General questions about hardware under Linux/Unix. Use a more specific tag if applicable.

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54
votes
18answers
150k views

How do I find out what hard disks are in the system?

I need to know what hard disks are available, including ones that aren't mounted and possibly aren't formatted. I can't find them in dmesg or /var/log/messages (too much to scroll through). I'm hoping ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Why does Linux scale so well to different hardware platforms?

Why does Linux run well on so many different types of machines - desktops, laptops, servers, embedded devices, mobile phones, etc? Is it mainly because the system is open, so any part of it can be ...
14
votes
3answers
7k views

How can I reserve a block of memory from the Linux kernel?

I have a device that needs a block of memory that is reserved solely for it, without the OS intervening. Is there any way to tell BIOS or the OS that a block of memory is reserved, and it must not ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Getting information on a machine's hardware in Linux

How can I check what hardware I have? (With BIOS version etc.)
13
votes
1answer
5k views

How do you use badblocks?

I need to do a destructive (rw) test on a new drive, and a read-only on a drive that fell out of my RAID array. I want to see if it finds problems and how far along it is.
13
votes
3answers
3k views

How to detect memory type under Linux?

Which Linux utility can tell me if I have registered or unbuffered ECC memory in my server? Lshw and dmidecode do not work for me; dmidecode provides no information about registered vs. unbuffered: ...
11
votes
2answers
6k views

How to Determine the Amount of RAM Slots In Use?

I forgot how many RAM modules are installed on my laptop. I do not want to unscrew it but want to look it up on the console. How do I gather this information?
11
votes
2answers
801 views

How to measure light?

I've got a Dell Latitude E6410 notebook which changes lcd light intensity in response to ambient light levels, so it has to have some photocell. How can I access the data from this photocell? I tried ...
10
votes
4answers
16k views

No framebuffer device: how to enable it?

I'm trying to make a PCMCIA tuner card work in my headless home server, running Debian Squeeze. Now, as I have very big troubles finding the correct command line to capture, transcode end stream the ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Detecting headphone connection/disconnection in Linux

I am trying to detect a signal when a headphone is connected or disconnected from the system. What is the best way to do this? If there is a special board with drivers, that will be my preferred ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Stress testing SD cards using linux

I got into a little debate with someone yesterday regarding the logic and/or veracity of my answer here, vis., that logging and maintaining fs meta-data on a decent (GB+) sized SD card could never be ...
9
votes
4answers
764 views

How do I disable or change the caps lock key on my keyboard?

We have ergonomic keyboards at work which I'm not entirely used to. I seem to keep hitting the capslock key while I'm in vim and it's starting to annoy. How can I disable this key, and or change to to ...
9
votes
7answers
4k views

How to flash firmware under Linux in practice?

Well, I am feeling too old for jumping through several burning hoops to upgrade several firmwares via the usual vendor-specific way: Download some DOS tools, waste some time creating a (Free-)DOS boot ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Hard disk labels

How do I add a label to a partition on a disk, and how do I then mount it by label (manually and via fstab)? note: this is an external hard drive
8
votes
5answers
5k views

How to know if /dev/sdX is a connected USB or HDD?

How can I know if /dev/sdX is a local HDD or usb key ? best doing this without root privileges. OK , udevadm helped a lot: For local HDD: udevadm info --query=all --name=sdb | grep ID_BUS E: ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Serve files over USB

I would like to be able to serve a section of my box's file system over USB to another computer. For example, if the files are on box A and I am reading from box B, then B would mount A, see those ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I make my disk unmap pending unreadable sectors

I have a disk with some pending unreadable sectors, according to smartd. What would be the easiest way to make the disk remap them and stop smartd from complaining? Today, I get two of these every ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

How can I tell if my hard drive is PATA or SATA?

I have an ATA hard disk in my laptop, running Fedora 11, kernel 2.6.30.10-105.2.23.fc11.i586. I am looking to upgrade the disk in here (would love to get an SSD) but I forgot if it's a serial ATA or ...
8
votes
2answers
560 views

Any relatively new binary distro causes kernel panics

I'm having trouble using any relatively new binary distro on this machine. The last binary distro to work without issue was Ubuntu 8.04. I'm currently using Gentoo with the latest 3.2.1 kernel and ...
7
votes
5answers
505 views

Can I see what HDD I have installed? [duplicate]

I use lspci for pci devices and lsusb to list the usb hardware devices, is there something similar to list my SATA HDD model ?
7
votes
6answers
601 views

Linux Programmable Controller

I'm looking for a programmable Linux controller for home automation and general fun projects. Requirements: Controlling electric appliances - On/Off switches and dimmers (perhaps using relays) ...
7
votes
2answers
990 views

Overclocking tools in Linux

I am trying to overclock my machine. All the changes are made on the BIOS level, but then one needs to check all the temperatures, voltages, etc and test the stability of the overclock. Most tutorials ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

How to check which GPU is active

I have 2 GPU's in my netbook. How do I know which one I'm actually using at any given moment?
6
votes
1answer
226 views

Detecting computer models , e.g the vendor

How can I detect the model of a computer, like Leveno or Sony? Is there any program can do this, for both PC & Laptop? (I just want to load a specific driver when the target model is detected.) ...
6
votes
1answer
382 views

Linux kernel 2.6 on ARM

I have compiled and installed the 2.6 kernel on an ARM board. I am using the ARM mini2440 board. I would like to know if there is already a way to access the General Purpose I/O port pins? Or will ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Support for usb 3.0?

