How do you rate this laptop with Linux?
52% (14)
19% (5)
19% (5)
4% (1)
7% (2)



This is a guide to running Linux with the MSI CR500 laptop. There are still details missing, so if you have the MSI CR500 and are running Linux on it please consider editing this page or adding a comment below with your compatibility details. By contributing you will help other people running this laptop or trying to make a decision on whether to buy it or not.

This page is just for discussing using Linux on the MSI CR500. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the MSI CR500 page on LapWik.

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For full specifications see the MSI CR500 specifications page.

NameMSI CR500
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo Processor
Screen15.6 HD (1366×768)
GraphicsNVIDIA Geforce 8200M G
RAMUp to 4GB
HDD160GB to 500GB
Optical DriveDVD Super Multi
Built-in RaLink RT3090 802.11b/g/n

Linux Compatibility

Optical DriveNot TestedSee below
GraphicsPartialSee below
WirelessYesSee below
BluetoothNot Tested
HDMI OutputPartialSee below
Card ReaderNot Tested
ExpressCard SlotNot Tested
TouchpadPartialSee below


I have managed to install Ubuntu 10.04 on the CR500 with only a few issues. First off, the Ubuntu CD won't boot properly unless you use the nomodeset option, so be warned! The Ubuntu team tried to improve the experience for people with NVidia graphics cards in 10.04, but unfortunately the experience actually got worse on this laptop. Once you get the binary NVidia drivers installed manually from NVidia's script things get a lot better, although until you get into X the Ubuntu splash screen looks pretty ugly. This is an Ubuntu issue, so I don't know how things look on other distros.

I had no problems with the Processor, screen, HDD, or Ethernet. The webcam also worked straight out of the box. The optical drive works fine for playback of CDs and DVDs and recording of CDs, but I have not tested recording of DVDs yet.

The NVidia 8200MG graphics card isn't fully supported by the nv driver, so you will need to download the proprietary Nvidia drivers. The binary Nvidia drivers included with Ubuntu 10.04 don't work properly on this laptop, so you should install it manually from Please read the instructions on how to do it at

The HDMI output works well with the binary NVIDIA driver. Both video and sound work with no problems. You will probably need to go to the NVidia Settings application and enable any screen you want to connect the computer to. You will also need to go to audio devices and select audio over HDMI to get audio working. This is all the tweaking of settings you will need, however. I haven't tested HDMI with the open source nv drivers, but my guess is that it would not work.

A note on connecting this computer to other monitors: the default resolution on the laptop screen is 1366×768. This is not such a common resolution, so please check that this resolution is compatible with any TVs or monitors you want to use before you buy. In my case, I got the laptop running at 1366×768 and my TV running at 1360×768 with a dual-screen setup with no scaling issues. I used TwinView with the proprietary NVidia drivers - it looks very nice.

The wireless works, but the driver needed (ra3090) is relatively new. It looks like people are having problems with it on Ubuntu 10.04, but I haven't tested it properly yet. I have tested the driver for Ubuntu 9.10 and it works well, but it is not available in the main Ubuntu repositories. There is also a driver for 9.04 made by the same person. You can download them from here: If you need to search around the name of the card is RaLink rt3090. I'm not sure about other linux flavours, but the card itself works in linux.

The touchpad works, but on Ubuntu 10.04 it gets detected as a normal mouse, so you can't use advanced features. This is a little annoying when typing, as the cursor can suddenly move to a new location if you touch the touchpad by accident. This may differ with different linux flavours. You can, however, turn the touchpad off manually before you type using one of the fn keys.

USB worked straight away with my USB memory stick and my USB optical mouse. No problems here.

The sound works perfectly on linux. However, the soundcard picks up a bit of interference from the other components. This is not particularly noticeable when listening through the speakers, but you can tell when you listen through headphones. If you like your sound high-quality you could consider getting a cheap USB soundcard.

You may want to upgrade your RAM as the laptop only comes with 1GB. It's easy to upgrade the RAM as there is a spare RAM slot, but you will need to open the back cover and void your warranty to do it. For those who want to take the plunge see the memory upgrade wiki page at


If you are prepared to fiddle around, you should get most things working on your system. I am definitely happy with my purchase - as of May 2010 you would be hard pressed to find a laptop with better specs for the price.


