Monday, October 27, 2008

Installing Arch linux on the HP DV6910TX

This is a record of my attempt to put Arch (2008.06 Core Dump) on the HP DV6910TX.
Here is my system configuration
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T5750 @ 2.00GHz
  • Ram : 3GB
  • Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS with 256Mb dedicated memory
  • 320Gb harddisk


Here was my original partitioning scheme:
  • C: 308Gb
  • D: (Recovery) ~10Gb
Make sure you create your HP Recovery Discs first!

Since the arch install CD doesn't have ntfsprogs ( it has the packages, but not as part of the setup boot ), I booted from dreamlinux (you can use any liveCD) and used ntfsresize to shrink the C: (/dev/sda1) to 35Gb.

Then I used gparted to create a proper partition layout. Here is how it goes
  • /dev/sda1 - ntfs - 35Gb (C:)
  • /dev/sda2 - ntfs - 10Gb (D:)
  • /dev/sda3 - swap - 4Gb ( to hibernate, you need atleast as much swap as your RAM )
  • /dev/sda4 - extended
  • --- /dev/sda5 - ext3 - 20Gb (/)
  • --- /dev/sda6 - ext3 - 50Gb (/home)
  • --- /dev/sda7 - ntfs - 180Gb (/shared)
After committing these changes I began the installation.

The rest of the settings were normal Arch installation procedures, which can be found elsewhere.



The dv6910tx has an nVidia 8400M GS with 256Mb of dedicated memory. Installing the nvidia drivers ( pacman -S nvidia nvidia-utils ) and running nvidia-xconfig generated the required xorg.conf, and the card worked perfectly.


Installing the synaptics package and merging the required changes into xorg.conf ensured that the touchpad worked too, including scroll areas and locking.

CD/DVD drive

Works perfectly without any configuration.


Arch correctly used the r8169 driver


Arch was able to identify the card, but there is no hotspot here to test the connection.

Card reader

The 6910 has a 5-in-1 reader from Ricoh. But I could test only for SD cards.


Detected fine,, but no device to test.

Power management

Installing Guidance (pacman -S guidance-power-manager) will allow you to quickly view battery performance and perform suspend or hibernate ( I'm using pm-utils ).
To enable different power modes ( governors ), install cpufreq and follow the Arch Wiki Page on CPUfreq.

A special entry has to be made to mount/unmount NTFS partitions. Put the following in /etc/pm/sleep.d/66ntfs:


MOUNTS="/windows/C /shared"

function 66ntfsmount() {
for i in $MOUNTS
mount $i

function 66ntfsumount() {
for i in $MOUNTS
umount $i

case $1 in

echo "BAD!"

Now make it executable ( chmod +x /etc/pm/sleep.d/66ntfs ).


Not tested yet.

NTFS partitions

I installed ntfsprogs and used the fuse.ntfs system to mount ntfs in userspace as read and write. Here are the additions to /etc/fstab

UUID=... /windows/D fuse.ntfs defaults 0 0
UUID=... /windows/C fuse.ntfs defaults 0 0
UUID=... /shared fuse.ntfs defaults 0 0

NOTE: The arch shutdown scripts kill the fuse ntfs system rather than unmounting the drives. To fix this issue edit /etc/rc.local.shutdown and insert the following:

. /etc/rc.conf
. /etc/rc.d/functions

# Unmount NTFS partitions
stat_busy "Unmounting NTFS partitions"
umount /shared
umount /windows/C
umount /windows/D


Device detected. I could scan for my cell phone, but I've yet to figure out how to exchange files.


If you use KDE4, go to System Settings -> Regional and Language -> Keyboard Layout. Enable keyboard layouts and change the keyboard model to Hewlett-Packard Pavilion ZT11xx. All the keys EXCEPT Quickplay and DVD work after that. The mute key does not turn red, but it does work. Of course it is your job to actually configure application shortcuts to use the keys.


The volume keys respond. Other keys should be configured to work with the respective applications using application specific settings.