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Hints for using Gentoo on the HP Compaq nc4400

NOTE: In summary, it works! Currently this page has mostly links that were usefult for the install process. More info will be added.



Currently Supported/Working Hardware

Currently Not Tested Hardware


Initial Installation

The machine has no CD drive, so you might want to start by creating a LiveUSB boot stick. Follow the instructions, use the 2006.0 image and it will work. Change BIOS to boot from USB Hard Drive.

If you want to keep XP partition around like I did, check ntfsresize and the example usage in the google cached FAQ. I left XP with 20GB and got 60GB for Gentoo.

After that I continued with by the (hand)book installation except for the gcc update.

As for the kernel, I opted for the gentoo-sources-2.6.20-r3 (~x86 masked) to use the new Core2 processor family. See this guide. I used -march=nocona and 32bits setup. Form the same page, check the coretemp kernel patch.

NOTE: BIOS updated from original F.05 to F.08, from HP pages.

NOTE: cpufreq doesn't work at all with bios F.05. Update the bios (to F.09) and use acpi_cpufreq.

To be continued..

Bios update

A quick overview on how to make the usb boot stick to do the bios update. May save someone's time.

Download the freedos bios executable from hp page. Run it using wine and it extracts some files into a dir of your choosing, go there. Remove everything except the dir rompaq.

Create the fat partition on the usb stick and format it. Emerge syslinux and use it to create the mbr and syslinux installation on the stick. Get two images from the freedos website; fdboot.img and fdbasecd.iso. There is a reason why both are needed.

Mount fdbasecd.iso to e.g. /mnt/cdrom and copy it's contents to the stick. In /mnt/usb/data replace the fdboot.img with the one you downloaded. The original one on the cd doesn't seem to mount. Mount fdboot.img to e.g. /mnt/floppy and cd there. Create a directory e.g. hp and copy everything from the rompag directory the hp installer created in it.

Unmount /mnt/floppy and /mnt/usb and reboot. Press enter on the syslinux prompt and select the freedos safe mode. In freedos just

C:>cd hp

Most of the stick creation is covered in detail in the aforementioned gentoo liveUsb-guide.

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Last modified: Wed, 27 Aug 2008 01:28:00 +0000 Hits: 4,603