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community support pages

Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I give or get an XO laptop?
  2. How do I get started? Where are the manual and best learning materials?
  3. What's the latest software release?
  4. How can I obtain 100+ laptops? Enlist my entire school?
  5. Does my laptop come with a hand crank? Solar panels? Can the XO be used Off Grid?
  6. How do I save or retrieve files from a USB drive or SD (Secure Digital) card?
  7. How can I access the Internet?
  8. How do I change my XO's Nickname? The color of my XO person's icon?
  9. Why does my screen not turn on?
  10. Why are my touchpad and keyboard freezing?

FAQ Knowledge Base

Contents

Donor Inquiries

Can I give or get an XO laptop?

While OLPC's Give One, Get One campaigns are no longer running since 2008, UnleashKids.org's volunteers will be running similar/smaller XO-1 and XO-4 Touch Laptop community kit distributions starting later this summer 2013.

Consider also the following alternatives:

  1. Buy an Android-based XO Tablet at Walmart USA, Target or Amazon starting Aug 1, 2013. Note this community volunteer-driven Support FAQ document upholds the global open education work around OLPC's original XO-1, XO-1.5, XO-1.75 and XO-4 Touch Laptops. The new XO Tablet is very different, and does not work with the Sugar Learning Platform at this time. If you have purchased an XO Tablet, customer service occurs occurs via the store where you bought it, and tech support occurs via http://xotablet.com/support, Thanks!
  2. Participate in the OLPC project without an XO laptop using emulation eg. virtual machine images.
  3. Join or organize local grassroots groups so your community can become involved, and write to: volunteer @ laptop.org
  4. Apply for a free XO Laptop if you're creating a community project around Software Activities, Learning Content and/or Capacity-Building Know-How, sharing with kids around the world.
  5. Purchase a used XO Laptop on eBay or other websites.
  6. Borrow a laptop from a volunteer-run XO Laptop Lending Library.
  7. Make a donation to OLPC.
  8. Donate your old XO laptop to OLPC for Haiti or another community project.
  9. If you are working towards a larger-scale or governmental educational effort, please read "Buying XOs" before contacting <countries @ laptop.org>

Where did my "Give One" XO laptop go?

Ulaanbaatar

The generous G1G1 donors of North America have given of tens of thousands of XO laptops to children in developing countries, including these new XOers in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (Photo by Carla Gomez Monroy, Learning Consultant, OLPC, 17 Jan 2008) 07-2

About 10,000 XO laptops each were prepared for Haiti, Rwanda and Mongolia, expanding on the Mongolian deployment which began on a smaller scale in January 2008. Further details of the Give1Get1 program's matching donations (eg. Afghanistan and Cambodia anticipated) should be added here in future.

Official details are hard to come by in some cases. More broadly, here is a summary chart of OLPC's Deployments and a map of its overall deployment communities, with many photos/videos and blogs emerging so many years later.

Can I donate directly to OLPC and others helping XO laptop efforts?

Yes, you may donate here. Others directly supporting XO implementations may be supported here.

How can I donate my "Get One" XO?

Thank you very much for donating your XO laptop!

Please choose from this great list of independent projects and ship your laptop directly: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Donate_Your_Get_One

All of our volunteers are passionate about placing XOs where they will be used. OLPC cannot endorse any one recipient group.

You could also consider donating to local groups in your neighborhood, needy schools in your region, or even international programs.

Finally, we encourage you to re-donate your laptop through OLPC so that we can send it to an active school or research project that needs laptops or spare parts. Volunteers do their best to repair, refurbish and update your XO even if it is broken, and pass it along to a contributor who will greatly appreciate it!

Unfortunately, OLPC is unable to provide donation receipts for tax purposes. Thank you for taking the time to send us your XO!

How can I obtain 100+ laptops? Enlist my entire school?

If you are working towards a larger-scale or governmental educational effort, please read "Buying XOs" before contacting <countries @ laptop.org>

For smaller rollouts, please invest in getting to know others in your area by posting to our community map! Also study this great informal list of community deployment resources. Preparation is crucial--strongly consider joining our community support team and collaborating with local groups. While OLPC doesn't have a formal mechanism for setting up smaller trials, immediate peer feedback on school pilot projects is often available in our Live Chat (IRC) channels such as #olpc-help and #olpc. Once you have a thoughtful plan and team in place, you can contact community support volunteers at volunteer @ laptop.org, who'd be happy sharing their own similar experiences.

