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Dell Vostro 1000 Vista & Linux Dual Boot


I have just (April 2008) received a new Dell Vostro 1000 laptop. This seems a very good bargain - even including three years' onsite warranty. It comes with Vista but I wish to dual boot with Kubuntu. I've now got it fully working; this article documents how I did it.

The machine is not vastly powerful but enough for my use - web, email and office. It has three advantages:

My plan was to reduce the size of the Vista partition and use the space for my Linux install.


My first idea was to boot from an Ubuntu 7.10 live disk and use gparted to resize the Vista partition. I came across two problems.

As a result I adopted Plan B. I booted Vista and used Vista to resize the partition. This worked OK and afterwards I could reboot Ubuntu and use cfdisk to create the partitions for Kubuntu.


I installed using the Kubuntu 8.04 AMD64 RC. To boot from the CD I had to use "Safe Graphics" mode but after that everything went well. I was left with a system that dual boots Vista and Kubuntu quite happily.


The base install wouldn't let me configure X to use the native screen resolution. I installed the proprietary drivers ( yes, I know!) using the standard Kubuntu configuration tool and everything works fine now.

However, when I upgraded to Intrepid I lost video. It seems this is a common problem but the solution was simple. I deleted /etc/X11/xorg.conf and rebooted; everything was then fine.


My laptop uses the Dell Wireless 1395 hardware. I orignally got this to work using ndiswrapper and help from this article. I'm not that keen on ndiswrapper having had problems in the past but it worked OK on Hardy.

To get wireless working with ndiswrapper, do the following.

First install ndiswrapper-utils using your favourite apt front end. Create a temporary directory to work in and cd into it.

Download the Windows driver from the Dell website, unpack it, configure ndiswrapper and load the ndiswrapper module.

unzip R174291.EXE
ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf
ndiswrapper -l
modprobe ndiswrapper 

This should result in the wifi light coming on. You should then be able to configure wifi using your normal tool. I used the KDE network manager icon in the system tray. ndiswrapper will be unloaded when you next reboot. To make permanent, add ndiswrapper to /etc/modules.

After upgrading to Intrepid I removed ndiswrapper and used the proprietary wl driver and this works fine, also solving some minor problems I had.

Other Hardware

Other hardware worked "out of the box" - eg mouse pad, sound, wired network. Suspend & hibernate seem OK.

One minor problem initially - the Fn button to change brightness works in the sense that a pop-up shows up saying brightness has changed; but it hasn't! After the upgrade to Intrepid it works OK.

Linux on Laptops