Linux on a Dell Vostro 200

Following a recent post to ILUG asking about setting Linux up on a Dell Vostro 200, I followed up with my notes from the time I had to do it a few months back.

This is just a copy of my notes rather than a how-to but any competent Linux user should have no problem. Apologies in advance for the brevity; with luck you’ll be using a later version of Linux which will already have solved the network issue…

The two main issues and fixes were:

  • The SATA CD-ROM was not recognised initially and the fix was set the following parameter in the BIOS:

    BIOS -> Integrated Peripherals -> SATA Mode -> RAID

  • The network card is not recognised during a Linux install. Allow install to complete without network and then download Intel’s e1000 driver from or specifically by clicking here. The one I used then was e1000-7.6.9.tar.gz but the current version appears to be e1000-7.6.15.tar.gz (where the above link heads to – check for later versions).

    My only notes of the install just say “essentially follow instructions in README” so I assume they were good enough! Obviously you’ll need Linux kernel headers at least as well as gcc and related tools.

    Once built and installed, a:

    modprobe e1000

    should have you working. Use dmesg to confirm.

6 thoughts on “Linux on a Dell Vostro 200”

  1. Can you tell me what distro of linux you are using and how to get it installed. I am a newbie to this linux stuff and was hoping to get help on installing on a Vostro 200 also.

    My network card is 100Mbps so will the e1000 work with that?

    Also, can you supply me some step by step instructions for installing the linux.

    Thank a bunch and have a great day.

  2. Here’s the problem… when I switch the SATA Mode to “RAID”, I become completely unable to boot from the CD/DVD drive.

    In “IDE” mode, there is a “CDROM” entry in the boot priority list.

    When I switch to SATA mode, it becomes “HL-DT-ST DVD+/-RW GS”.

    A CD which boots fine in IDE mode flat out refuses to boot when the controller is in SATA mode. (For example, I started out with an Etch netinst disk, which I now know will never find the right drivers along the way…. but when the card is set to “RAID” mode, that thing at least fires up. In “RAID” mode, it gets completely skipped.

    Any ideas?

  3. Derek,

    During the BIOS screen (i.e. the time you would press F2 to get into setup) press F12 instead. This will give you a menu from which you can select the HL-DT-ST… drive and boot from it.

    Also, recent linux kernels (2.6.24+) have a driver called ‘e1000e’ which will work instead of having to download the Intel one, but whatever works for you is fine. 🙂

  4. Hi
    I am facing the same problem, would appreciate if you could specify which Flavour of Linux are you using , i tried FC4, CentOS and RHEL5. All fialed to boot becasue of the Hard Drive.
    Also in order to use the BIOS settings do i need to upgrade the BIOS or the existing one will work ?

    Thanks in advance for the help

  5. Sumit,

    Geez – it was a long time ago. And I never had an issue with the hard drive – it was the CDROM / DVD (fixed with a BIOS setting) and the network card (fixed with a custom compiled module).

    I would be surprised if the latest (K)ubuntu distribution had any issues with this system now – unless Dell have overhauled the system and hardware (unlikely as they’d typically change the model number).

    – Barry

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