Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions (Updated Weekly)
- Where is my Get One XO?
- Where does the Give One XO Go?
- How do I get started? Where is the manual?
- Does my laptop come with a hand crank? Solar panels? Can the XO be used Off Grid?
- How can I access the Internet?
- How do Give1Get1 donors access their free year of T-Mobile wireless Internet?
- How do I save or retrieve files from a USB drive or SD (Secure Digital) card?
- Can I print from the XO laptop?
- What are the functions of all the keys on the keyboard? Can I type languages other than English?
- What does "Register" (in Home view) do?
FAQ Knowledge Base
G1G1 Donor Inquiries
Where is my Get One XO?
Please try the new order-tracker at http://laptopgiving.org launched January 28th, 2008. Far more specific/individualized order status is now available. You will need your original email address that you used to place your order, OR your 10-digit reference number.
Our G1G1 Fulfillment Information page further outlines information on the G1G1 shipping and ordering process.
Where does the Give One XO Go?
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) 03-3
As of early January 2008, OLPC is preparing 10,000 machines for Mongolia, and 1000 each for Haiti, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Cambodia. Further details of the Give1Get1 program's matching donations forthcoming.
What if my Give1Get1 laptop was lost or stolen in transit?
File a lost or stolen package claim immediately with FedEx by calling 800-GO-FEDEX. They will work with you and the credit card company to find the problem.
Give1Get1 donors can activate their T-Mobile offer when their XO is confirmed received.
How do I reach Give1Get1: Shipment & Donor Services
Give1Get1 "customer service" questions need to be directed to Donor Services at 800-201-7144, open Monday to Friday 9am - 8pm Eastern time—or email "service at laptopgiving.org".
What is OLPC's tax exempt info?
Our US tax-exempt EIN (Employer ID Number) is towards the bottom of the Give1Get1 Donor Services FAQ.
How can I donate my Get One XO to a child?
Unfortunately, OLPC cannot redeploy your Get One XO to one of our projects in a Developing Country.
You may want to Donate Your Get One XO to an international group in a developing country, a non-profit in North American collecting XO's for schoolchildren in the US or Canada, or a Computer Science Education Project, including high schools and regional community groups.
How can I donate 100+ laptops? Enlist my entire school?
Contact "givemany AT laptop.org" or call 800-379-7017. Basic cost/quantity details are here.
For government inquiries only, contact "countries AT laptop.org"
For smaller international rollouts, please work with others on the grassroots mailing list.
While OLPC doesn't have a general mechanism for setting up smaller trials, immediate community feedback on school pilot projects is available in our live chat channels #olpc or #olpc-groups (see IRC channels for details). Similarly, you can have these and other questions answered live in the #olpc-help channel.
Getting Started, Laptop Settings
Where do I get support?
Click Support for an extensive list of documentation, live chat support, interactive web forums, regional user groups, and repair options.
Please consider joining one of the many One Laptop per Child (OLPC) communities created as a result of the Give One Get One laptop program. XO laptops are now arriving across the US and will soon be arriving in Canada!
How do I get started? Where is the manual?
The XO laptop design rationale is to encourage kids to discover/learn things by themselves, rather than giving them a fixed set of instructions. However, you can learn about your new XO laptop with our Getting Started Guide. A printable PDF version (17.5MB, be patient downloading!) is also now available.
Many volunteers are also working on a Simplified User Guide -- please check back soon for more updates.
Can I print from the XO laptop?
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" is for children that are connecting to a School Server, and serves no function for G1G1 recipients. 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 there are other ways we can promote OLPC's worldwide learning community, please let us know.
How do I change my XO's Nickname? my XO's color on Sugar Views?
How do I set the date and time on my laptop?
You may set the date and time as follows:
- Connect to the Internet. (For details, see How can I access the Internet? )
- Open a Linux prompt. (For details, see How do I access a Linux command prompt? Note that unless you are an advanced user, you should use the Terminal Activity button to open the prompt.)
- Log in as "root". Assuming you are using the Terminal Activity program, you can log in 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.
- At the command prompt, enter the following commands:
- Press the Enter key after each. 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.
- Click the "Stop" icon at the upper right corner of the screen to log out and close the Terminal Activity program.
How to set the timezone on my laptop
How do I disable the bootup sound?
Turn the volume down *while* the laptop is booting (I.E. before getting into Sugar).
What are the functions of all the keys on the keyboard
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 refer to: Switching to Dvorak
Internet, Connectivity, Email, Chat
How can I access the Internet?
Our Connectivity Quick Start Guide will answer most questions about Internet Connectivity
Give1Get1 donors can activate their T-Mobile offer when their XO is confirmed received.
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; use 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?
Can XO laptops share an Internet connection?
At the moment, an XO laptop cannot be on both the Internet and on the mesh network at the same time with a default laptop configuration. This ability will hopefully be re-enabled by default in the future; until then, School Servers can server as Mesh Portals, and further details can be found on the Mesh Network Details page.
What exactly is a mesh network?
A mesh network allows nearby XO laptops to talk to one another directly (wirelessly) without the need for a traditional Internet Service Provider.
This feature makes very rural deployments (say, Nigeria) practical; there isn't much need for dedicated network hardware. The laptops do the heavy lifting, rather than the traditional hierarchical network of hubs/switches/routers.
Try the mesh demo here, to see how a mesh can connect to the Internet.
Is there an email program?
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.
