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Dell Inspiron 700m

Introduction

This is a guide to running Linux with the Dell Inspiron 700m laptop. The Inspiron 700m is a subnotebook from Dell which has good support for 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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Specifications

NameDell Inspiron 700m
ProcessorIntel Pentium-M 735 1.7GHz
Screen12.1” WXGA
RAM512MB
HDD40GB
Optical DriveDVD-ROM
GraphicsIntel Graphics Media Accelerator 900
Network10/100 Ethernet, Intel 2200 802.11g Wireless
Other2 x USB2.0, 1 x Firewire

Linux Compatibility

DeviceCompatibilityComments
ProcessorYes
ScreenYes
HDDYes
Optical DriveYes
GraphicsYes
SoundYesUse the snd-intel8x0 module
EthernetYes
WirelessYesUse the ipw2200 module
56K ModemNot Tested
USBYes
FirewireNot Tested
Card ReaderNo
PCMCIANot Tested

Notes

As default the native screen resolution of the Dell Inspiron 700m is 1280×800, however due to the way the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 functions this resolution would not be usable right away. You can view our Configuring the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 & 950 guide for more information.

Some versions of this laptop use the Broadcom Corporation BCM4309 802.11a/b/g wireless controller. This wireless controller is functional when using the ndiswrapper module. For installation instructions, you can view our Configuring the ndiswrapper module guide. There are also some experimental modules available for this card which are available here. At this time these drivers are still under development and may not be totally stable.

Summary

There were no problems in getting the Dell Inspiron 700m working when used with an up to date Linux distribution. It is recommended to use a Linux distribution with kernel version 2.6.16 or greater, such as Fedora Core 5 or Ubuntu 6.06.


Discussion

jimmyrapper, 2014/04/03 10:28

Hello, oh ye ancient linux-support page. I have in my hands a 700m and I would like to get wifi running with Linux. I tried Ubuntu 12-10 but the wifi wasn't detected, and I now have JoliCloud on it and again no wifi. It is possible the wifi is simply broken (hardware) but the wifi worked the last time this computer was used with Windows long ago. Click Xyg Fcs Link

Doomtroll, 2014/01/24 19:51

which disk image are you using? I am using Lubuntu 13.04 on this laptop and never had an issue. Download the Alternate install disk that doesn't run live and make sure you get the 32bit version ..

Rhonda, 2013/11/18 00:51

I'm hoping someone still reads this. In any case I an trying to install ubuntu 12.04 (via .iso USB boot) on my dell 700m. I get an error saying something about an unsupported kernel, however everything I have googled shows many people with ubuntu (as long as it's older than version 6 something) on their 700m.
I'm new to this world, but any suggestions?

J, 2014/03/20 20:48

Rhonda and others,

From what I've recently tried (March 2014) on the 700m, you are limited to linux distros that still work with non PAE enabled processors. Long story short, many of the Pentium M processors of the 700m likely will not have PAE flagged and thus won't load most modern ubuntu and other distros. There are work arounds. See https://help.ubuntu.com/community/PAE

Lubuntu 12.04 should work, get the 32bit non PAE version (i386 iso). Ubuntu I think you'd need something older than 12.04 unless you try the work arounds mentioned above.

I have gotten LXLE (variant of lubuntu/ubuntu) 12.04.4 to work, the older 12.04.3 had graphics driver issues when I tried it. Bodhi 2.40 works as well, get the 32bit NonPAE version. Those are both updated and supported distros (compared to the now old lubuntu 12.04) as far as I can tell.

I've also gotten the older Zorin 6.2 lite version to run. All of these tests have been in live mode with a 1.7ghz Pentium M and 1.2GB ram. If anyone is having trouble booting their 700m off a usb drive, make sure it is detecting the usb drive as a USB HD, not FD (floppy). The default seems to have that FD option ahead of HD in the boot order of bios. So you need to put usb hd higher in the boot order.

Hope this helps, its been interesting getting this old laptop working again with something other than XP.

Edit: On wireless, I was working with a intel 2915 card I think and all seemed to detect the card and wireless networks. Lubuntu was the only one I think that I truly tested the connection and it worked fine.

FollowsC, 2013/01/21 19:01

Hello, oh ye ancient linux-support page. I have in my hands a 700m and I would like to get wifi running with Linux. I tried Ubuntu 12-10 but the wifi wasn't detected, and I now have JoliCloud on it and again no wifi. It is possible the wifi is simply broken (hardware) but the wifi worked the last time this computer was used with Windows long ago.

`lspci` prints a bunch of devices, but no wifi. Ethernet works fine and the modem is even listed with lspci.

What I'm confused by is the drivers for this old wifi. Because it's such an old computer all the comments about it are several years old, during which time the facts of the technology could have changed. Is it right that the drivers for this wifi were eventually folded into the kernel? And thus, I shouldn't need to install anything special, modern Linux distros should simply support this old hardware? If the wifi is hardware-functional then is there any reason I wouldn't see it with lspci?

