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HP EliteBook 8740w


This is a compatibility guide to running Linux with the HP EliteBook 8740w laptop.

This page is just for discussing using Linux on the HP EliteBook 8740w. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the HP EliteBook 8740w page on LapWik.

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For full specifications see the HP EliteBook 8740w specifications page.

NameHP EliteBook 8740w
ProcessorIntel® Core™ i7-820QM Processor (1.73 GHz, 8 MB L3 cache)
Intel® Core™ i7-720QM Processor (1.60 GHz, 6 MB L3 cache)
Intel® Core™ i7-620M Processor (2.66 GHz, 4 MB L3 cache)
Intel® Core™ i5-540M Processor (2.53 GHz, 3 MB L3 cache)
Intel® Core™ i5-520M Processor (2.40 GHz, 3 MB L3 cache)
Screen17.0” WXGA+ Widescreen
17.0” WUXGA Widescreen
RAMUp to 16GB
HDD250GB to 500GB
Optical DriveDVD+-RW
GraphicsATI FirePro M7820
NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800M
NVIDIA Quadro FX 2800M
Network10/100/1000 Ethernet
Intel Centrino 802.11a/b/g/n

Linux Compatibility

ProcessorTestedkacpi / kworker consume 100% CPU fix
ScreenTested 60hz nvidia HOWTO
HDDTestedI have hammered this drive over the last week, writing and overwriting chunks of 360G to a partition I created to help a friend recover data from a corrupt 2T USB drive
Optical Drive Tested DVD-drive works, Blu-Ray not tested
GraphicsTestedUsing the Nvidia drivers, ut2004 claims 88fps in full resolution with all options up to the max :-D (the max screen refresh rate is actually 60hz)
SoundTested ALSA didn't work for me. Installed OSS4, and the sound is beautiful. Not without some fiddling about, though. Full how-to to follow when I have time… Sound works perfectly out of the box on Ubuntu 10.10 and gentoo
Sound over DisplayPort/HDMI Tested Quadro 2800M: using alsa model=rev kills laptop speakers, but spdif sound works with HP-DisplayPort to HDMI adapter
WirelessTested44:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation WiFi Link 6000 Series (rev 35)
BluetoothNot Tested
ModemNot Tested
USBTestedWorked fine with a Logitech G5 mouse, also with various portable USB2 drives. USB3 works, but breaks s2ram
FirewireNot Tested
Card ReaderTested
ExpressCard SlotNot Tested
Fingerprint ReaderNot Tested
Ambient Light Sensor Tested needs CONFIG_HP_WMI , can be controlled by /sys/devices/platform/hp-wmi/als
WebcamTested needs “USB Video Class (UVC)“


You can enter any specific notes with running Linux on the HP EliteBook 8740w here.
Panel brightness - not working (It works out of the box on Ubuntu 10.10 and gentoo)
HW Virtualization with BusyBox needed to be enabled in Bios.


kacpid or kworker consume full CPU fix

To prevent kacpid consuming 100% CPU on one thread, had to upgrade to kernel 2.6.35-020635rc6-generic and add the following to /etc/rc.local:

echo disable > /sys/firmware/acpi/interrupts/gpe01  

See this link and search for kacpid:

If this alone does not help, you can also try to add


to your kernel's parameters.

HOWTO get the screen to display 1920x1200 at 60hz

(This is not necessary on Ubuntu 10.10, 60Hz works out of the box with proprietary Nvidia drivers)

It goes without saying you are using Nvidia's drivers, right?

By default you will not be able to raise the refresh rate above 50hz. This is not an issue with the harware, but is a design feature of the Nvidia drivers. See here:

As per the link above, make sure you have run sudo nvidia-xconfig, then turn off TwinView and DynamicTwinView in your xorg.conf in the Device section for your nvidia driver:

Section        "Device"
Identifier     "Device0"
Driver         "nvidia"
VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
Option         "TwinView" "0"
Option         "DynamicTwinView" "0"

Stop/start the x-server, and you should now be able to set the screen to 60hz at full resolution.

HOWTO get s2ram working

This section is obsolete since kernel-2.6.37 (gentoo).

General approach

If you don't manage to get suspend to ram working, you can try to unload the
xhci_hcd module before suspending. It seems, the usb3 driver doesn't want to
go to suspend.

$ rmmod xhci_hcd
$ s2ram -f
$ modprobe xhci_hcd

works fine for me (gentoo), when also disabling the acpi interrupts. But you should not use this while a disk is mounted via USB3, as this does not unmount it safely! Hopefully the USB3 driver is going to support suspend soon, so this section can be removed.