Nudver, 2012/08/04 13:45

Estimado Ahmed.-
Te escribo desde Uruguay y en Español.-
Te diré que el Notebook MSI CR500, es un equipo ideal para el trabajo con Kubuntu.-
También lo he probado con Ubuntu pero soy fan de Kubuntu.-
Como he dicho en un post más arriba, en estos momentos lo tengo trabajando con Kubuntu 12.04 en su versión de 64 bits y es como decir que tienes un bólido en tus dedos….
El único retoque que le hice en el Hardware, fue que le aumenté la memoria ram a 4Gb que es el tope.-
Esto me habilitó que pudiese poner la versión que ya te describí más arriba y que el rendimiento de los procesadores fuese optimizado.-
Informo además, que en lo referente a las opciones de Red tanto en formato LAN como en WAM, ya sea Banda Ancha Móvil, cableada o Wi-Fi, no he tengo problemas para conectarme, aun que al principio no sabía como hacer funcionar el módem de Banda Ancha Móvil de Antel, que es un Huawei E160 tipo pen drive, el cual es un poco lento pero funciona a la perfección, si no vas a ver videos.-
Realmente es una muy buena inversión una vez que te acostumbras o cambias el mouse, dado que por lo menos este servidor, no se termina de entender con el mouse incorporado. Puedo garantizarte que si compras un MSI CR500, no vas a tener problemas por unos cuantos años, si lo usas en forma normal y no andas golpeandolo o haciendo pruebas de sobre cargar el reloj del procesador para que funcione más rápido…
Si lo quieres para este tipo de trabajos, pues comprate un PC de escritorio, que te será más útil.-
Te saludo cordialmente desde Piriápolis “La Perla del Plata”- Uruguay

Divas, 2012/08/01 16:33

I'm running Mint 13 maya 64 bit. I have a problem with pointing my internet browser url:http://localhost to my XAMPP home page. Note My firewall is Off by default.

Shannon VanWagner, 2012/05/06 04:45

Anybody install Ubuntu 12.04 on this laptop with any success? There is a reported problem for 12.04, that says it won't boot all the way to the login screen and we're looking for the workaround. See the link here:

Nudver, 2012/08/04 13:29

Si te fijas bien en el link que pusiste, se refiere a un laptop CR 400 y no al 500.-
Te diré que en mi caso tengo un MSI CR500 con Kubuntu 12.04 64bit y funciona a la perfección.-
Inclusive las conexiones de banda ancha móvil que tuve alguna dificultad para conectar mi módem al principio, ahora lo hago sin problemas, dado que he encontrado el tic para hacerlo.-
Este tic, es ir al gestor de conexiones y chequear que testen todos los datos correctos y clic para conectar, una vez que sale el cartel KWallet, le ingresas la pasword del Administrador y continuas. Tratará de conectar pero no lo hará, repites la acción (pero esta vez, no te solicitará la pasword), entonces si se conectará.-
El único problema que encuentro, es que en Kubuntu 12.04, el sonido es bastante bajo y si se sobrepasa el 80%, los pequeños parlantes saturan.-
Si se pone parlantes externos el sonido funciona perfectamente.-
Saludos cordiales, les envía desde Piriápolis “La Perla del Plata”
Nudver Machado

Sumit Bisht, 2011/03/31 10:37

Are there any power related issues (standby/hibernate) with this laptop on Ubuntu 9.10/10.04/10.10/11.04 ?

Jack, 2011/04/01 05:57

Works nicely on 9.10. Don't know about the others.

Nudver, 2011/05/15 15:53

Este equipo trabaja correctamente en Kubuntu 11.04…
Hiberna correctamente e incluso al bajar la tapa si la configuras para esta funci´on lo hace en muy buena forma…
Es un equipito muy noble-

heu, 2011/02/16 03:49

I installed OpenSUSE 11.4 M6 (upgraded later to RC1)on CR500 with a T4400, nvidia GF 9200M G, 4 GB of ram and EVERYTHING ( Fn keys, webcam, card reader, bluetooth, etc.) worked fine out of the box (it actually took less work than W7). I installed nvidia propietary driver thou because nouveau wasnt giving me 3d accel and felt kinda slow. It has multiboot along with W7 Starter (which came pre-installed), XP Pro, OpenSUSE 11.4 64-bit and Sabayon 5.5 KDE 32-bit, which I havent tested enough on this lappy to say everything works.. but it should.

