get no ubuntu version installed on this system. it didn't ship with any OS (freeDOS came on a CD, but i never looked at it).
i got another live distro called backtrack 2based on slax installed on to the hard disk and it detects the wifi and the wifi led illuminates once the interface is brought up, but even after setting the gateway and dns, i am not able to ping the gateway. the 1501's ip address itself returns a "destination host unreachable".
anyways, so i did order a few customizations on the 1501 machine such as amd turion 64 x2 instead of sempron, 1gb ram, 120 gb hdd sata(do you think such a large size can be an issue?), dvd rw. the bios version is 2.1.0
so when i boot ubuntu (i started with a dvd version of 6.06 which came with a magazine) before bringin up the boot menu from the cd, it quickly shows that bios has some bug and mentions APIC. so the boot parameters help suggest disabling checking for APIC (what could it be?) using noapic nolapic. things work fine and the live cd gui starts up but whats the use? no wifi, no sound and ubuntu menus are so minimalistic i feel like sayin "1 full dvd and only 10 menu items...arrghh!!" :p
next on, i'd downloaded edgy eft for amd64 (i wonder where to get the md5 value of the iso to match n check for errors) using a torrent from linuxtracker, which often seem to have a good number of seeders and the speed is quite good but the max i get is 30kbps (ISP limit) so each distro download is almost 8 hours waste, coz i can't do anything else on the net. hmm so finally the download gets done. i burn it on a cdrw at 10x and boot the 1501 with it and then...
i choose the default option...didn't add any boot params, it goes
Loading /casper/vmlinuz...........
Loading /casper/initrd.gz...

that's it! it shows a ncurses style loading linux kernel progress bar which gets stuck at 100% and on top the 2nd line just gets stuck at 3 dots. if i wait for like almost an hour it'll progress to 7 dots or maybe 8. but nothing after that.
the pci=nomsi boot param has no effect nor does noapic nolapic
what else do i need to check?
my blog

Edison said...

muchas gracias, este manual ha sido de gran ayuda para poder instalar ubuntu en mi inspiron 1501, ahora me toca continuar con el wifi y la tarjeta de video.

neo said...

iam a beginner in linux .so i wished 2 use any live cd versions and used the ububtu 6.06.1 lts and knopixx 4.4//infact knopix get easily loaded but ddint show my NTFS parttions.

but in the case of ububtu in normal after the menu system get hanged after an IO bug error that comes after /casper/initrd.gz/ ..then a coplete balck screen and cd drive becomes silent //i waited for 1 hr no chance ..

.i used the help option in menu and found the "noapic nolapic " cmd .it worked and cd get booted ..but didnt mount sata hdd.

later i found ur blog ..when i moved through it i became happy as i though it will be helpful 4 me .but soory man .it cant help ..
i tried pci=nomsi cmd in boot but they shows invalid .and get hanged again.when i added noapic nolapic at the end and after a space used the pci=nomsi
" - pci=nomsi noapic nolapic "

but this time the it get loaded but no sata detection ...

i may think it may be my mistake as iam a beginner plz help me .

redDEAD said...

this guide is for ubuntu edgy eft 6.10 and only edgy 6.10. download feisty it installs automatically without having to "fix" anything.

as for the other linux distro you're trying to install, i only support ubuntu and ubuntu related projects. edubuntu, kubuntu and xubuntu.

Daniel said...

Nice guide... took me about ten seconds' work to have ubuntu up and running. The pci=nomsi was already there. Am getting the wireless working as I type this.

I shrank my vista volume by 10g to do this install just as a test, if all goes well this afternoon I'll be wiping the whole thing tonight and installing ubuntu. Not sure whether I should install edgy or feisty though? Still working that out...

Daniel said...

Ok I've installed edgy and fully removed vista. I'm having a small problem with the brightness keys, whenever I try to use them the screen goes blank then reloads the login screen. I lose all windows which are open.

I have my keyboard set to US English I'm pretty sure.

Any ideas?

redDEAD said...


in my opinion you should be using bios 1.7 and feisty

if you want to run edgy just get the right bios

Daniel said...

Thanks for that. Does feisty have any of these issues with the 2.x BIOS?

What are the implications of installing edgy then using the update manager to upgrade to feisty on the 1501? Does it work properly or should I download feisty and do a fresh install?

redDEAD said...

Daniel what do you think? Should you upgrade or do a fresh install? Do you want to half-ass your install or download the feisty iso and install it without worrying about problems?

Drew said...

I just installed 7.04 on a new 1501. A couple of points:

- I first tried with 6.06 and it would hang at a black screen with or without pci=nomsi. The 7.04 CD worked just fine.

- You can also use F12 to get to the boot menu and skip making your system check the CD on each boot.

mrbrownct said...

dude. this and the pci=nomsi is genious. one minor change i would make to the instrucions in the pci=nomsi the command needs to include "/media/disk" at the front end. i am new to this ubuntu stuff but an old dos hack and i somehow figured that out. maybe it is widely known.

American Guy said...

When trying to install Ununtu from a live disk (one I burned and one I got through the mail) I get nowhere. This link shows what the screen looks like after loading.

I'd appreciate any advice.

redDEAD said...

American Guy,

What version of Ubuntu are you using? Looks like a graphical driver issue. I don't have a 1501 anymore but you can hit up the for help.

American Guy said...

I was trying to use 10.04, then I made a live disk from the link you had on this blog.

Not really a big deal, I was just interested in trying Ubuntu and happened across this blog. Since I had an old 1501 in the closet I thought I'd give it a shot. I did post at ubuntuforums, nobody had an answer there either.

I know this is moderated, so feel free to not post this comment. Thanks.

Damaris said...

I'm trying to install Ubuntu 10.04 on a Dell Inspiron 6000. It says it's installed fine, but when I reboot it says

error: out of disk
grub rescue>

It will boot from a cd or a usb but not from the hard drive.

Any suggestions

Rob said...

I have the exact same problemas Niels, and yes i know this is about 3 years after the original post... I hope somebody will still see this... I am not doing this on the Dell, however I did have the same problem, I did everything correctly, however after the install onto my drive, the iso disc is ejected and then the reboot commences, when it goes to boot Ubuntu it says that BOOTMGR is missing, booting with the CD does not allow me to access the files I know are installed now onto my hard drive. Any help would be greatly apprecated, Many thanks. Rob

Adam Smith said...

I know this thread is old, but for what it's worth, I tried installing Linux Mint 10.10 on my X2-based 1501 and got the same vertical lines as American Guy. I could tell the LiveCD was booting because it played the login chime after a short bit. Connecting an external monitor and booting allowed me to install and when it rebooted, the display worked just fine. I hope this helps someone.

Adam Smith said...

A quick follow up: After rebooting without an external monitor attached, the vertical lines reappear. I can plug in an external monitor and toggle the CRT/LCD shortcut until I get LCD-only, but as soon as I reboot, it is back to its old ways. So close. If/when I discover a solution, I'll post it here.