Ubuntu Users

Suspend and Hibernate does not work on Ubuntu 10.10, but there is a very easy fix available:

HOWTO enable sound on DisplayPort

Apperently ALSA does not initialize the soundcard correctly. But there is a temporary fix for this:

$ echo "0x1e 0x01452050" > /sys/class/sound/hwC0D0/user_pin_configs
$ echo 1 > /sys/class/sound/hwC0D0/reconfig

This has to be done, while the soundcard is not in use. So best is to put in a init script. A better soluten were to use the “early patching” machanism of ALSA, but I somehow can't figure out how this works.

HOWTO upgrade the BIOS under GNU/Linux

Okay; if you're anything like me you've already Ebayed the Windows licence that came with this thing and donated the profits to the Free Software Foundation. Which makes upgrading the BIOS somewhat tricky, since HP only provide a Windows executable for doing this.

So, having just done just this a few moments ago, here's what I did. (Disclaimer: you do this ENTIRELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.)

1) Download the latest BIOS ugrade from the HP site. It will be a Windows executable.

2) Install the software you are about to need, using your favourite package manager. I did this:

sudo apt-get install wine
sudo apt-get install gparted
sudo apt-get install unetbootin

3) Run the BIOS upgrade (in my case sp52278.exe) under wine:

wine ./sp52278.exe

I let it put its files here:


You can try to get it to create a USB bootable key for you, but it will most probably bomb-out at this stage. Hence the remaining steps…

4) Format the USB stick as FAT32. (I used gparted.)
PARANOIA: Do “sync” a few times in a command window:


5) Pull the stick out, ram it back in and mount it (I used Dolphin to do this)

6) Make your stick bootable:


Choose the “Distribution” radio button,
select FreeDOS in the “Select Distribution” dropdown,
make sure it is pointing at the correct device (/dev/sdb1 in my case),

7) Copy the files that you will use to flash your BIOS:

cp -Rp ~/.wine/drive_c/SWSetup/sp52278/Rompaq/* /media/drive

Where /media/drive is wherever Dolphin mounted your USB stick. You want everything in that Rompaq directory.

PARANOIA: Do “sync” compulsively a bit more:


8) Shut down the laptop.
Made DAMN SURE all lights are off!
Unplug the power and pull out the battery if you have to: I've had my machine seemingly turned off before, but the power light stayed on and every time I restarted it, the fan stayed on FULL POWER nonstop!
Eventually I had to pull out the battery whilst it was “shut down”.
(By “shut down” I mean silent, seemingly off except for that blue power light, alone in the darkness, judging me…)

9) Now plug in the power (and the USB stick) and start up again.
(You HAVE configured the BIOS to boot from USB, yes?)

10) Fanny about until you get the A: command prompt. Then switch to the C: drive:


You should see all the files you copied from Rompaq/ before.

11) Now is the Moment of Truth:


A menu will appear, offering you the option to upgrade your BIOS!
Select the upgrade option, let it do it's thing, then select the exit option.

12) Now turn off the PC again… how?
(I pressed the power button… is there a way to do this from the command line in FreeDOS?)

Pull out the USB stick and shove it to the back of the drawer where you found it.

13) Turn the PC on again.
(It whirrs and blinks, shuts itself down: you've just BRICKED several thousand pounds of hardware!)

There is a good reason this is step number thirteen.

14) It should automatically turn itself on again… phew! This time it should boot properly.
(If you like, go into BIOS setup to check the new version has taken hold.)


You can enter a summary of how well the HP EliteBook 8740w works with Linux here.
Quite fast with 4GB ram. (Even sweeter with 8! Has anyone splashed out on the full 16?)


Dave, 2014/03/27 23:57

Hi Edward ,have you tried running the installer without allowing a connection to ANY online updates , then do them after install , this is how I did it .

I'm running Ubuntu 13.1 (64 bit )/ Win 7 Pro ( 64 bit )and XP Pro ( 32 bit )as a tri boot setup , and yes I had it lock up half way thro install until I removed the ticks that allowed it do update while installing ,agreeably that was without a LAN cable , just wireless.

