Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Installing Solid State Disk in HP Pavilion Notebook

With Mint Linux 14 installed on my HP Pavilion DM1-4108AU notebook, it was time to swap the hard disk drive (HDD) for the Solid State Disk (SSD) from my Kogan Agora. This was easier than upgrading the RAM. The hard part was getting the back off the computer (it slides off after removing the battery pack and pressing the battery catch as far as it will go). There is one screw holding the disk in place, after removing this the disk lifts up and out, after which the connector is pulled off. There is a diagram and step by step procedure in the excellent HP Pavilion dm1 Entertainment PC - Maintenance and Service Guide. The disk has a metal carrier held on by four screws. The SDD has the same screw holes and connector, fitting in place of the HDD.

Previously I had installed Mint Linux 14.0, but there had been an upgrade to 14.1 in the interim, so I tried that. The result was a blank screen, so I went back to 14.0 which worked fine.
As I had reinstalled Linux I needed to reset my favorite settings. One annoyance is font sizes, which are too small by default. Setting the Resolution DPI to a larger value than the default 96 helps (I use 192) in: Menu > Preferences >Appearance > Fonts > Details. But Thunderbird and Firefox still use tiny fonts for displaying email and document. There are thousands of postings on the web about how to fix this and hundreds of add-ons offered. It is curious that Mozilla can't have these applications use the operating system default DPI and font sizes. I found "Firefox Tweaks" helped.

HP Pavilion dm1-4210usI have solved the problem of the shiny black bezel around the HP's screen, by painting it with a can of flat black enamel paint. The bezel is held on by clips (explained in the service manual) and so can be removed with care for painting. Remember to cover the window for the web camera before painting. The silver painted hinge covers are attached to the bezel so I painted these black as well. The result is the removal of distracting reflections. This looks so good I am tempted to paint over the remaining sliver portions of the case, to make the computer less conspicuous. I have also removed the five stickers from the case which advertised Windows 7 (no longer installed), HP's support line, HP Premier Experience (whatever that is) and the AMD chips. Some problems remain with the HP hardware, in particular the shiny screen is still an annoyance and I have yet to find a suitable anti-reflective filter.

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