We strongly encourage everyone to join our Unleash Kids mailing list if you can help review or co-mentor others' independent projects & sustainable grassroots planning!

Such innovative projects demonstrating clear community deliverables (software, hardware, learning content, etc) may be eligible for free XO Laptops through our Contributors Program.

What Microsoft agreement was announced on May 15th 2008?

In May 2008, OLPC announced that Microsoft was purchasing a limited number of machines for their Unlimited Potential program to run Windows XP for pilot programs. However, OLPC does not currently offer Microsoft Windows to Give1Get1 participants. The XO laptop features the Linux operating system and the Sugar learning environment, including software specifically designed for children and the XO. Microsoft Word™ documents can be opened directly using some of the software and content created by thousands of volunteers around the world.

For more information on the Microsoft announcement, see the Microsoft FAQ summary answers.

What is OLPC's tax exempt info?

One Laptop per Child Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization in the USA.

Our EIN (Employer ID Number) is: 20-5471780.

If you make a donation and your company has a matching gift program, please see if they would be willing to match your gift to us.

Where is my "Get One" XO laptop from 2007?

If you believe you ordered an XO laptop between Nov 12, 2007 and Dec 31, 2007, and have yet to receive it -- please email help @ laptop.org with:

  1. your 10-digit reference number (order number)
  2. the exact amount you paid
  3. the exact date you ordered or paid
  4. your original email address used to place your order
  5. the precise spelling of the person's name who ordered
  6. your up-to-date US or Canadian shipping address (sorry PO Boxes don't work!)
  7. your daytime/evening phone number(s)

Thanks!

Historical Information: the G1G1 Fulfillment Information page outlines some past problems with the Give1Get1 shipping and ordering process, dating from back in late 2007 and early 2008, which have now been resolved.


Getting Started, Laptop Settings

Where do I get support?

Click Support.Laptop.Org for

  • an extensive list of documentation
  • live chat support
  • interactive web forums
  • regional user groups
  • repair options

Please consider joining an One Laptop per Child (OLPC) real-live community!

How do I get started? Where are the manual and best learning materials?

Figuring out the XO in Mongolia

OLPC encourages kids to discover/learn things by themselves (Constructionism), as well as to conserve our forests.

Balancing these goals, volunteers have created many great manuals, similar to the Help Activity (included by default in recent releases). Versions of this 240-page manual are available online or in downloadable format(4.7MB), or purchased in book form ($17).

The "XO Laptop in the Classroom" book by Sdenka Salas in Peru is excellent in both the original Spanish (6.7MB) and in English (5.5MB). This 100+ page book is highly recommended for teachers. See also this colorful 48-page Uruguayan guide (2.5MB) and new 31-page Spanish starter guide (15MB). Additionally, there are excellent websites, manual and teacher topic guides for the OLPC Peru deployment. An auto-translated Spanish manual and hand-translated Spanish manual are also underway. For other resources from deployments across Latin America and other Spanish speaking contributors, see Recursos en espanol and the new P+F FAQ.

A French translation was released in June 2009.

For earlier versions (2007/2008 software), consider upgrading to the latest stable release! Otherwise, learn here about your XO laptop and what it can do, or download the older Getting Started Guide pdf (17.5MB), or for a snappy introduction to the earlier software, see the volunteer-created Simplified user guide.

You too can help enhance our many community manuals such as our "Class Acts" story archive!

Can I print from the XO laptop?

For the first shipment of XOs in December 2007, there was no built-in Printer Support.

Documents can be saved to a USB drive or SD card and printed from another computer. Click on the general steps for saving a document here.

How do I access a Linux command prompt?

For a Linux command prompt, run the "Terminal Activity".

What does "Register" (in Home view) do?

"Register" allows children to connect to a School Server, and serves no function for G1G1 XOs that are not used in a school with a "school server."

See School Identity Manager for more explanation. After a child uses the Register function once at his/her school, this line disappears from the Home view.

Why is there no windowing system? How do I learn the XO Sugar Environment?