Dreamcolor 1920×1200 display

Nvidia 5000m

OCZ Vertex 4 500 GB SSD


Intel 6300 wireless

Extra travel Battery fitted ( always )

Edward Jones, 2014/04/03 21:39

Hi Dave,
Yes, I have tried running all installers without a connection. They all begin to boot and end up with a black screen with different color character blocks all over the screen. I noticed they do boot up when I disable AHCI, but then it doesn't use the actual display resolution. I had a similar laptop spec without the DreamColor and works fine. Do I need to install a distro with the Nvidia drivers right away?

Thank you.

Dave, 2014/04/03 22:57

Hi Edward,

Do you have UEFI enabled in BIOS ?

This makes another primary partition , and also you must boot from the CD drive also in UEFI mode , as if you boot from ATAPI mode from the CD then it can't see the UEFI drive !!

This sounds strange I know but I have had this issue on other lappies, and sometimes getting it to boot via F9 boot menu you get the choice for the CD
drive , of UEFI or ATAPI or USB sometimes you get none ,when the BIOS is locked to UEFI and a GPT partition system not MBR.

Best way for me was ACHI / ON , UEFI / OFF , then load WIN 7 but don't let it make a SYSTEM RESERVED or AN HP TOOLS partition , eg : Win 7 only on 1 NTFS/MBR primary partition the full drive , then shrink the partition and make the free space into as many partitions as you need .( Up to 4 primary only )

Mine are : Win 7 Pro( 110GB )

         XP Pro ( 80GB )
         Ubuntu 13.1 ( 35GB )
         Storage Partition ( 250GB ) for all my Data/Music/Pictures/Extras.

I use no swap whatsoever for Linux as I have 8GB RAM , so don't need it.
I loaded Win 7 then XP allowing Win 7 boot loader to boot system and give choice of 7 or XP , then I loaded Ubuntu and allowed GRUB to show me /list which partition I could boot from.
I also use Ext2FS on Windows which runs as a system service ( using hardly any resources )to allow me to see and modify the Linux partition from Windows.

Sorry never had any issues with the Nvidia driver being needed straight away,
but I cant change the resolution as easily on the newest drivers and 13.1 , as it was on 10.1 .

Dave, 2014/04/03 23:31

Hi Edward,

      Sorry forgot to mention , I did make the 3 extra partitions after loading Win 7 as follows ; XP and Storage as NTFS and the one for Ubuntu was FAT32 ,this was to guarantee the Partitions were ALIGNED for the SSD ( one of the few things 7 is very good at , lol ),then I allowed the Installer CD to format and change the FAT32 into Ext3 before loading, specifying NO SWAP file.

HP 8740w : Intel Quad Core (QM740 ), Nvidia 5000m Video Card , Dreamcolor Display 1920×1200.

Goodluck ,it will work , just have to persevere , BUT it is truly worth it , I also use GRUB LOADER app to modify the GRUB Boot screen to have a cool background and a nice clean list with only 3 entries Win 7 /XP /Ubuntu.


Edward Jones, 2014/01/31 17:17

I am not able to do a fresh install or run a live CD of (64-bit) Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, 13.10, or openSUSE 13.1. All three do the same thing, they begin to load and then stops midway. Tried using DVD, USB, live and not live.

This particular model has a DreamColor display.

Dave, 2012/06/08 00:45

8740w Quad with Nvidia 5000m video card , Ubuntu 10.1 with Nvidia Beta drivers that were offered by Ubuntu ,worked perfectly out of the box with 2.6.35-32 kernel , but had 1 CPU maxing out , used your suggestion to mod the rc.local file and it worked perfectly. Simply went in as root and added the above line to the bottom of file just before the exit 0.

echo disable > /sys/firmware/acpi/interrupts/gpe01

Reeboot and , wow fixed.
Spent 3 hrs looking for the answer and it was this simple , thankyou all for your help.

Simon Thompson, 2011/07/21 19:33

I have an 8740w with Win7 and 11.04 Ubuntu. I can run 2 external monitors with Win-7 but when I plug the display port adaptor into a monitor while the VGA is also plugged in it reboots. If it boots up while in then it gets to the Ubuntu loading screen and freezes (turning off the sound light and turning on CAPS lock)

I've tried updating the kernel to 3.0rc7 but it fails to load the Nvidia graphic driver. 2.68.10 seems fine (more stable than the out of the box ubuntu anyway).


Tiyezx, 2012/02/02 10:43

I have not managed to install Ubuntu11.10 on my hp8740w. Installation starts but just freezes before completion.
The machine has Win7 and I need to duo boot it with Ubuntu. Kindly help

Hans Neukomm, 2012/02/02 11:40

since my hp8740w works perfectly on opensuse linux (currently running opensuse 11.04)
may be your problem is more ubuntu related and a Google search for

hp8740w ubuntu installation

may bring you more precise help

shortly before completion of linux may be a connection to online repositories to search for updates, make sure you are connected either (best) by cable or at least via wlan to the www when doing your install.

