Dell Inspiron 3531

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Reason: Misses a proper hardware and function key table (Discuss in Talk:Dell Inspiron 3531)

Installation

The only installation method possible on this computer is from a USB key. Create one following this page.

In the following the MBR booting mode is assumed (UEFI boot mode was not tested). To turn on the Legacy BIOS boot mode (aka MBR) in the BIOS menu, press F2 at startup. Set secure boot to off and set boot list order to legacy. Also change function keys from the multimedia mode.

Video

After the GRUB menu a first couple of lines are garbage. To remedy add to /etc/mkinitcpio.conf the line

/etc/mkinitcpio.conf
...
MODULES="i915"
...

and run

# mkinitcpio -p linux

Audio

Built-in microphone does not work out of the box. To enable, create a file /etc/modeprobe.d/modeprobe.conf with a line

/etc/modeprobe.d/modeprobe.conf
options snd-hda-intel model=laptop

and unmute microphones in alsamixer (press M on devices with an MM annotation).

Backlight (and XFCE)

For those with sensitive eyes the default handling of backlight in XFCE can be troublesome. The range of the intel_backlight on this laptop is 7812 steps, however xfce4-power-manager uses only hardcoded 10 steps what might be too coarse. Adding

acpi_backlight=vendor 

to the kernel parameters creates /sys/class/backlight/dell_backlight/ with max_brightness=15, and power-manager now steps with 20% of it (3 points), which may also be suboptimal.

The usual workaround to assign commands xbacklight +5 and xbacklight -5 to the function keys Fn+F5/F4 (using Settings->Keyboard) to finer-grained control does not solve the problem, because the power manager intercepts keystrokes. Disabling the brightness keys in the power manager AND enabling the above keyboard shortcuts somehow works (decreasing brightness and increasing it again does not always give you the same number). Test it to see if you are fine with such a behavior.

Finest grained control of the backlight can be achieved with the direct setting

# echo 100 | tee /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/brightness

(change 100 to your number of choice). To complicate things even more, this value is not saved after reboot if it is less than 390, because systemd is hardcoded to have at least 5% of max_brightness at start-up. If your favorite brightness is below 390, the only way is to run this number on every boot.