General Tips and Tricks
Dell homepage. Unfortunately Sony does not provide this update. The file can also be downloaded from my download page.
You need windows to create the DOS-Diskette, or download this image and write to disk:
bunzip2 hdd_firmware_update.img.bz2 ; dd if=hdd_firmware_update.img of=/dev/fd0.
Then boot from the floppy and follow the instructions.
Meanwhile, I've replaced mine with a 40GB Toshiba, which worked fine. But - after a BIOS update (in fact the sony people downgraded the bios after a mainboard change), the geometry was different.
Jens Neu told me, that he has a 60GB Hitachi harddisk running in his FX401 and it works.
Alexander Jordan's page there is a gkrellm plugin, that shows current temperature. To use it, put it in any directory and start gkrellm --plugin /tmp/cputemp.so. I've put mine into ~/.gkrellm/plugins, but it wasn't detected automatically. The --plugin option works, though. I've also set the executable bit, but don't know if this is necessary.
IceWM I assigned them to a script that mutes/unmutes the speakers, or start a mixer application.
Put the following lines in your ~/.Xmodmap
keycode 176 = XF86AudioMedia keycode 160 = XF86AudioMuteThen edit ~/.icewm/keys (or /etc/X11/icewm/keys) and put the following lines there:
key "XF86AudioMute" /home/markus/bin/muting key "XF86AudioMedia" gamixAfter killall -HUP icewm (or restarting X) you can run gamix by pressing Fn+F4.
I've had some issues with my notebook. After about 13 months the harddisk
was four times louder than normal (too bad for those, who didn't buy additional
warranty! But I did :) I could convince them, that this is a reason to replace
it, although it was fully intact otherwise. A short time after the harddisk was
replaced, I sold it and bought a 40GB instead of the 20GB. This didn't make
any problems with the Sony service (when I had it there the next time), but I
told them to keep my larger harddrive and not to replace it with the original
The next thing was the modem. It hung the whole PC under windows, and the linux driver said, that it couldn't find it. It was replaced together with my mainboard (although not when I wanted to get my "fixed" notebook from service - I had to show them that the machine crashes). The mainboard must have had a temperature damage in the area of the graphics card. Sometimes the machine just didn't boot any more (black screen, no backlight, sometimes beep codes - 1 long, 2 short). It was very sporadic in the beginning and also caused the machine to freeze when moving it. The guys at Sony also replaced the CPU - don't know if that was really necessary.
The next thing was the latch of my display. Somehow it was broken some day (I really have no idea why!). I've already bought a new back plate that covers the connectors - nearly 15 Euros(!), so I told them that I don't want to pay more than 10 Euro for this latch. I was really surprised - only 2.57 Euro! Changing that part is 10x more work, but still ... I didn't ask much after I heard that price :-)