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Ubuntu on laptop – Dell Inspiron 1100 October 25, 2006

Posted by Timothy Li in dell inspiron 1100, laptop, ubuntu, wind.

[dear readers, if you got xgl to work on this laptop, could you leave a comment please? I need some help.  ]

I followed a guide to install Ubuntu, plus a few posts from various support forums. If you have the same laptop – Dell Inspiron 1100, here are some hidden pieces that might come in handy for you.

After reading a dozen good reports about Ubuntu, the simplicity for installation still blew me away. It’s drop dead simple, all I had to do to have Ubuntu booted was

1. insert the disk
2. power on
3. press [enter]

Once Ubuntu is booted, two notable features are:

1. the OS can be booted directly from the CD, without changing your system in anyway.  so after reboot, you still have MSN Messenger and iTunes and all that good stuff.  In this “preview” mode you cannot save files or configurations.

2. if you decide to install the OS, the installer automatically resizes your Windows partition and squeeze in a Ubuntu partition.  Again, after the reboot, you can go back to your goodies in Windows.  The installation procedure has never been this painless before.

In the actual installation screen, the window does not fit into the 600 x 480 default resolution. if this is the case, you can drag the window around to see the [Next] button. hold down the [Alt] key and the [left mouse] button to drag the window.

Post installation, if the highest resolution you could select is 600 x 480, there’s a two-step procedure to fix this:

1. boot to Windows and update your bios to the current version, Dell’s official release page here – A32.

2. boot to Ubuntu and backup /etc/X11/xorg.conf, then copy this xorg.conf to /etc/X11/.
make sure the new file has the same access permission as before, as in

>sudo chmod 644 xorg.conf



1. Holden - November 19, 2006

If you want I can ask around at work about get xgl to work, what kind of video card does the machine have?

2. Timothy Li - November 21, 2006

hey Holden,
the laptop has a really bad video card, intel extreme graphics – Intel 845 GL.

Thanks a bunch,

3. BLOWFISHDL - January 5, 2007


4. Timothy Li - January 5, 2007

you are very welcome BLOWFISHDL =)

5. freestylekyle - February 26, 2007

I don’t know about Ubuntu and xgl. I’m running Fedora core 6. XGL and Compiz install off the disc. So I can say the Inspiron 1100 hardware will run it no prob.

6. Chris - April 21, 2007

do you know anything about ubuntu on dell inspiron 1300 laptops?

7. Timothy Li - April 22, 2007

Hi Chris,
not specifically, but if you are running into problem I could try to help you resovle it.

8. Jeremy - April 30, 2007

Have you tried the i915 driver? Intel says that’s the one we’re supposed to use for 845 and above.

9. adam - May 3, 2007

I currently have ubunty feisty installed on my old dell inspiron 1100. runs great, i just want either compiz or beryl installed so i can complete my mac-look theme. no i won’t buy a mac, i just like to indulge in the look every once in a while. so any suggestions to get either beryl or compiz working for me?

10. Timothy Li - May 4, 2007

Hi Jeremy,
thanks for the note, is the i915 driver a display driver? where could I find it?

11. Timothy Li - May 4, 2007

Hi Adam,
sorry I haven’t been able to get xgl working on my 1100, but I did recently get a macbook and it’s awesome.

12. Ara - June 2, 2007

i installed the ubuntu v 7.04 and my inspiron 1100 came up in the 600×480! i did the updates andupgraded my bios to A32 and changed the xorg.conf with what you got up there and when i reboted it it worked! but then i turned the laptop off and i turned it back on and i dont even get a screen! it eill load the ubuntu but then i wont see any login screen its all black! can someone please help me out!


13. Timothy Li - June 2, 2007

Hi Ara,
Sorry I didn’t experience the same problem.

What I used to do at work is to see if I could reproduce the symptom by going through the precedures all over again. This will take some time but could potentially filter out any weird problems that no-one could figure out. So it could potentially save time as well =)


14. anon - July 1, 2007

I got around the initialo resolution problem, but Ive never got the S-Video TV-Out on the Dell Inspiron to work. I have the A32 bios and the i810 driver

15. chad - January 21, 2008


This is a very informative page. Thank you for the xorg.conf, I spent hours fiddling with it for myself and couldn’t get it right.

Thank you.

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