One Laptop per Child's XO software environment uses the Sugar graphical user interface on top of the Linux operating system. This environment is new and different from traditional PCs and Macs. We hope you will not only "learn by doing", but also seek out others to collaborate with you in the learning process— taking the initiative to join/form users groups both online and in the real world. If you have ideas for other ways we can promote OLPC's worldwide learning community, please let us know.

How do I change my XO's Nickname? The color of my XO Person's icon?

If you are hopefully running a recent software release, you should hover your cursor over your home view XO Person and click on the Control Panel option. Click on "About Me" and change your nickname and color as you see fit (to see more color options, click on the colored XO person). Any changes on this page will require you to restart your computer.

If, however, you are running our older 2007/2008 software nicknames and other options can be changed using the Terminal Activity's text-based Sugar Control Panel.

The hardware XO Person's colors are selected at random to keep costs down for kids in the 3rd World and help them distinguish their own XO Laptop! Of course, you can change your colors with your own materials if you very carefully follow these disassembly instructions.

How do I set the date, time and timezone on my laptop?

If you are hopefully running a recent software release, you should hover your cursor over your home view XO man and click on the Control Panel option. Click on "Date and Time" and change your timezone as you see fit (UTC is Greenwich Mean Time). Any changes on this page will require you to restart your computer.

If, however, you are running our older 2007/2008 software date and time can be changed using the Terminal Activity's text-based Sugar Control Panel. You may set the date and time as follows:

  1. Connect to the Internet. (For details, see How can I access the Internet? )
  2. Open a Linux prompt. (For details, see How do I access a Linux command prompt? Note: unless you are an advanced user, you should use the Terminal Activity button to open the prompt.)
  3. Login as "root". Assuming you are using the Terminal Activity program, you can login as root by typing "su -" at the command prompt and pressing the Enter key. Note that as user "root" you have the ability to destroy all software on the XO, so you should end your session as soon as you successfully change the date and time.
  4. At the command prompt, enter the following commands:
    /usr/sbin/ntpdate time.nist.gov
    /usr/sbin/hwclock --systohc
  5. Press the Enter key after each command. In response to the ntpdate command, if it successfully contacts this US government official time server, the system will output a line of data displaying the correct date and time.
  6. Click the "Stop" icon at the upper right corner of the screen to log out and close the Terminal Activity program.

How do I disable the bootup sound?

Turn the volume down while the laptop is booting (i.e. before getting into Sugar).

Keyboard, Languages

What are the functions of all the keys on the keyboard?

The XO Keyboard has a number of special keys and keycap symbols. See Keyboard Shortcuts.

Can I type languages other than English?

Yes, you can enter letters from non-English languages.

Can I switch my keyboard to Dvorak layout?

Yes, please see Switching to Dvorak.

Internet, Connectivity, Email, Chat

How can I access the Internet?

The XO Laptop Manual has a helpful chapter:

When using Sugar, see Connecting to the Internet page on the Sugar Labs Wiki.

When using Gnome, click on the network icon on the top right of the screen and select your wireless network.

Our Wifi Troubleshooting Guide provides tips to connect to different access points, including a February 2014 fix for a bug that prevented XOs from using wireless, particularly with many XO-1s nearby.

For setting up a wireless network for XO laptops, see Wifi Connectivity.

I am on Google, but the browser then tells me "search failed"!

When the Browse activity is launched, it displays a page with a Google logo and a search box. This page is stored locally in the XO, and it does not indicate that the XO is connected to the Internet. Please check How can I access the Internet for how to connect to the Internet.

Can I use a wired Ethernet connection?

Yes, you can connect to a wired Internet connection by using a USB-to-Ethernet adapter.

Note: XO laptops were intentionally designed for children in developing nations where it is faster and less expensive to introduce wireless connections, rather than a traditional telecom infrastructure.

How do I disable wireless when flying?

Right-click over the XO icon in the centre of the screen, then select My Settings, then Network, and untick the Radio box.

Can XO laptops share an Internet connection?

Yes, XO laptops can share an internet connection using a wireless network if an access point or school server is available.

No, XO laptops cannot share an internet connection from one XO to the other.

What exactly is a mesh network?

An ad-hoc network is a feature of Sugar that allows nearby XO laptops to collaborate among themselves without needing internet service.