Laci, 2011/02/07 11:38


I need to know for sure, if the WiFi is going to work in Ubuntu 10.10 (or 10.04), since I do not feel like re-installing back Unbuntu 9.10 if the higher version did not work out.

Thank you for your reply in advance.

Nudver, 2011/05/15 15:59

Instala ya sea Ubuntu 11.04 o Kubuntu 11.04, que funciona en ambas distro el WiFi, funciona correctamente. Es mas ahora estoy con mi Laptop navegando en internet, sin ning´un tipo de calbe.-
Animate, es tan f´asil la instalaci´on y adem´as al finalizar queda todo instalado menos la tarjeta de video NVidia que hay que instalar el driver propietario si es que quieres los chiches del cubo y otros…

Jack, 2011/01/30 15:15

I haven't tried the newer versions of Ubuntu since I last posted, so no idea. Ubuntu 9.10 is still supported until October if I remember correctly, and it's working well for me…

Peter, 2011/01/30 09:25

I installed Ubuntu 10,4 and 10,10. With 10,10 it is perfect without any tuning. But it freezes after a certain time, can be 10' can be 5h, just the same for 10,4 as for 10,10, with any graphical driver (non, recommended, manual installed). It freezes at that point that I can turn it off only with the on/off. Sometimes even it can't start up again and I have to reinstall.
I suspected a hardware problem, so I had it checked. They said under Windows everything was working fine (witch I suppose is a 'contradictio in terminis')
Anybody any idea?

abena, 2010/10/15 06:09

congrats! this is a really good article/tutorial.

It helped me a lot!

thanks a lot!


Jack, 2010/10/15 07:19

Glad to know that it's been useful!

Jack, 2010/07/13 13:33

AlexD: I just figured out what one of the other fn buttons does - it turns off the touchpad (which is something I've been trying to figure out how to do for ages!) It goes without saying that this button works with no kernel patching too.

Jack, 2010/07/13 13:29

Victor: I quote from my review: “The webcam also worked straight out of the box.” It works perfectly. Pretty good picture quality too.

AlexD: There are a couple of function buttons on the top-left that I have absolutely no idea of what they are used for, but most of them work no problems. Brightness down, brightness up, volume down, volume up, mute, sleep, home, and end all work with no problems. The special webcam button and wifi button also work. There's also a special P1 button which is automatically mapped to “find files” in ubuntu, and the “eco” button which prints a “±” character (which is rather random, but you should be able to change the function of these buttons easily enough).

AlexD, 2010/07/09 08:55

do all Fn-buttons work correctly under Ubuntu without patching the kernel?

Victor, 2010/06/07 20:01

Dear Jack, you mentioned the full installation of hardwares but didn't wrote about webcam.

Jack, 2010/05/08 08:26

spieler8: Sorry, no idea about that one. I try not to play around with stuff like that in case the CPU overheats…

spieler8, 2010/05/07 15:51

thanks very much for the tutorial. I probably would have cracked the case without it.

However another thing: you dont happen to know how to control the fan, you? any program? this thing is way more noisy than I anticipated…

Jack, 2010/05/06 14:28

spieler8: I went one better than that and translated it from the Japanese. Check the new link above. If you want the original Japanese the link is included on that page.

spieler8, 2010/05/05 11:46

could u post the link to the japanese page with the instructions on how to upgrade the memory? thx!

Jack, 2010/05/03 16:18

Richard - Yes, I'm using compiz, and it works very well. I've got the desktop cube going with full effects and there's no loss of speed. To give you an idea of the laptop's 3D crunching power, Halo 1 runs pretty well at full graphics and 1366×768, and perfectly at full graphics at 800×600. Bioshock will run but there is still some frame skipping at the lowest graphics setting at 640×480. (Both of these are in Windows, of course.)

Richard, 2010/05/02 13:44

Have you tried compiz-fusion on this laptop?

Jack, 2010/04/06 14:06

I'm the author of the first draft of this page. If you have any questions, post a comment here and I'll get back to you.

ahmed, 2010/01/15 22:49

i want some information about this laptop

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msi_cr500.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/13 15:21 (external edit)
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