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Dell Inspiron 9400 Ubuntu 7.04 (Fiesty) X won’t start & bcm43xx_microcode5.fw missing!

Posted on : 13-06-2007 | By : Brandon W. King | In : Computers/IT, Linux, Systems Administration

Tags: , , , , ,


If you have Dell Inspiron 9400 and are having trouble with Ubuntu or Kubuntu 7.04 (Fiesty) and you are getting the following errors or behavior, then you have come to the right place (Note: End of post has details of the hardware in this Dell Inspiron 9400):

bcm43xx: Error: Microcode “bcm43xx_microcode5.fw” not available or load failed


Failed to start the X server:
Fatal server error: no screens found

Failed to start the X server problem:
Even if you manage to get the Ubuntu installed without getting X to start from the Ubuntu live cd, you will still need to fix the problem once it is installed. Here is how to you can get the Ubuntu live cd to work (assuming you have the ATI X1400 graphics card):

  1. Boot from the Ubuntu 7.04 live CD and wait for the message saying X could not start. Get through the error messages until it drops you into a bash shell.
  2. Use your favorite text editor (or nano if you can’t find yours) to uncomment the universe line from /etc/apt/sources.list: sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
  3. sudo apt-get update
  4. sudo apt-get install xorg-driver-fglrx #Install the ati 3d accelerated driver
  5. sudo aticonfig –initial #creates a new xorg.conf setup for ati cards
  6. sudo modprobe fglrx #loads the ati fglrx driver
  7. sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart #(for ubuntu) or sudo /etc/init.d/kdm restart #(for kubuntu)
  8. X should now start. Once you install you can repeat the same steps to get it working for the installed copy.

bcm43xx: Error: Microcode “bcm43xx_microcode5.fw” not available or load failed problem:
This is the error with the wireless card driver which requires firmware that is not installed by default. There is an easy way to install the firmware. Just install the bcm43xx-fwcutter package. It will ask you if you want it to automatically download install the firmware you need. Just say yes and it will do all the work.

  1. Follow step 2 from the previous section.
  2. sudo apt-get install bcm43xx-fwcutter #Make sure to tell it to download and install the firmware.

This Dell Inspiron 9400 Specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo T7200
  • 17 in UltraSharp TrueLife Wide-screen WUXGA (1920×1200 max resolution)
  • 2GB DRR2 533MHz RAM
  • 256MB Ati Mobility Radeon X1400 graphics card
  • 120 GB 5400RPM SATA HD
  • Integrated 10/100 Network Card (Broadcom BCM4401-B0 100Base-TX (from lspci))
  • Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Mini-card (Broadcom Dell Wireless 1390 WLAN (from lspci))
  • 8X DVD+/-RW Drive
  • Integrated High Def. Audio (Intel 82801G High Def. Audio Controller (from lspci); works great by the way.