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Laptop QC sheet update draft check out for layout project
Laptop Build Binder
AC adapter page
Optical Drive Testing Procedure
Keeper Label
Keeper Label Example

Laptop As-Is Build Guide Update

Grabbed a Pentium II thinkpad, installed a 10GB HDD with Debian Squeeze installed with basic packages only, and no desktop environment. Created a user. Installed bsdgames. Sean did something so that the game paths are linked to the user home directory.

Tentative plan: Eliminate scraptops, new As-Is spec would be Pentium ii-iii ish with harddrives and light OS installed. Maybe a basic readme with instructions, but no further support ("My First Linux") Machines in the As-Is category that POST with working screens Install 30GB or less HDD, with headless Squeeze install ("proof of concept OS") Install bsdgames or other silly packages, maybe with basic instructions, could have a display store box

selection process: boxes that are aesthetically appealing in some way (not super chunky, cute, whatever) working screen working keyboard and trackpad

next category up (P4 lowend stuff) would include lightweight desktop environment and wireless

New As-Is Label information

Processor Speed HDD y/n If y, size

This Laptop is sold AS-IS, no returns, no warranty. It may be missing parts. We verify that the machine will turn on, and boots Debian (6.0.3 Squeeze). No further testing has been done. See the readme file for basic instructions. User: root Password: freegeek

Laptop Build Teaching Module

Next steps:

  • writing example for each section

for every section have identifiable instructor and builder goals have two versions: one for new builders, and a reminder help sheet for experienced builders to guide them along

each module has specific exercises to be completed that double in function as a testing step

after the builder completes some guided builds and demonstrates needed skills, they can use the abbreviated testing steps

Physical Parts check

Keywords: Evaluation power supply HDD install check keeper label

Getting Started

You should be selecting a machine that has already been Evaluated. During Evaluation, we spend some time triaging the systems that have come in the door, and making sure they meet our basic specification criteria. Select an AC adapter for the machine (if you need help with this step, refer to the Laptop Hardware ID page or check with your instructor. Ask your instructor for a Hard Drive to install. Check the

Intro to BIOS and POST Keywords: Firmware BIOS UEFI

  • Enter BIOS

BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System (lots more information online). It provides basic access to firmware settings on your computer. Most systems we work with at this point use BIOS, however there is a new standard called UEFI that is intended to replace BIOS. Don't worry about the difference at this point, it doesn't affect us practically in most cases at this point. BIOS gives us access to basic settings outside of the operating system. This is why we can save changes before the hard drive is installed. These changes are saved directly to a small chip on the motherboard. There are many different versions of BIOS that you will encounter, depending on the company that wrote the BIOS software, and the specific version you are using.

  • If you poke around the BIOS screens, you should be able to find the version number you are using, and the brand.

POST definition

what these acronyms stand for why they are important what they do common POST troubleshooting steps BIOS boot order, and general functional categories to look out for in BIOS

Intro to networking and wireless parts required: card and driver helpful terminal commands: rfkill, lspci, iwconfig BIOS config

Basiccheck introduction to our homebrew scripts and the freegeek-extras package

Optical Disk Testing intro to disk utility, terminal and GUI mount, eject, dmesg what to do when a disk isn't recognized ISO burning

Installing programs:

Exercises: Installing programs via the Terminal Installing programs via the Software Center Running System Updates

Keywords: File System Package Directory Repository Package Manager apt-get Ubuntu Software Center (Synaptic) Manual Page (wx-keyboard-tester) (Tux Typing) Update Operating System user interface

In order for your operating system to recognize a program as installed, it needs to do a bit of housekeeping. That is, needed files have to be stored in specific locations in your file system for the program to run successfully. In Linux, software comes in packages, that is a bunch of files bundled into one folder (or directory as it is called in Linux) with an installation script, that directs the files to the appropriate places in your system for the software to run. Repositories are places where software packages are stored that you can download via an Internet connection. A package manager is a program that handles the ins and outs of downloading and installing software from various repositories. There are two package managers we will be using for testing: apt-get or Aptitude, and a graphical program called the Ubuntu Software Center. There is another package manager installed on your system called Synaptic, that we will not cover in this lesson. Apt-get is the most powerful of package managers in Ubuntu, followed by Synaptic, but these managers require a bit of background knowledge to be really useful. We're just covering a little bit to get you started. The Ubuntu Software Center is a fairly straightforward way to add or remove software, but can be limited for troubleshooting when something goes wrong.