JustAGuy, 2013/02/07 05:50

I'm using a current version of Lubuntu and everything works just fine.

JJ, 2013/05/23 03:01

Can you tell me exactly which version are you using? I ma having a problem with Ubuntu 12.04.

Eric, 2013/08/01 04:23

I'm in the same boat as these guys. I'm on 12.10 and have the 2200bg in my HP Pavilion DV1000 (as well as owning a 700M with the 2200bg). I don't recall what version the 700M is running, but the wifi is fine. On the Pavilion though, I'm unable to get the wifi working.

How can I get this going?

Thanks!

huberson11, 2012/11/07 08:39

please my name is huberson i've some problems with my laptop a dell inspiron 700m; i can't install ubuntu 12.10 on it/ a,d when i tried it they said there is a problem about a kegel but i don't what is this! can't some people help me!!!!

Eve, 2009/08/02 12:03

I'm using Dell Inspiron 700m.It had been not detect the wireless for quite a long time. Please help me and tell me what have to do to solve it.

Rome Marbella, 2009/08/10 10:04

HI eve, the 9.04 (Jackalope) has no issues with WIFI/Ethernet connection with the 700m. it was even made easier and automatic! Now, WINXp seemed more complicated!

Mike, 2009/10/14 01:33

Have you installed the firmware? It is called ipw-firmware and once I installed it with Yast my wireless works perfectly

James, 2009/06/25 19:36

I am running Ubuntu Jaunty, 9.04 on my Dell Inspiron 700m laptop. I have also tried Mint Linux Gloria, version 7 as well on the machine. I like the plain vanilla Ubuntu better, so here I am. My 700m has 2 Gig of RAM, which is the maximum this machine can handle and 5400-rpm 80 gig drive. Ubuntu Jaunty runs exceptionally well. No, I am not set up for EXT4 file system, only EXT3 on / and /home partitions which is my usual setup for linux. Yes, I understand that you should have separate partitions for /var and others but I like to keep my setup simple.

James, 2009/06/25 19:42

sorry, forgot to mention that everything works (video is actually Intel 855GME, not 900) except the SD card reader–when you plug in an SD memory card, it mounts but then the whole machine freezes. I only have a 1 Gig SanDisk card. I have read somewhere that it only works with 512 Meg card or under. In Windows XP, the built-in card reader works fine. My wifi works beautifully, even better than Win XP. It's an Intel 2200 B/G mini pcmcia card. One thing I noticed, battery does not last as long under Linux and machine gets a little warmer as well, things I didn't notice when it was running Win XP before.

Rome Marbella, 2009/08/10 09:56

Did u tried installing applications (e.g. games) dependent on NVIDIA graphics platform? Since 700m isn't based on this, do you think i could still run games which is nvidia dependent? Thanks!

AlperYilmaz, 2008/07/07 10:32

Ubuntu Hardy works fine

I am currently (07-06-08) running Ubuntu Hardy. It works fine in terms of hardware. In previous version of Ubuntu (Gutsy), the wireless was achieving only 802.11b performance, but after I upgraded to Hardy, it is working at full performance (802.11g). SD card reader might be working but I'm not sure, I tried 2GB card, it worked only once and didn't later on. I think the chipset for SD reader is not compatible with cards greater than 1GB, so it might work with latest Linux distribution and <1GB card.
There are couple handicaps that might be either hardware related or distribution related.
1) Sleep: This function was not working in Gutsy but in Hardy it's working, sort of. About 20% of the time the machine freezes when attempting to sleep. So, I need to shut down the machine with on/off button (even R-E-I-S-U-B trick does not work) which causes instability in the software that were running during crash.
2) Extended desktop: I tried multiple times to make this work but I failed repeatedly, in three different versions of Ubuntu (Feisty-Gutsy-Hardy). I don't know if this is a Intel Graphics driver issue or not. Maybe it can be solved by modifying the Xorg.conf, but I couldn't.

Finally, couple words about the overall performance of Ubuntu in (my) Inspiron 700m; I had 512MB RAM initially when I installed Ubuntu and the system performance was very very poor. I needed to literally wait for some applications to start. I increased the RAM to 1.2GB and it only helped the waiting time to get shorter but still the system performance is not as good as it's reported by other Ubuntu users with other laptop brands.

Rome Marbella, 2009/08/10 10:01

Yilmaz, try upgrading to the most recent Ubuntu, the Jaunty (Jackalope) 9.04. It is very fast on the 700m, however there are things which i am currently discovering, installation of games and making webcams work. Otherwise the performance is better than my old Windows XP Pro.
Cheers!

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dell_inspiron_700m.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/11 14:02 (external edit)
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