Toshiba Satellite P500-ST2G02

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This is a tutorial on how to install and configure Arch Linux on a Toshiba Satellite P500 Laptop.


Custom configuration, purchased on 11/29/2010 from Toshiba Direct:

  • Intel® Core™ i5-460M processor
  • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • 4GB DDR3 1066MHz memory
  • 500GB HDD (7200rpm)
  • 1GB GDDR3 NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 330M
  • 18.4" screen

Removing Windows

I was thinking of keeping Windows in its own partition, but I had trouble with repartitioning the hard disk. Since I don't really use Windows, I ended up deleting all Windows and Toshiba Restore partitions. For some reason cfdisk (my tool of choice) didn't work here, so I had to use fdisk to do that.

Arch Installation

Both Arch 32 and Arch 64 install flawlessly on the laptop. For compatibility reasons, I decided to go with Arch 32, given that I had to later recompile the kernel with PAE option turned on, in order to access 4GB of RAM.

Install an AUR package manager

First I installed yaourt:

# vim /etc/pacman.conf

Add the following repository:

Server =$arch
# pacman -Syu
# pacman -S yaourt

Install the Realtek wireless card driver

The wireles card does not work out of the box, so I had to install the rtl8192se driver from AUR. Note that my card model is 8172, but it does seem to work fine with the 8192se driver.

$ yaourt -S rtl8192se

Install networkmanager after that. I personally prefer wicd, but apparently it doesn't work well with the Realtek 8192 driver.

# pacman -S networkmanager network-manager-applet

Add networkmanager to your DAEMONS in /etc/rc.conf. See bellow for an example of my rc.conf.

Install NVIDIA driver

# pacman -S nvidia

This also adds the proper xorg configuration. X starts and works fine right out of the box. It works in 1680x945 right away - no issues here.

Install the Synaptic driver

The mouse pad works, but it has issues. You need to install Synaptic:

# pacman -S xf86-input-synaptic

Setup permissions

In order to use everything your user must be added to several groups

# gpasswd -a $USER wheel
# gpasswd -a $USER network
# gpasswd -a $USER video
# gpasswd -a $USER audio
# gpasswd -a $USER optical
# gpasswd -a $USER storage
# gpasswd -a $USER scanner
# gpasswd -a $USER power


I use Gnome, so in order to get everything on your computer accessible to you, you need to execute Gnome with ck-launch-session:


exec ck-launch-session gnome-session

Laptop Mode Tools

I installed laptop-mode-tools, but it didn't seem to improve anything so I disabled it. The battery life of this laptop is less than an hour and there is not much you can do. I use the laptop as a replacement for a desktop computer, so it's always plugged in.

Multimedia Buttons

The volume buttons work out of the box. I am, however, slightly annoyed with them, because they are a little too close to the keyboard and can be accidentally pressed when typing. I'm trying to find how to disable them.

Compiling the kernel with PAE included

If you chose to install Arch 86_64, you can skip this section. This is only for those who installed Arch 32 and would like to access more than 3GB of RAM.

You have two options:

  1. Install kernel26-pae from AUR
  2. Recompile the current Arch kernel to turn on the PAE option

I chose to recompile the kernel, which also gave me the opportunity to remove some modules I won't use.

Install the PAE kernel from AUR

If you chose to install the PAE kernel from AUR:

 # yaourt -S kernel26-pae
 # yaourt -S nvidia-pae

It will take about an hour for the kernel to compile.

Recompile the current kernel

I compiled the kernel from ABS. Besides turning on PAE, I also did the following changes to my kernel:

  1. Removed bluetooth and infrared support (my laptop came w/o any of that)
  2. Removed ATA support
  3. Removed tablet, touch screen and others
  4. Changed the CPU type to Core 2/Newer Xenon

After you log in to the new kernel, you will have to recompile the nvidia package too

My /etc/rc.conf

Here is what my /etc/rc.conf looks like:

MODULES=(!btusb !bluetooth !toshiba_bluetooth !joydev)
INTERFACES=(!eth0 !wlan0)
gateway="default gw"
DAEMONS=(syslog-ng dbus networkmanager hal !network !netfs @openntpd @crond @alsa !laptop-mode)