Friday, September 9, 2011

Installing OSS 11.4 on an ExpressCard SSD

Using an HP 8560p I finally managed to install (and boot) OSS 11.4 to an ExpressCard 34 SSD.
The biggest problem is not the actual installation itself but making sure that the computer wants to boot from the SSD.

I started by booting from x86-64 DVD and installing OSS to /dev/sdb as the SSD was recognized as a second hard drive. Following the standard installation options and indication Gnome as default desktop, the procedure was pretty normal. The only thing that was a bit annoying was that the HD 6470M is not recognized OOTB so the second part of the installation is text-based.

After the first real reboot, the problems began... The computer does not want to boot from the SSD, you don't even get the boot menu or even an error.
Several tries later I found one scenario that did work.
When installing, do not choose the Gnome or KDE option, but enable all options and choose the "Text based only" one.
Also, when configuring the boot loader (GRUB), make sure you install it to the root partition (and not to the MBR) and also set /dev/sdb as the first hard drive.

I don't know why but that was the only way I could boot from SSD.
Even setting the same GRUB options when choosing XFCE or LXDE did not work. Only text-based worked... (If somebody knows why, please let me know)

Anyway, it is not so difficult to switch from text-based to XFCE (or Gnome...)
  • Make sure you have a working internet connection (plug in the network cable because wireless will not work yet)
  • Install all updates (do this several times until no new updates are shown)
    zypper update
  • Reboot the machine because there must have been a kernel update
  • Install fglrx package to enable HD6470M recognition
  • zypper ar -f fglrx
    zypper in fglrx64_xpic_SUSE114
  • Install XFCE meta package
  • zypper in patterns-openSUSE-xfce
  • Set the display manager to gdm
    vi /etc/sysconfig/displaymanager
    change DISPLAYMANAGER="xdm" --> DISPLAYMANAGER="gdm"
  • Reboot
Power saving tip.. Spin down the normal hard disk after booting from SSD
 echo "/sbin/hdparm -B1 /dev/sda && /sbin/hdparm -S1 /dev/sda" >> /etc/init.d/boot.local

btw, the HP8560p works very well with OSS 11.4...

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