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Dell Inspiron 1501


This is a guide to running Linux with the Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop. This Inspiron 1501 is one of only a few laptops with an AMD Turion64 X2 processor. Unfortunately, due to the Dell 1390 Wireless card, this laptop can be a little tricky to configure under Linux.

This guide is intended to provide you details on how well this laptop works with Linux and which modules you need to configure. For details on how to actually install and configure the required modules have a look at our guides section for distribution specific instructions.

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NameDell Inspiron 1501
ProcessorAMD Turion64 X2 TL-50
Screen15.4“ WXGA
Optical DriveDVD+-RW
GraphicsATI Radeon Xpress 1150
Network10/100 Ethernet, Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Wireless
Other4 x USB2.0

Linux Compatibility

HDDPartialYes, if kernel version greater than 2.6.20
Optical DriveYes
SoundYesUse the snd-hda-intel module
56K ModemYesuse driers at


For the hard drive in the Inspiron 1501 to be detected while installing Linux, you will likely need to use the boot parameter 'all-generic-ide'. However this will cause a performance penalty. This issue has been fixed since kernel version 2.6.20.

In some distributions, such as Ubuntu, you will need to add pci=nomsi to your boot options for the system to boot properly.

The ATI Radeon Xpress 1150 in this laptop is supported by both the open source radeon module and ATI's proprietary fglrx module. You may like to view our Configuring an ATI graphics chip guide for installation instructions.

This Dell 1390 wireless controller in the Inspiron 1501 doesn't have any native drivers for Linux so using the ndiswrapper module is necessary. You can review our Configuring the ndiswrapper module for information on how to use this driver. The windows driver is available from Dell's website. There is also at set of native drivers which are available here, but these have note been tested yet. Using the BIOS configuration page, turning off the Wireless Hotkey (Fn-F2 control) seems to help the card work better with ndiswrapper and the Windows driver. (Without turning off the Wireless Hotkey control, the card may get detected, but not find any networks with “iwlist scan”, and the little green WiFi light may not come on.)

Some versions of the Inspiron include the Dell 1490. This works with the bcm43xx module.

If you try to install the Dell 1390 wireless controller through the built in linux Additional Drivers program and your laptop crashes, you can try to install the linux drivers manually.

You can run this command in a terminal to find out witch Broadcom card you have.

lspci -vvnn | grep 14e4

If it does not show up as the BCM4311, you can go to this link for specific instructions on your Wi-Fi chipset,

Most Dell Inspiron 1501 should have the BCM4311 and if you do, you can procede to install the b43 Open source driver.

If you have Ubuntu 12.04 and up you can then run the following commands in a terminal to install the b43 open source driver.

sudo apt-get update

Then run

sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer

You can now restart you Inspiron 1501 and you should be able to connect to a Wi-Fi Signal.


The Dell Inspiron 1501 does require some intermediate level configuration work for it to work well under Linux. Unfortunately this can be quite tricky for new Linux users.


Francismut, 2018/09/02 14:19

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Francismut, 2018/09/02 14:16

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P, 2016/09/19 13:38

I tried the 10 largest distros on Distrowatch (as of September 2016). Only 2 worked out of the box (even the wifi): Manjaro XFCE, and CentOS

Remmie, 2016/07/01 02:47

If I upgrade my 1501 to a new 1 Terabyte hard drive can I boot from a Linux Mint install DVD without major problems?

Michael Kors Watch Outlet, 2015/03/07 00:56

what is important to you in a job? challenge, the feeling of accomplishment, and knowing that you have made a contribution.

asdfsdl, 2014/12/06 15:53

nice blog.

Ed Houseman Jr., 2013/12/28 04:41

Do you have the multi color vertical lines on boot?

Peter Murray, 2013/12/12 21:31

I am running Ubuntu 13.10 64-bit successfully on my Inspiron 1501.

AMD Turion™ 64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-50 × 2 Processor
2.5 GB RAM
500 GB Hard drive
Broadcom Corporation BCM4311 802.11a/b/g (rev 01) Network Controller

Occasionally slow when excessive tabs open in Google Chrome and running many other programs at the same time but much better performance and experience than Windows on the same machine., 2015/07/12 17:44

Opera browser is faster and than Chrome on my 1501

Alex, 2013/10/08 17:05

Ubuntu 12.04 32 bit runs amazing in this little bad boy. Completely new computer. Highly recommended. Spotify, Libre Office, Chromium, VLC, Skype, Gimp, Brasero, on and on. What more can you ask for. Oh, and upgrade the RAM of course.

siva srinivas, 2013/09/28 06:02

I am a new user to the laptops, I need to buy laptop which model is best in dell inspiration for using dual boot windows xp and Linux should be between 30 to 35k

Required configuration is 500gb (HD), 4gb (RAM), i3 processors,screen -14 inch wide.

MickeyLEE, 2010/02/28 00:46

I have just installed Linux 7 on my dell with the same config. as listed other than i have 2 gig of ram…i have install once booted the logon password page for linux mint shows after i have typing my password and all linux changes to a blank screen showing my mouse pointer and it is fully operational…Kind of lost here anyone?

MR JOHN DOE, 2009/04/23 05:43

hi guys i have the inspiron 1501 i would like to have the best o.s that would be Linux it would run fast u guys know this but i need some help to get the right o.s and drivers once i have all the right 1s i will be set i hate using windows i am using xp pro sp2 i thought it would run faster but Linux will be at 64 64 for the AMD Turion64 X2 TL-50

and i have 2 gigs of ram will that matter at all i dont think it will

Laaa, 2008/07/02 12:40

Inspron 1501 Wireless

The Driver does work for 1390 and 1490 (i have 1390) and it works like it does in windows but the only thing is in order for it to work like this is to boot into your
BOIS by Rapidly pressing F2 and disabling the wireless hotkey control because for
some reason it makes the card run a lot better this also (meaning the whole guide)
works for gos too because it is a os based off ubuntu.

andresomething, 2008/01/27 09:18

Inspiron 1501

I thought people who find this page might like to know that there is a blog specifically dealing with running Ubuntu on the Inspiron 1501:

It's been a help for me at times.

arman, 2008/01/24 09:40

ati radeon xpress r200 and linux conflict

i can not install linux redhat on dell inspiron 1501 ati radeon r200 xpress .
i can use only in text mode. during installation system can not diplay anything!
so i install in text mode,
then enter INIT 5 command in text mode but xserver did not start and says something wrong.!

DavidMXG, 2008/01/21 08:38

hard drive use

“For the hard drive in the Inspiron 1501 to be detected while installing Linux, you will likely need to use the boot parameter 'all-generic-ide'. However this will cause a performance penalty. This issue has been fixed since kernel version 2.6.20.”
Does this mean you don't need the boot parameter, or does it mean you don't have the performance penalty after user the boot parameter or does it mean you don't need the boot parameter but still have the performance penalty?

DavidMXG, 2008/01/21 08:34

hard drive use

“For the hard drive in the Inspiron 1501 to be detected while installing Linux, you will likely need to use the boot parameter 'all-generic-ide'. However this will cause a performance penalty. This issue has been fixed since kernel version 2.6.20.”

gordon, 2007/09/15 14:42


Just a small addition I would like to make. When I ordered the inspiron 1501 I upgraded the wireless card to the 1490. This works (in ubuntu at least) using the bcm43xx module and firmware obtained by installing bcm-fw-cutter.

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dell_inspiron_1501.txt · Last modified: 2014/10/15 01:25 by
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