The mesh network was a feature of XO-1 laptops that did the same, but also allowed the laptop to act as a relay for other laptops. This feature made very small rural deployments practical. The idea was that the laptops do the heavy lifting, rather than the traditional hierarchy of equipment. It was never fully built, but the laptop to laptop sharing remains.

Is there an email program?

If you have a gmail account, you can use the Gmail activity to access your email.

For other e-mail accounts, you can use Browse to access web-based email programs.

Can I install Other software, like Flash, Java, AIM, MSN Messenger, or Skype?

Most Other software is not supported by OLPC. Some software is Free and Open Source Software and supported by its own User Community. Other software does not meet the OLPC standard of Software Freedom.

Still, there are community efforts to enable popular packages like Skype calling on the XO. Proceed at your own risk, making sure to set the sound device in the options menu, if you follow the unsupported installation instructions. For video with sound, follow the 'gstfakevideo' instructions at the bottom of that page.


File Access

How do I save a file?

The XO automatically saves your work in the Journal Activity, accessed from the Home View(in either generation of XO) or in the Frame(in the newest Release 8.2.0). Click the notebook icon just below the XO character or in the Frame to open the Journal and find the activity or file you need.

For more information about the Journal, see OLPC Human Interface Guidelines/The Laptop Experience/The Journal.

How do I load a file on the disk into the Browser?

Open the Browse activity. In a window in the middle of the top of the Browser page you will see the words OLPC Library. Click on that and you will see the url: file:///home/olpc/.library_pages/search/bundle__index.html in the window and the contents of the file: .library_pages/search/bundle_index.html will be loaded in the browser. If you replace that filename in the window with the name of the file you want to load, and have it display, let us say: file:///home/olpc/upload-file.html and click on the window the file upload-file.html will be loaded from your home directory into the Browser.

How do I save or retrieve files from a USB drive or SD (Secure Digital) card?

Please see the complete instructions for using a USB Drive (sometimes known as a flash drive or USB key).

How do I delete a file?

Go to the Journal view, which you can access from the Home Viewor in the Frame. Select the notebook icon to open the Journal.

Find the file to be deleted by scrolling up and down the list.

On newer software releases since 2008's Release 8.2.0, hover your cursor over the icon for that file, and choose the erase option.

On versions prior to 2008's Release 8.2.0, move the cursor over the file to be deleted and press to select and open a preview of the file. Press the minus sign at the top of the screen to delete the file.

How do I play sound files?

New instructions for getting MP3 audio to work in Sugar and Gnome were published in April 2011. (MP3 playing does not work out of the box since this format has some remaining legal/patent issues)

In release 8.1.0 and later builds, Browse can play Ogg audio and video files using the Totem plugin. The Etoys activity can play MP3 and Ogg files. After finding such a file in the Journal, click the far right icon (a square in a gray disc) to start Etoys or Browse to play it.

To play sound files, you can also try the Watch and Listen activity, a Media Player based on the Helix project. When on the Journal entry for a sound file, click in the middle of the entry, to show the details. On that page, hover the mouse over the square-in-disc icon in the upper right corner of the screen. It should say "Resume", and list the possible activities that you can resume this file with. Click on Watch&Listen. Check for supported codecs you may need to download, if you require proprietary formats.

General Activity/Interface Questions

How do I close an Activity (program)?

Most activities have an "Activity" tab with a close button found at the top right of the display; select the close tab and press to close the activity.

For most activities, the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl-q or Ctrl-Esc can also close the activity (Esc is the key).

Alternatively, return to the Home view by pressing the "Home" key . Hover the cursor over the activity icon to bring up a menu; press "Stop" to end the activity. One the newest Release 8.2.0 you can engage the Frame by pressing the open box key in the top right-hand corner and hover your cursor over the icon in the Frame and press "Stop" to the end the activity.

How do I download and run Activities (programs)?

There are many Activities the community has developed for download. From the Browser activity on the XO laptop, go to Activities and click on the .xo file within to download and install the activity to your laptop. When it is finished installing, click OK. Press the Home key Image:Home_key_f3_small.png to see the icon.

In the newest Release 8.2.0 (2008/2009 G1G1) locate the icon in the ring on the home page. You can also click on "Show In Journal" and click the "Start" button (the one with the arrow in it) in the Frame.