Can I attach an external keyboard or mouse?
Most USB keyboards and mice work fine. However, avoid "PalmPilot keyboards," as these use IR (infrared), and "wireless keyboards," as these use Bluetooth—neither of which are supported on the XO laptop.
Is there a stylus for the touchpad?
The touchpad is designed to work with a stylus across the full width of the three panels. (Only the center panel is sensitive to your finger.) A stylus does not ship with the laptop.
Currently, there are no activities that use the stylus. However, in a future software release, the Paint Activity (formerly known as Draw) will work with a stylus.
Why is my touchpad jumpy?
There are three known touchpad issues. A USB mouse is a useful workaround in all three cases.
How do I save a file?
For more information about the Journal, see OLPC Human Interface Guidelines/The Laptop Experience/The Journal.
How do I save or retrieve files from a USB drive or SD (Secure Digital) card?
Complete instructions for using a USB Drive (sometimes known as a flash drive or USB key) can be accessed Here.
How do I delete a file?
Find the file to be deleted by scrolling up and down the list.
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?
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 circle) to start eToys 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-circle 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)
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.
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 () (fifth key from the upper left) to see the taskbar.
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. Start any of these Activities from the Activity taskbar at the bottom of the Home View.
After working properly for a while, activities won't load
There is a known bug in build 650 (the build shipped with all G1G1 laptops), which can result in activities working fine the first few times they are loaded; but on subsequent boots, the activities may not load.
How do I use the Camera?
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 copy the screenshot to the clipboard, and open it with the Browse, Paint, or Etoys activity.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Hardware Repairs, Returns
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.
My XO laptop won't play sound
If there is no sound when you boot the XO laptop; or you are unable to record voice from the Record activity, you may have a broken component—like the speaker. If you confirm sound is completely broken, call or email Donor Services at 800-201-7144, open Monday to Friday 9am - 8pm Eastern time—or email "service at laptopgiving.org".
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 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.
Instructions for a workaround can be found here.
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 info? RMA process?
All Give1Get1 "customer service" questions need to be directed to Donor Services. You can contact Donor Services by calling 800-201-7144 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, or email "service at laptopgiving.org".
How do I obtain replacement parts, EG. batteries and chargers? Repair?
Replacement batteries and power cords (chargers) will be available in early 2008. We hope to arrange for the sale of replacement screens, touchpads and keyboards as well. Check our Maintenance/Repair pages for other emerging post-Warranty options.
Do NOT remove the watch battery on the mother board if you disassemble your machine; prior to the Q2D07 version of firmware, this can result in the computer becoming unusable, due to a bug in our anti-theft firmware implementation. G1G1 systems do not have the anti-theft system enabled.
Does opening my laptop void the warranty?
Yes, but your warrente 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!
We regret that spare parts are not yet available as of early January 2008.
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.
Future peripheral availability is discussed on the Product News page.
What kinds of power sources can I use with the XO laptop?
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 40 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.
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 the next software release, expected in early February 2008.
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 press "Shutdown."
Or depress the power button briefly until the green power light goes off.
How do I put an XO laptop to sleep?
The sleep feature is not enabled in software provided on XOs shipped starting December 2007 in the Give1Get1 program. A software upgrade early in 2008 will support suspend/resume sleep features, for much improved battery life.
My XO laptop won't power on
Carefully read the power/battery issues at: http://laptop.org/start/troubleshooting.shtml
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 (take the battery out and remove the power adapter; wait 10 seconds to allow it to reset; 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, call Donor Services at 800-201-7144 within 30 days, to exchange it or email them at "service at laptopgiving.org". They are open Monday to Friday 9am - 8pm Eastern time. For warranty information, check the Give1Get1 program's Terms & Conditions, along with the Donor Services FAQ.
Is my battery OK? Why does it say "discharging" when plugged in?
The vast majority of reported battery issues are not in fact hardware problems, but rather software problems. This is because December 2007's Build 650 has a couple bugs which commonly leads to false reporting in the Home view, as to the actual amount of battery life.
If however your battery does not retain any charge at all, consider applying for an RMA return.
Software Update, Restore to Factory Default
How can I restore my Give1Get1 XO to its factory configuration?
If you have "upgraded" the software on your laptop, try the recover process: hold the 'O' game pad key during boot. This should boot from an alternate "disk image" (the one shipped with the machine).
Second, for advanced users only—be prepared to lose all data— try upgrading the activated laptop to re-flash its entire "disk image" including its operating system and Activities.
If you see a "Bad hash at eblock #0" message while performing these "Activated Upgrade" steps, this indicates your image on the USB key is bad. Download the image again, or try a different USB key.
How do I check which version of the operating system I am running?
Please refer to: How to check the OS and firmware versions
How do I update/upgrade my laptop?
What's the latest on the current software release? (Build 650)
Details of software "Build 650", which shipped on all Give1Get1 laptops starting December 2007, are found in Release notes/7.1.0. (This software environment includes the operating system and all built-in applications.)
Why do I see Build 653 on this page? What's the deal with Build 653?
Please refer to the section -- After working properly for a while, activities won't load.
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. Please follow the instructions here.
How do I run unofficial/unsigned builds & firmware?
For advanced users/developers only. You will need to download a "developer key". Please follow the process outlined at Activation and Developer Keys.
Or you may simply want to Upgrade Firmware.
Disk, Storage Device
How much memory/disk is built in?
The XO 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.