I could not seem to find the question here but I was wondering what experience if any users have had with USB 3.0? My asus p5x58d has usb 3 on it but I have yet to try it out and also do not know ...
6
votes
1answer
923 views

Get monitor make and model and other info in human readable form

I have extracted the shorthand version of the current monitor attached to the computer. Here is an example: vendor "VSC", prod id "18500" In Ubuntu's Monitor Preferences, it is identified as ...
6
votes
2answers
634 views

Information about a laptop fan

Can you help me with finding all the hardware information (parameters) and configuration files about the fan in my laptop? I'm interested of the fan's parameters and configuration files that I can ...
5
votes
4answers
528 views

generate consistent machine unique ID

Can we generate a unique id for each PC, something like uuuidgen, but it will never change unless there are hardware changes? I was thinking about merging CPUID and MACADDR and hash them to generate ...
5
votes
3answers
615 views

Are the major, minor number unique

Are the major, minor number Unique? Do we have any citations and reference to it? NAME MAJ:MIN RM SIZE RO MOUNTPOINT sda 8:0 0 465.8G 0 ├─sda1 8:1 0 298.2M 0 ├─sda2 8:2 0 ...
5
votes
3answers
955 views

Linux-compatible 56k modem

I have a client who wants to set up a fax server in their office. I'd like to use HylaFAX under Ubuntu, but I'm a little shy to spend money on hardware for Linux, particularly a modem given the whole ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

How can I find the hardware model in Linux?

I used a system information utility to take the model number of a system, and also of the motherboard. DMI System Manufacturer LENOVO DMI System Product 2306CTO DMI System Version ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I test hardware components to find out which one is bad?

Question How do I test hardware components to find out which one is bad? Details I have an old machine running debian as a file server using samba. The other day I was unable to login to my file ...
5
votes
3answers
407 views

File size of 60.0 PB is wrong. Can deleting it cause data loss?

While backing up some data (a 200 GB home directory) with rsync, I got an I/0 error for a particular file, after which rsync continued on "normally" with its backup. The problem source file showed as ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Is my USB 2.0 device running at full speed?

How can I tell if my USB flash drive is running at full USB 2.0 speed? Currently I'd just like to verify that the drive is plugged into a 480 Mbps port, but in the past I've been unsure if a given ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

My laptop cannot adjust brightness

I have a problem adjusting my laptop's brightness. This is a hardware problem but I can solve it with ccsm, but other programs do not work for me, e.g., xgamma, etc. Now I am running Fedora 15 and ...
5
votes
3answers
842 views

Why does one linux distro run hotter than another on laptop?

I had been using Arch Linux 64 bit on a Gateway P6860FX for about two years, and recently switched to Ubuntu (also 64 bit). When I type on the keyboard, my left hand feels a lot more warmth than ...
5
votes
2answers
709 views

External tablet input devices for Linux (Inkscape/Gimp)?

What are good external tablet input devices for Linux? It should be used for more convenient use of Inkscape and Gimp. Some characteristics that are useful, I guess: connected via USB included pen ...
5
votes
2answers
592 views

Linux Distro specifically for benchmarking?

At my current position, we use some outdated proprietary software in order to benchmark new computers that the company is testing and evaluating for purchase. We would like to move on to something ...
5
votes
3answers
215 views

How to check why the cdrom cannot be open exclusively

Sometimes when I try to burn an ISO image, the message that "/dev/sr0" cannot be open exclusively appears. lsof does not shows any program that opens "/dev/sr0" (I checked for aliases too).
5
votes
2answers
87 views

What is causing a pause during the system device probe?

I am running FreeBSD 10.0-RELEASE. During the boot device probe there is a two-times 30 second pause. The output relevant to this is # dmesg ... (aprobe0:ata0:0:1:0): ATAPI_IDENTIFY. ACB: a1 00 00 ...
4
votes
5answers
701 views

Small inexpensive *nix box?

I'd like to learn more about Unix & Linux and would like to set up a little home test server/ headless box. (I'm thinking of compiling from scratch, to learn how that works; either Gentoo Stage II ...
4
votes
3answers
336 views

When is it safe to disconnect my external HDD?

In Windows, there's an option to "safely remove hardware". Ignoring the fact that it almost always fails, and that most of the time I simply have to plug the device out, I get the initiative behind ...
4
votes
1answer
157 views

How are drivers for peripheral hardware installed in Linux?

I have acquired a new wireless keyboard, and I've tested it out on both a Windows and a Linux box. It worked on both, but with an initial difference - Windows took a minute or two, to look up the ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Remove a corrupted file in a Linux system

How to remove a file that is corrupted? In Linux (Fedora based), when I type: ls -l I get drwxr-xr-x. 2 dmiller3 dmiller3 4096 Jul 26 13:57 SomeFile ?????????? ? ? ? 4096 ...
4
votes
3answers
395 views

How to list all hardware supported by kernel

I want to see all hardware supported by the kernel in use. For example, if I have the 3.8.x.x version of the Linux kernel, how will I know what hardware is supported there. Tools like lspci, lshw, ...
4
votes
2answers
831 views

Run Python Portio script as normal user without root access

I know there are risks running a root script as a normal user, but in this case I don't have a choice and what I am doing is machine related. I have an Small Board Computer that has GPIO ports and I ...
4
votes
1answer
137 views

Cleanest way to use a smartphone as a conventional linux workstation

I have a GT-S5830 Samsung smartphone with Android 2.xxx, that I am not using as a phone. It would be nice if the device could be used as a wifi repeater. Unfortunately, this is impossible or not ...
4
votes
5answers
649 views

What can I use that is small, has linux, an ethernet port, and a hard drive?

I see that David Braben has created a $25 USB stick that can run linux. Check out the website at http://www.raspberrypi.org/ That's not available yet - so what's a low power *nix device that I can ...
4
votes
2answers
969 views

Can hardware be accessed directly from user space?

At work we have some embedded devices controlled by DOS software. I have been tasked with the responsibility of assessing the use of Linux as a replacement OS for DOS on a next generation of hardware. ...