Installing a Program Via Apt-Get

Make sure you have an internet connection (remember the repositories we are downloading the software packages from are online) Open a Terminal type

man apt-get

This will show you the manual page for the apt-get program. All programs that run in the Terminal will have a manual page listing specific functions and usages. Poke around for a moment if you like. It takes some learning to be able to interpret the information presented, but see if you can find anything new. Hit


to exit the man page. Now, let's try using the apt-get program to install some software. We'll install wx-keyboard-tester a software we will use to test the laptop keyboard in a little bit.

sudo apt-get install wx-keyboard-tester

and follow the prompts. When your Terminal line reverts to oem@freegeek:~$ type


and the program should launch. If you have run into an error on either of these steps, double check that you have entered the commands exactly, and then check with your instructor.

Installing a Program Via the Ubuntu Software Center

Click Applications > Ubuntu Software Center You can search for all kinds of open source software that Ubuntu officially supports from here. Try typing Tux Typing in the search bar, and click More Info on the search result. This is a cute little educational typing program where you can use your touch typing skillzz to hunt fish. Click the Install button to download and install the software. Note that it now appears under the Games section of your Applications menu.

Running Updates

We can run updates for Ubuntu in a couple of different ways. These updates not only provide the most recent security updates, fixes, and patches for your operating system, but also some updates for programs you have installed. Most sources recommend that you update your system every week or so. Via the command line, we can use the package manager apt-get to download and install necessary system updates, or a graphical tool called the Update Manager. Update Manager is similar to the Ubuntu Software Center in that it provides an easy point-and-click environment for apt-get functions, but is less flexible for troubleshooting errors.

Open a Terminal window type

sudo apt-get update

and hit enter. Here your system checks itself against online sources and downloads needed updates.

Open System > Administration > System Updates. You can hit the button Check to look for updates, and the Install button to download and install updates. Note that if the updates you ran from the Terminal completed successfully, you shouldn't have any update files needed in the Update Manager. Both programs are accessing the same information through the same back end, but with different user interfaces or front end, the part of the program you see and interact with. Running apt-get in the terminal gives you more direct control over how you manage updates and software on your system, Update Manager and the Ubuntu Software Center access little pieces of the Aptitude program to provide easy access to specific functions.

More resources...

Port and keyboard testing check usb testing intro to lsusb (show how ports are show, and how we can see that a device is connected) download keyboard testing program, test keyboard and trackpad

Printme and final cleaning

Core Tasks Supplemental Material

  • Created main page for Build Binder, it's just one page with all the core tasks that a builder needs to complete, along with a new keeper label draft.
  • Goals for supplements: enough info to get through core tasks, along with educational references and how-to guides for specific repairs or problems
Check for broken, damaged or missing parts
  • screen swap guide
  • keyboard repair notes
  • hinge repair notes
  • battery replacement notes
Find appropriate AC adapter and mark keeper label
  • How-to guide for matching AC adapters
Install imaged HDD
  • About our image, how imaging stations work, what's different about our image than Ubuntu that you'd download directly
Check BIOS boot order, verify RAM amount
  • How to remove CMOS passwords
  • about BIOS and UEFI
  • WiFi troubleshooting guide
  • How WiFi works
  • about the script (how to look at the script directly)
Test optical drive
  • all the tests that need to be run
  • links to how an optical drive works
Test all USB ports
Test keyboard and all trackpad buttons
  • may need installation steps depending
Run printme
  • what is printme, how does it gather information (about DMI)
Prep for QC
  • point to badblocks, battery test and memtest instructions