Life\’s Direction

HP 2133 Mini-note with Xubuntu and Windows XP

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on June 4, 2008

My dearest wife helped me save up for an HP mini-note and so for my birthday we bought one.  These are my experiences so far, I would like to hear some of yours too.

I first got the machine with Vista, my patience quickly ran out as I waited for this bloated operating system to fire up over and over and over.

I then thought to myself, I should put Xubuntu on this machine, the process for xubuntu was relatively easy, I had to use the xforcevesa kernel option to get the display to work and use ndiswrapper for the wireless card.

I was running all find and dandy for a few days then I noticed I had a problem.  my battery was EXTREMELY slow to charge (33 hours) charge time.  This was obviously an ACPI issue and I have not been able to solve it.

I then settled for WindowsXP, I installed all the stock drivers available at HP, and the machine runs well I have to say.  I would have liked to run Xubuntu on the machine but I need good power managment.

I have yet to try OS X on this machine but because of the processor, chipset, display and other quirky hardware I assume it will fail dismaly.

The screen and keyboard have been good, they are probably the most enjoyable parts of this machine.  I didnt get an Eeepc because the keyboard to me was unusable.  I am still making more than the normal amount of typos on this keyboard but it is pretty good for its size and application.

The screen has been a bit challenging, I run it at the full 1280×768 resolution but crank up the DPI and the font settings on my applications, this allows me a crisp display with large typeface.

The most educational part of this whole thing was getting an ubuntu install ISO and a Windows XP install base onto a USB key.  I used pendrive linux and modified the boot params (syslinux.conf) to allow for boot options, this allowed me to pass the xforcevesa kernel option at boot.

I can write up some instructions if there are those interested.

mini-note users?  What have been your experience?  Did anyone get the SLES model?  I dont understand why they wouldnt give me the linux option on the top of the line model.  I think HP is a little backwards with regards to this, they must think that Linux is for the cheap I would disagree.


11 Responses

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  1. Frances said, on August 13, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    hi! i have just recently purchased my mini note last 25 july. lately, i have been noticing that the charging of the battery is really really slow. ( my OS is vista basic)

    Do you have any recommendation on how to handle to make the charging fast?

    thanks A& would appreciate your immediate reply

  2. lifesdirection said, on August 14, 2008 at 2:27 am

    Hi Frances,

    I experienced the same problem, but Vista is a joke, I simply either put XP or Linux on it. If you power the laptop off and plug it in, it should charge fully I think in 1 hour.

    Give that a shot.

  3. Dan said, on December 8, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Hey – just taken delivery of an HP2133 with 1GB RAM and 120GB HDD with the VIA 1.2 CPU. First experiences of the SLED – dreadful. Really unfriendly, cumbersome and bloated. And HP shipped this as a complete product, but the Wi-fi card doesn’t work properly, neither do the graphics drivers or the webcam. Crud.

    Am just downloading Ubuntu (was going to try XUbubntu but after your warning re graphics thought I’d stay well away). To be honest though, it looks like I may well just go and install XP. Really disappointed. I so *wanted* to go for Linux, but have been stopped at every stage. Hpmh

    Will keep you posted on Ububtu progress.

  4. lifesdirection said, on December 14, 2008 at 4:37 am


    I wouldnt have gotten the 2133 for Linux the hardware sucks, The CPU (VIA) is pretty good but the wireless card is broadcom and the Graphics are not yet supported as well, you should have gotten the HP 1000 mininote, and if you can still take yours back then take it back, its worth the effort.

  5. Big_Nose said, on December 23, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Hi man, check out this guide:

    Covers installation of Xubuntu on the 2133, it now runs really smoothly with the new drivers made available in december. The guide explains how to get compiz running aswell, but it’s a bit slow, I recommend using xfce’s own window manager.

    Battery life is improved through use of CPU scaling.

  6. Ashok said, on January 4, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Bought my mininote in May’08…never found a better machine…all new line netbooks are so cramped…didnt find then usable.
    I’m using dual boot with Ubuntu Intrpid Ibex (8.10) and XP…believe me I have nothing to complain about.

    Although had some good time initially to make XP installer off the USB…ubuntu was breeze thanks to unetbootin.

    Ubuntu 8.10 just works…no issues with the Graphics or wireless on mininote.

    • lifesdirection said, on January 6, 2009 at 7:09 am

      Hi Ashok,

      Thanks for your comment, unetbootin is great! I love it I think its the best thing since writable optical media, wait a minute it is 🙂 My comments with regards to the graphics driver I was reffering to compiz support, ubuntu 8.10 did not have native compiz support so I was unable to use the netbook remix components of ubuntu.

  7. frimleymark said, on March 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I bought one of these machines with SLED 10 installed what a complete nightmare to suss out !,you need an physics degree just to learn how to install a bit of software !.Is it easy to whack XP on it as SUSE is not happening in any way for me !

    • lifesdirection said, on March 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm

      Hi Mark,

      Good of you to stop by, Im not sure of the hardware specs for the SLES10 version, though you do not need a degree in physics to install software, I do not have a degree in physcis 🙂 I think you are just used to using WindowsXP. Linux is very easy to use provided you understand what your computer is doing at a superficial level. Granted SLES is not a good linux distribution for end users. Its an enterprise linux version so usually you have the resources to support it. Why they put it on a consumer line PC is beyond me. If I were you I would seriously consider Ubuntu.

      You will have to obtain a copy of XP and install it via a USB stick or external CD ROM, I believe however all the drivers necessary are available from HPs site. You may also want to consider trying out Windows 7 on the unit. I have not done Win7 on the 2133, I no longer have mine but I would be interested to see how it works out.

      Hope this finds you well!
      Thanks for stopping buy

  8. frimleymark said, on April 3, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Hi,just to report back that i have installed XP and the machine is running like a dream !.Am running IE8/SP3 and Firefox on it and it is as quick as lightning.XP was easy to install by external DVD RW and so were the drivers=how i put up with SLED 10 for 3 weeks ill never know !

  9. lifesdirection said, on April 3, 2009 at 7:13 pm


    Thanks for reporting back, I think its great that you found something else, to be honest I have never understood SLED10 from a Linux perspective, it seems to be far to locked down and all the important RPMs you would need are on SLES (the server edition). Try Ubuntu, also you might want to try Windows 7, its really fast and the HP mini should be well supported.

    Let me know if you decide to try Windows 7. What your experiences are, I have found that it is the most superiior windows version thus far, far better than Vista and does no take abscene rescources (runs better than XP) on older hardware.


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