Compaq Presario 1255 Walkthrough

From DSL Wiki

This is a guide for installing DSL 4.2.4 on a Compaq Presario 1255 Notebook Computer.

I wrote this article as I had a number of issues when trying to do a Hard-Disk Install on my 1255 laptop.



  • You want to fully install DSL as the ONLY Operating System on your computer.
  • You either don't want any of the data on your computer, or you've already backed it all up safely.

Getting the CD

First you'll need to get hold of a DSL CD. See Getting DSL From the Mirrors for infomation on how to download a CD image. Once you've downloaded the correct version of DSL you'll need to burn it to some writable media. Infomation on this is available in the guide: Burning a Bootable CD. Alternatively you can buy a DSL CD. I used the file dsl-4.2.4-syslinux.iso to install.


At the boot screen, Fkey (or Shift-Key or DEL) your way into your BIOS and make sure it's set to boot from your CD drive. Save & Exit to reboot your computer.

When you reach the DSL splash/boot screen, press F2 to enter a boot-command, then enter

       dsl vga=normal xsetup

..otherwise you'll end up with 1024x768, which scrolls off screen and causes other issues (not good).

The next thing you'll be presented with is, which will ask a number of questions concerning your keyboard, mouse, default time zone, etc.

  • Choose Xfbdev as your X Server, Xvesa does not work properly with this machine.
  • Choose no to both USB and IMPS/2 mouse. For the touchpad, choose ps2 from the list, and two mouse buttons, obviously.
  • I picked the US keyboard as I wasn't sure which one corrosponded to my (Irish) one. It works, but some of the keys aren't quite right. I'll update on which is correct for Irish keyboard when I figure it out.

DSL will now boot into X....

Installing to the hard drive

See Installing_to_the_Hard_Disk for details on how to set up your partitions and then install.

Adding more applications

At this point, you have an insanely small version of Debian/Knoppix humming along perfectly on your laptop. More than likely there are some other things you'll want to install before you're through, and you have two options: apt-get or the DSL repository. Both have pluses and minuses. apt-get will bloat your system quickly, but .dsl packages can only be uninstalled manually. DSL packages are stripped and tiny and guaranteed to work, but apt-get has a wider array. The choice is yours :)

You may wish to consider installing:

  • gnu-utils.dsl - updates the slimmed down busybox stuff, like sed and ps and updatedb/locate.
  • gtk2.dsl - gtk2 libraries, which a lot of both dsl and debian packages will need.