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Hewlett-Packard nc4200


This is a guide to running Linux with the Hewlett-Packard nc4200 laptop, model PV210PA. The nc4200 has been certified by Novell to work with Novell Linux Desktop 9 which should make this laptop well suited to work well with other Linux distributions too.

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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NameHewlett-Packard nc4200
ProcessorIntel Pentium-M 740 1.73GHz
Optical DriveNone
GraphicsIntel Graphics Media Accelerator 900
Network10/100/1000 Ethernet, Intel 2915 802.11g Wireless, Bluetooth
Other3 x USB2.0

Linux Compatibility

GraphicsYesUse i810 module - in newer Xorg version use intel module (i810 is deprecated)
WirelessYesUse ipw2200 module
56K ModemNot Tested
Card ReaderYes
PCMCIANot Tested


While not tested, the modem in the nc4200 should work with either the slmodem or Linuxant module.


The Hewlett-Packard nc4200 notebook works very well with Linux, it should work fine with most Linux distributions.


ep, 2010/01/18 21:53


As to the NC4200 cardbus slot
(should probably read 'cardbus', not 'PCMCIA'):
This works fine.
Tested with SCSI adapter Adaptec-1480A
(running long sessions with a scanner)

As to WLAN with ipw2200:

Maybe the firmware file 'ipw2200-bss.fw' should sit directly in

In order to let the blue LED indicate radio state:
unload the module ipw2200 and reload it with the parameter 'led=1'

Here is my short batch to switch-on WLAN with WPA
(after configuration of wpa_supplicant.conf - inside there,
notation of key itself is with quotes,
encrypted key is without instead):


modprobe -r ipw2200;
modprobe hp_wmi ;
modprobe ipw2200 disable=0 led=1 ;
iwconfig $wif power on ;
wpa_supplicant -Dwext -i$wif -B -P$wpid -c$wconf ;
dhcpcd $wif ;

rince, 2009/01/31 21:51

installed linux mint 6 now, and everything seems to work
Also installed Arch linux… which is great :)
after initial install and user administration:
pacman -S libgl
pacman -S xf86-input-evdev
pacman -S xorg
pacman -S xf86-video-intel driver #needed videodriver
pacman -S xf86-input-synaptics # to enable trackpad
/etc/rc.d/hal start # to enable hotplugging
–added hal to DEAMONS in /etc/rc.conf–
Xorg -configure #creates a xorg.conf in /root/
–added Load “synaptics” to Section “Modules”–
–added Section “Extensions”

Option "Composite" "Enable"

EndSection to xorg –
cp /root/ /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Because Xorg now uses hotplugging there are some extra things that should be adjusted:
→ for synaptic: cp /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/10osvendor/11-x11-synaptics.fdi /etc/hal/fdi/policy/
than edit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/11-x11-synaptics.fdi and add just before the closing </match>:

        <merge key="input.x11_options.RightEdge" type="string">5300</merge>
      	<merge key="input.x11_options.AlwaysCore" type="string">true</merge>
  	<merge key="input.x11_options.VertEdgeScroll" type="string">true</merge>
  	<merge key="input.x11_options.HorizEdgeScroll" type="string">true</merge>
  	<merge key="input.x11_options.TapButton1" type="string">1</merge>
  	<merge key="input.x11_options.TapButton2" type="string">2</merge>
  	<merge key="input.x11_options.TapButton3" type="string">3</merge>

→ for keyboard layout for xorg: cp /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/10osvendor/10-keymap.fdi /etc/hal/fdi/policy/
than edit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/10-keymap.fdi
<merge key=“input.xkb.layout” type=“string”>YOUR-KEYBOARD-LAYOUT</merge>

this is a wee bit different than editing the xorg.conf as we are used to. This is due to the hotplugging of Xorg since the 1.5.x series.

*installing a desktop environment is not different than for other laptops or desktops, tutorial can be found in arch wiki. Things i kept in mind: added hal to Modules in /etc/rc.conf, installed gamin (pacman -S gamin) instead of fam. I installed the gnome-environment, and added gdm to DEAMONS section in /etc/rc.conf. this works great

*getting wireless to work (installed everything before with cabled ethernet on eth0 (broadcom)). Main problem was getting the wireless card intel 2200BG to work.
pacman -S wireless_tools wpa_supplicant
pacman -S ipw2200-fw, and added ipw2200 to Modules section in /etc/rc.conf
also added firmware to HOOKS in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf and regenerated the kernel image:
mkinitcpio -g /boot/kernel26.img
than rebooted.
because i use the gnome desktop, i also have the wireless configured with networkmanager
pacman -S gnome-network-manager
pacman -S dhcbdb
edited /etc/rc.conf:
- INTERFACES=(!eth0 !eth1)
- changed in DEAMONS: !network dhcdbd networkmanager
With this config, wireless works with WPA (haven't tried WEP)

Perhaps this was to much info? Everything can be found on arch wiki
Most distros will do this automatically (never had to adjust these things with ubuntu), but this is Arch, so i thought the xorg and wifi info might help other nc4200 users :)

rince, 2008/11/12 02:38

Kubuntu 8.04 and 8.10 work

Installed Kubuntu 8.04 and 8.10 on the HP nc4200. Everything works very well out-of the box. 12” screen and intel graphics work really nice with Desktop effects (present windows, etc).
I use CPU frequency scaling (dynamic), which works out-of-the box. Also suspend and hibernate work really well (with 8.10). When lid closes i activate suspend. When opening lid i have to turn laptop on to wake it up.
Wireless access works with WPA. WEP worked with 8.04 but with 8.10 there seems to be issues. But my mother in law switched to WPA, so haven't searched for workaround for the WEP-troubles ;)
Haven't tested the SD-card though… Installing Kubuntu/Ubuntu on it should be possible with the program usb-creator (is in the repo's)

leppis, 2008/01/22 23:33

Check for latest bios

If you experience problems with loading kernel (pci resources…) or Xorg stability, check that you've got the latest BIOS installed. Updating my bios to a one released in October 2007 solved those problems.

dbm1175, 2008/01/10 19:23

Ubuntu Works, Knoppix Does Not

I've got the nc4200 and Ubuntu 7.10 sees the SD drive whenever the media is inserted. However, Knoppix 5.1.1 can't seem to locate it at all. I'm really curious what Ubuntu is doing and if the distro could be remastered to RUN from the SD card. Anyone tried anything like that?

lotus49, 2007/10/22 12:11

nc4200 SD Card reader works in Ubuntu 7.04

The SD Card in the Compaq nc4200 laptop works without any modifications in Ubuntu 7.04.

I did a standard desktop install on my machine and when I inserted an SD Card into the slot it was recognised and works without any problem.

Unfortunately this is not true for Debian Etch. I have not investigated why.

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hewlett-packard_nc4200.txt · Last modified: 2012/06/09 07:37 by billg
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