In versions older than Release 8.2.0 (2007/2008 G1G1) scroll the taskbar to the right (by clicking on the arrow ) until you see the icon for the activity; click on it to start.

All activities on the laptop have been developed in the open-source community by volunteers. OLPC encourages all laptop owners to contribute to this effort.

Is Internet required, or are Activities included?

The XO laptop does not require Internet access to be used. The XO laptop comes with more than 20 Activities (programs) and many more are freely downloadable. See this page for a quick introduction to introduction to pre-loaded Activities on the XO laptop.

After working properly for a while, activities won't load

There is a known bug in build 650 (the software build shipped in early Give1Get1 laptops late in 2007, and very early in 2008) which can result in activities working fine the first few times they are loaded; but on subsequent boots, the activities may not load.

Please install 2012's Release 12.1.0 or the latest OS build.

How do I use the Camera?

The Camera can be used with the Record Activity.

How do I take a screenshot?

Press Alt-1 at the same time. Go to the Journal. The screenshot should be the first item in the Journal. You can then copy the screenshot to the clipboard and open it with the Browse, Paint, or Etoys activity, or drag it onto an inserted USB flash drive for transporting it to another computer.

This quick screenshot hack also makes it easier to capture and upload multiple screenshots to a web server.

Specific Activity Questions

If you are interested in a particular activity, you may go to Activities and click on the link right next to the activity icon. This will point you to the documentation of the activity, which is maintained by the author(s).

Read: I can't find the icon for Read Activity. How do I read PDF files?

The Read activity icon automatically loads when you click on a .pdf file, either through the web browser (Browse Activity) or from a USB stick (Journal Activity). If it does not show up on your Home view and you would like it: First, look in the Activity List (from Home view click the List view icon in the top right corner of the screen. Scroll down the list until you see the Read Activity. Highlight the star next to it, and click the Favorites view. The icon will now show up on the Home view. If Read does not appear in the Activity list, then you can download it from the Sugar Activity page here: http://activities.sugarlabs.org/en-US/sugar/addon/4028

Browse: How do I bookmark a website and browse it later?

Click the star (☆) in the upper-right corner to bookmark the website. The website will be saved in the Journal Activity for future use.

Browse: How can I protect my children from objectionable content?

If you would not allow your children to have access to the Internet from a PC, then carefully consider giving them access to the Internet with the XO laptop. If you feel reasonably safe accessing the Internet with a PC, then you can feel reasonably safe accessing the Internet with the XO.

The best thing you can do to keep your children safe is to participate in their education. For example, explain to them the kinds of threats they may encounter online and appropriate behavior, don't give out personal information such as an address, phone number, etc. over the Internet.

The ultimate responsibility for children's net-safety lies with the adults who are supervising them. Know where your child or student is online. Don't be afraid to pop in and have a look at what they are doing from time to time. Don't threaten... just be sure they know the dangers and that you really care about them and their safety. Encourage their use of sites you know are safe and have intrinsic value, especially those that are fun and encourage creative thinking.

Finally, there are possible 3rd party solutions, such as http://DansGuardian.org, emerging as part of One Laptop per Child's Uruguay rollout. OLPC is also exploring options for future client-side filtering.

Activity Development

How do I begin to write programs for the XO laptop?

You can find information on how to create your own programs for the XO at Getting started programming.

For those already familiar with both linux and python, the Activity tutorial is a step-by-step guide to building a Sugar activity.

More recently the Make Your Own Sugar Activities offers a great starter guide, alongside the tried and true Sugar Almanac and 2008's Activity Handbook.

Power Generation, Power Management, Battery Issues

Does my laptop come with a hand crank? Solar panels? Can the XO be used Off Grid?

The Get One XO does not ship with any human powered device or solar panel, which are designed to support the XO laptops shipped to developing countries.

Even without these accessories the XO is a Green Machine suitable for Off Grid and fluctuating power areas.

Future peripheral availability is discussed on the Product News page.

What kinds of power sources can I use with the XO laptop?

See also Does my laptop come with a hand crank? Solar panels? Can the XO be used Off Grid?

In addition to plugging the laptop into an electrical outlet (110-240 volts AC), the XO laptop can take a DC input ranging from 11 volts to 18 volts, a range that’s far more flexible than most portable devices. The XO laptop is remarkably energy efficient, generally using only 5-10 percent of the average wattage of a standard laptop.

