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Dell Inspiron 1420


This is a guide to running Linux with the Dell Inspiron 1420 laptop.

This guide is intended to provide you details on how well this laptop works with Linux and which modules you need to configure. For details on how to actually install and configure the required modules have a look at our guides section for distribution specific instructions.

This page is just for discussing using Linux on the Dell Inspiron 1420. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the Dell Inspiron 1420 page on LapWik.

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For full specifications see the Dell Inspiron 1420 specifications page.

NameDell Inspiron 1420
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T7500 2.2GHz
Screen14.1“ WXGA+
Optical DriveDVD+-RW
GraphicsIntel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
Network10/100 Ethernet, Intel 3945 802.11g Wireless, Bluetooth
Other4 x USB2.0, 1 x Firewire

Linux Compatibility

Optical DriveYes
GraphicsYesSee notes below
SoundYesUse the snd-hda-intel module
WirelessYesUse the ipw3945 module
BluetoothNot Tested
56K ModemNot Tested
FirewireNot Tested
Card ReaderNot Tested


Dell have released a customised version of Ubuntu 7.04 designed for this laptop. You can find it here. Be careful with this though as certain configurations of the 1420 may not be fully supported (see the Dell page for details).

If you are about to buy the Inspiron 1420 laptop try to configure it with the Intel 3945 wireless controller rather than the Dell 1390. The former has much better drivers available.

The Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 in many models of the 1420 is not fully supported by most Linux distributions. Dell's version of Ubuntu (see above) does not have this issue and the upcoming Ubuntu 7.10 and Fedora 8 shouldn't have this issue either. In the standard Ubuntu 7.04 you need to use the xserver-xorg-video-intel driver. I will have a guide for other distributions hopefully in the next few days.

Some versions of this laptop have the Nvidia Geforce 8400M GS. This does not currently work with the open source 'nv' module so you will need to use the proprietary module. I do not know if Dell's Ubuntu distribution fixes this issue.


Thanks to Dell's commitment to Linux with the Inspiron 1420 this laptop works quite well with Linux. Of course the easiest install is to use Dell's remastered version of Ubuntu 7.04.


Douglas Walrath, 2016/01/03 10:30

i have an inspiron 1420 with ubuntu 14.04 installed and the card reader works just fine, mine didnt come with bluetooth and i dont have any idea how to make any modem work in linux so i couldnt test those, i also dont have a way to test the firewire but everything else works in a default install of ubuntu 14.04

Ikoo, 2015/05/21 13:52


hanim, 2009/12/25 14:54

hey. i've just installed ubuntu 9.1 in my dell inspiron 1420. but crap, my wireless connection could not been established. i had followed suggestion in ubuntu forum using ndiswrapper but still, couldn't work. if you guys had same problem as mine and you know how to solve, please just drop your suggestion here. many thanks!

Eric, 2009/08/13 13:34

Everything works on this (1420N) with Jaunty 9.04 - installed no problems, encrypted entire disk, works great!

Video effects also work although the video card is not up to the more advanced effects (they can run slowly). But basic transparency and shadows all look great.

Kadarman, 2009/08/13 03:14

Help me,

i need Driver for WIFI dell inspiron 1420.
i use Opensuse 11


DJ, 2009/06/18 01:45

Daniel Basaez,

You didn't tell what distro are you experiencing with? as I shared my experience earlier, I would also reccommend Linux Mint 6 or above, its really cool stuffs there, you would ever imagine that someting beyond your expectation

Daniel Basaez, 2009/06/17 18:51

I have a problem with my inspiron 1420, the first thing is that my Fn keys or Function keys don't work, the only one is the brightness key. and the other big things that i have no VGA out.
I have installed Debian 5.0…
please help me.

meg, 2011/01/24 22:38

you ever figure this out? same problem

Adyq, 2009/05/14 08:26

I install debian 4.0 on my dell,
but my ethernet was not detected
is it need driver??

DJ, 2009/02/25 11:34

YES! My Dell I1420 works well under Ubuntu remastering gOS, so sleek I am running on Hardy 8.04 normal release Kernel 2.6.24-23 Gnome 2.22.3.

I have no problem with all drivers. Wifi, Webcam, Modem, and Im using also 3G modem Sierra 881 USB for my mobile internet.

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dell_inspiron_1420.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/13 15:21 (external edit)
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