Pascal, 2011/07/04 17:03

I also have constant X Server crashes when running on Battery. Does anyone know how this can be fixed?


Nick, 2011/11/12 22:56

Try disabling the “Fan always on while on AC” in BIOS. Seems to have worked for me.

hans neukomm, 2011/05/23 22:53

i7 quad core, 8GB RAM, 500 GB sata drive, ATI with 1920x1200px

I got everything working out of the box with [|openSuSE 11.4 Linux] during install from download DVD,
including gnome networking applet, mobile broadband (with external 3G device via USB cable)
NOT working so far:
- qualcomm 2000 Gobi, can't unlock the chip = NO more win7 partition on laptop
- fingerprint reader - can't unlock chip, no fingerprint device detected

john Ashley, 2011/05/13 20:33

Could someone post an xorg.conf that works with ubuntu and an NVIDIA card? I can get to a black screen with a custom EDID but haven't found exactly what works yet…

Ron, 2011/04/03 11:49

I had problems with the touchpad. Sometimes it did not react to taps. Am I the only one?
Other than that everything worked out of the box (excluding the kacpid-thing).

Ram Vijapurapu, 2011/03/29 01:13

Thanks for the instructions, they have been very helpful.

I have been running Ubuntu 64bit on 8740w + NVidia 3800M - I have been having constant X Server crashes when running on Battery.

1. Do anyone of you have similar issues with NVidia Chipsets?
2. If yes, is it possible for you to share your experience of how you have fixed this?
3. If No, could you please provide me your details so I can put it in the bug report I putting across to NVidia.

MikeD, 2011/04/27 03:11

1) Yes, yes I do (display crash on battery *only*)
2) I have not found a fix…

Theaetetus, 2011/05/20 06:21

Me also: display crashes, only when on battery. Haven't found a fix.

IanCijdgaf, 2011/09/04 12:01

I have the exact same issue. I have tried the updated proprietary Nvidia drivers to no avail. I have the same behavior on both Ubuntu and Kubuntu (natty) so Gnome versus KDE is not the issue. I update to the X-org Edgers PPA to get the bleeding edge versions of X and that helped some but not 100%. I have found that using the bleeding edge X, I can use my laptop on battery for the entire charge without an X crash… if I don't use Firefox or Chrome. If I stay away from those two browsers, I can avoid the crashes. I was able to log into a machine at work and do what surfing I need over the remote connection so I wasn't running a browser locally and I was fine.

hans neukomm, 2011/02/17 18:47

Just days ago I installed an openSuSE 11.3 to my elitebook 8740w with 8 GB RAM and absolutely ALL worked out of the box incl graphic ATI 1920×1200, sound, wireless, bluetooth, etc

The only minor problem before installation was that Windows7 occupied all 4 or 5 partitions and a resizing was only possible to approx 50% because the main WIN partition was in the middle of my 500 GB HDD and for some reason none of the partitions were deletable using default tools.

After a brief review deep inside my heart - I took Gparted and deleted all Win7 partitions and reformatted a clean Linux machine.

After some 13 yrs of Linux, this machine is one of the very few where absolutely everything went perfect from original openSuSE DVD installer. all HW correctly auto-detected and auto-configured.

Dominik Wujastyk, 2011/02/15 21:00

I've got the ATI graphics chip, and I can't get xorg to recognise it. Even FGLRX doesn't seem to work. At boot, I get an error message from intel_ips saying it can't recognise the i915 symbols and Turbo mode is disabled. In short, I have no graphics acceleration at all. I can't run compiz, just metacity. Have tried compiling future kernels, i.e., 2.6.37, 2.6.38-rc4, but still no joy.

Ken Larson, 2011/01/09 15:23

The kacpid fix worked for me, thanks!

Ken Larson, 2011/01/08 14:30

1. At first, when I booted ubuntu (or the installer), the screen went blank. This problem can be solved by always booting (installer or otherwise) ubuntu with the nomodeset kernel option… until you finally get the proprietary nvidia driver installed.
2. For getting a dual boot system going, Windows 7 already was using enough primary partitions to make a new partition impossible - I repartitioned completely (80gb for windows, 16gb swap, the rest for root), then reinstalled windows 7, then installed ubuntu.

All 64-bit

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