See our overall discussion of Battery and power requirements. For more formal specs, see XO-1 Hardware specifications.

How long does the battery last?

Battery life is approximately 3 to 6 hours, depending on which Activities are used. Battery life may be increased to 10 hours or longer with future software release.

How do I power off the XO laptop?

From the Home View, move the pointer over the XO symbol at the center of your screen, and click "Shutdown."

Or press the power button twice if you have recent software, whereupon you will see a "stop sign" on the screen as a proper shutdown begins.

Holding the power button for 10 seconds is not recommended (until the green power light goes off) but is a measure of last resort.

How do I put an XO laptop to sleep?

Releases since 8.2.0 in 2008/2009 should support suspend/resume sleep features for improved battery life.

The sleep feature was not enabled in early software provided on XOs shipped starting December 2007 during the first Give1Get1 program.

My XO laptop won't power on

Make sure you are powering up correctly: http://laptop.org/manual/XO_Starting.html

Carefully read the power/battery issues at: http://laptop.org/start/troubleshooting.shtml and Troubleshooting Guide

Ensure the battery is properly inserted and the power adapter is plugged into the XO laptop and the electrical outlet.

If both the battery and power lights are on (just below your screen, to the right),

and the laptop won't start when the power button is pushed, this may indicate a minor problem with the embedded controller (EC). Remove all power sources (by taking the battery out and removing the power adapter), then wait 10 seconds to allow it to reset; and finally reconnect and power up your XO laptop. Confirm your laptop turns on and boots. If your XO laptop does not turn on or boot, it may be damaged.

If your XO laptop was damaged on receipt, contact Amazon.com within 30 days, to exchange it.

My XO won't power off: "Unexpected Signal 15"

When shutting down or restarting, if you see the "unexpected signal 15" error and your unit does not go to the pictogram warnings as expected, press the ctrl, alt and F4 keys at the same time. This will display a pictogram warning, and your unit will now shutdown or restart properly.

This is a known issue in release 8.2.0, see ticket #7531 and ticket #7812.

Is my battery OK? Why does it say "discharging" when plugged in?

The majority of initial battery issues were not in fact hardware problems, but rather software problems. This is because December 2007's Build 650 had a couple bugs which commonly lead to false reporting in the Home view, as to the actual amount of battery life.

These software bugs (#4208, #4401) were largely fixed in late 2008, for the 8.2.x software releases.

If however your battery does not retain any charge at all, and you are within the 30-day Give1Get1 warranty, consider applying for an return/exchange.

Many non-BYD batteries can also be repaired, using the following Battery Troubleshooting Process.

But if it's a BYD battery (yellow label) and it won't charge then it's almost certainly the "charge balance" issue -- in which case, diagnostic and recovery info can be found here: XO LiFePO4 Recovery Procedure. (olpc-pwr-log is the successor to olpc-logbat for generating battery-diagnostic logs, and should be included in the 8.2.x release. Users of older builds should download and run olpc-pwr-log rather than olpc-logbat. Although much of the info is the same.)

Finally, note that new batteries are for sale for about $25, from spare parts vendors and some of the many community repair repairs.

Software Update, Restore to Factory Default

What's the latest software release?

The table on the right shows the latest software release for the OLPC XO.


Be prepared to lose all data—Give1Get1 users are encouraged to upgrade to 2012's Release 12.1.0. Your XO-1 laptop from 2007/2008 will powerfully benefit, with half a decade of software improvements, and the inclusion of the Gnome graphical user interface for older kids. The installation procedure is fast (less than 10 min, after you take the time to download the correct 2 files to most any USB memory stick) and will reflash your XO laptop's entire "disk image" including the Fedora 17 operating system and a modern Sugar Learning environment. Again, back up all critical files to a USB memory stick!

2013's latest 13.x.x releases are currently a bit slow on XO-1 laptops, but advanced users might want to try its more advance features nonetheless. Certainly, users of OLPC's faster/newer XO-1.5, XO-1.75 and XO-4 Touch laptops are strongly encouraged to upgrade to 2013's latest Release 13.

Other options: while Sugar-on-a-Stick by Sugar Labs isn't the most suitable for XO hardware, Dextrose by Activity Central seems increasingly solid and is definitely worth experimenting with.

