Linux on a Compaq presario 710

These are some notes that were kept while setting up Linux to dual boot with windows XP on a Compaq presario 710.

Created: March 12, 2002; Last updated: March 18, 2002.

The hardware

The notebook comes with: Note that it does not have a serial port.

Setting up dual boot

The computer comes with windows XP pre-installed and a set of 3 rescue CDs. If you want to set up a dual boot system, it is best done before doing _anything_ with windows (as what you do will be lost). The basic idea is to partition the disk (trashing current contents), then install windows XP from the rescue disks (a hack is used to keep it from trashing the partition table); then install Linux.

Partition the disk

Use what ever tools you like to do this. I just booted from the RedHat 7.2 install disk and did the partitioning using fdisk (if you want, you can install Linux while you are at it, but if you make a mistake during the next step, it will be lost). I split the disk into 10g (windows), 9.5g Linux, .5g Linux swap (do not leave any unallocated space).

Install windows from the rescue disks

If you just put the rescue disk in a boot up, it will delete the partition table and create a new one - not useful. So, put the rescue CD in another (Linux) machine and mount it up. There is a file called "bootimg.bin" there - put it on a blank floppy:
dd if=/mnt/cdrom/bootimg.bin of=/dev/fd0
then copy AUTOEXEC.BAT and OSIMAGE\*.SCR to /tmp so you can edit them:
mcopy a:AUTOEXEC.BAT /tmp
cp /mnt/cdrom/osimage/*.scr /tmp/SCRIPT.SCR
(can't remember the name of the .SCR file on the CD - there is only one .SCR file, so there can't be any confusion). Now edit the AUTOEXEC.BAT and, at the end of the file, put a REM in front of the line that runs QRPROSIG.EXE. Next, edit the SCRIPT.SCR file and make it look like this:
(this changes the script to only delete partition 1 instead of all the partitions). And now put both files back on the boot disk and put both the floppy and the CD into the notebook and boot up. You should get a A:> prompt. Finally, install windows (trashing the contents of partition 1) by running the command:
Q:\qr\pqdice.exe /cmd=a:\script.scr /img=Q:\osimage\factory.pqi /nrb
Note that this command will not ask for confirmation - it just does the install. Also, have tried putting this command at the end of the AUTOEXEC.BAT, but it didn't work - no idea why. After you have put in all three disks, you have windows XP sitting on a 10g partition (or whatever size you made it).

Install Linux

Now install your Linux - RedHat 7.2 was used when these notes were taken, so if you use another distribution, things may behave differently. Notes on the installation: At this point, you should be able to reboot the machine and boot either windows or Linux. You can edit /boot/grub/menu.lst to change the default and to change (or remove) the timeout.

Misc notes

The kernel that comes with RedHat 7.2 causes the machine to hang when you reboot it - need to unplug the power and battery to proceed. This can be fixed by getting an updated kernel from the RedHat updates (2.4.9-31 seems to work better).


The system doesn't power off when given the command "halt -p". Haven't spent any time on fixing this yet.


Setting up the linmodem:


Haven't spent any time trying to get the sound working - saw references to the newer kernels (2.4.18) fixing problems, but don't know if it was this problem.


Don't have any firewire devices so don't know if it works (haven't checked dmesg to see if the kernel sees it).

Info from Others

Here are some emails I've received which have some useful info not mentioned here:

Useful links

To find out more info about the script file used by the rescue disks, do a search for some of the commands in the script file - you should find something at least partly useful.

The linmodem page: .

Driver for the modem: .

Cem Servantie's notes on setting up a Compaq presario 715: .

Walter Price's page on how to set up windows 98 and windows NT 4.0 on the Presario 700 series: .

Carl Constantine's page on the persario 720 - mentions Gentoo Linux installs well, and says will post his kernel and X config files: .