What were the past releases?

OLPC's Software Releases from 2007 to 2013 are compiled in this comprehensive table. These software environments include the operating system and built-in Sugar Activities. Here is a bit more detail on the most popular Give1Get1 releases from 2007/2008:

Software "Release 8.2.0" (Build 767) and Build 656 shipped on Give1Get1 laptops in November and December of 2008.

Software "Build 656" (Ship.2.2, retroactively named Release 7.1.2) shipped on most Give1Get1 laptops in March 2008.
Software "Build 653" (Ship.2.1, retroactively named Release 7.1.1) shipped on most Give1Get1 laptops in January and February of 2008.
Software "Build 650" (Ship.2, retroactively named Release 7.1.0) shipped on most Give1Get1 laptops in December 2007.

What software release am I running?

Please see How to check the OS and firmware versions. We encourage you to upgrade to the latest software here.

How can I restore my Give1Get1 XO to its factory configuration?

Be prepared to lose all data—Give1Get1 users are encouraged to install 2012's Release 12.1.0. Your XO-1 laptop from 2007/2008 will powerfully benefit, with half a decade of software improvements. The procedure will reflash its entire "disk image" including the Fedora 17 operating system and a modern Sugar Learning environment.

2013's latest 13.x.x releases are currently a bit slow on XO-1 laptops, but advanced users might want to try its more advance features nonetheless.

The clean-install procedures above are strongly recommended. If however you have "upgraded" the software on your laptop, and things have gone wrong, you may try the recover process: power off your XO, press and hold the 'O' game pad key, then power-on. This should boot from an alternate "disk image" (the one shipped with the machine).

In general, if you see a "Bad hash at eblock #0" message while performing a clean install, this indicates the image on the USB flash drive is bad. Download the image again, or try a different USB device. Avoid certain brands of USB flash drives that still have a few compatibility kinks we're working on.

Finally, for advanced users only—be prepared to lose all data—consider installing the highly experimental "Sugar on a Stick" onto your XO-1.

How do I update/upgrade my laptop? Opt out?

The "factory" clean-install procedure above is strongly recommended. Currently two methods for Upgrading the XO are available: online and offline.

To opt out of updates/upgrades to your XO, which may occur automatically over the Internet for critical fixes, please see the Update streams page.

(XO Software Release 8.2.0 Release Notes include concise instructions for October 2008's release, shipped to 2008 G1G1 supporters.)

How do I install a custom suite of Activities on every XO in a small deployment?

Let's say you want to add a few Sugar Activities and make a new software build, that can be easily installed in-country on each XO laptop in a small deployment. In the past (Release 11.3.1 and other releases prior to 2012) this was as easy as dropping the Activities into the "bundles" folder of a USB Customization Stick.

However there's good news in 2013: James Cameron has provided a great new recipe for microdeployments. Please consider joining the Unleash Kids and Support Gang mailing lists if you want to work with other volunteers doing the same!

After I upgrade my XO it says "Invalid System Date" and won't reboot

If you did a clean install and saw the error message "Invalid System Date" right before your XO was unsuccessful in rebooting, you have one of two options.

The first option is to continue to try to reboot, sometimes leaving the machine for a while before trying again. Sometimes the problem resolves itself and boots up just fine, like nothing was amiss.

The second option is to look over the Fix Clock wiki and read through the problem and repair options there. This is a fairly technical process, and hopefully the first option above fixes the issue.

If you continue to struggle with this problem, email support at HELP @ LAPTOP.ORG

How do I recover from a "Disk Full" error?

There are some situations—such as recovering from the "Disk Full" error—that may require you to reflash your XO laptop.

How do I run unofficial/unsigned builds & firmware?

For the XO-1 laptop, download a "Developer Key". Please follow the semi-automated process outlined at Activation and Developer Keys. It has a 24-hour delay due to the antitheft system.

Note: XO-1.5, XO-1.75 and XO-4 laptops are almost all arrive from the factory unlocked, so there is no need a Developer Key.

Where do I get Support for Fedora?

While Linux Fedora is not itself supported by OLPC, outside of our Sugar learning environment, here are some great resources to check out including forums and irc-based Live Chat:

http://fedorafaq.org
http://fedoraforum.org
http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Communicate

Disk, Storage Device, Backing Up

How much memory/disk is built in?

The XO-1 laptop has 256MB of dynamic RAM memory, as well as 1024MB (1GB) of flash memory.

Note: The flash memory acts as the hard disk. Original specifications are outlined here.

How should I use the SD card slot?

The SD card slot is hidden on the edge of the unit under the power button. It is not intended for casual use, but intended for (semi)permanent augmentation of flash storage on the system. To try to keep water and dust out of the main unit, it has a rubber seal that makes it difficult to extract the SD card.

As a result, we recommend using the USB ports for casual transient storage expansion or moving files from computer to computer.

You can install the XO software on an SD card to provide much more space for files and programs. This is much easier with the F11 release than with earlier one. Here is a journal of how one user did so: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:SDGathman#Running_XO-1_from_an_SDHC_Card

How do I backup my XO?

See Backup.

Hardware Repairs, Returns

My XO laptop won't play sound

Go to our wiki page about troubleshooting any Sound issues you are experiencing with your XO unit.

Why does my screen not turn on?

Certain laptops from 2007 may become "bricked" in isolated circumstances. Please contact a mail-order community repair center and/or try to fix it yourself if you have "garage electronics" skills, using the correct serial adapter. Clean-installing all new software is a very good idea once debricking is complete.

Another possible reason your screen does not turn on: the video cable to your screen might have become loose or out-of-alignment: disassembly instructions may be useful if so.

IN GENERAL, those acquiring old XO laptops should work through this most comprehensive refurbishing & reuse checklist.

My screen has a couple discolored pixels

We regret that our warranty does not provide for replacement laptops in this case, where just a few pixels are imperfect, in keeping with One Laptop per Child's mission to build the best all-around low-cost laptop for the Developing World.

How do I test my keyboard for sticky/broken keys?

Test your keyboard by running the firmware diagnostics. See Cheat codes. Holding the rocker (button below the speaker) to the left, while powering on, will get you into these diagnostics. The keyboard diagnostic will come up pretty soon, if you exit various earlier diagnostics by hitting the Escape key (this requires you download a Developer Key if your XO is running recent software). This lets you see very easily what the computer is seeing as you press or release each key. Any "sticky" key would be visible in light blue on the screen as if a finger was still pressing it.

The touchpad and stylus area can also be tested in the same diagnostic.

Finally, if you've genuinely confirmed your keyboard is damaged, after multiple reboots -- check your warranty if you need to apply for a possible return.

You may also want to check out this interim workaround: Stuck keys.

Problems with sticky keys may also be a software problem. If you have recently upgraded your firmware, which may have happened automatically as part of an upgrade to a newer release, you may also have run into a known bug in firmware q2d09 that can be fixed by downgrading or upgrading the firmware.

What is the warranty?

The 2008 Give1Get1 program that ran from November 17 to December 31 required you to contact Amazon.com for all returns. Visit Amazon.com's Returns Center, where a restocking fee applied in certain situations -- see Amazon.com's Returns Policy for detail.

The earlier Give1Get1 program's 30-day Warranty from 2007 was described in its Terms & Conditions. To exchange your hardware, it required that you apply for a Return Merchandise Authorization, by following 2007's RMA process.

In either case: separate post-warranty parts & repair are available from several entrepreneurial community startups who are good friends of OLPC.

Does opening my laptop void the warranty?

Yes, but your warranty expires after 30 days anyway. In fact you may want to disassemble your own XO laptop to explore its components, AT YOUR OWN RISK—for example, the screen connector and keyboard internals are very easy to break!

Do NOT remove the watch battery on the motherboard if you disassemble your machine—prior to the Q2D07 version of firmware, this can result in the computer becoming "bricked" or unusable!

How do I obtain replacement parts, e.g. batteries and chargers? Repair?

Spare parts like replacement batteries, power cords (chargers), screens, touchpads and keyboards are available from this list of spare parts vendors.

Check our Maintenance/Repair pages for other post-Warranty options, most of which are run by volunteers.

If you have a torn or ripped keyboard and do not wish to replace it with a new one, you may want to try these simple instructions for an inexpensive do-it-yourself repair.

Note Give1Get1 systems do not have the anti-theft system fully enabled.

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