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Hibernate & Suspend Resolved | Ubuntu Gutsy-nVidia-Dell Vostro

“Caution! This is a lengthy post and not intended for casual reading. You can only appreciate this if you’ve faced the issue.”

At last, I am able to hibernate and resume my system successfully, which has been bothering for quite some time now. Just before writing this post, I hibernated and resumed my system for a whopping 15 times in a row!

Before I explain what worked for me here’s what I have:

  • Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS (Note this)
  • Dell Vostro 1500
  • Ubuntu(7.1) Gutsy Gibbon

The Problem:

For me, suspend always worked but on hibernating the system the screen goes black, with a blinking text cursor in the upper left corner and then the screen turns off but the power LED is still lit and the fan remains active till I press the power button to forcibly shut the system.

The Cause:

While there could be numerous reasons for hibernate/suspend not working, mine was attributed to the graphics card driver settings and the way the power management software dealt with the state while hibernating/resuming. After going through numerous forums, wikis and blogs hunting for the solution, I can safely say that 90% of the hibernate/suspend issues are attributed to the same.

The Solution:

Since I didn’t find the solution to the hibernate problem at a single place, it came out of a lot of trial and error. According to me, it makes sense to understand a couple of things before trying out the solution.

  • Suspend Vs. Hibernate:
      • Suspend: The computer goes into the lowest possible power saving mode stopping any calculations or actions being performed. However it does maintain the data on the RAM and therefore resumes quickly from where it left at the press of a button.
      • Hibernate: Hibernate is also called ‘Suspend to Disk’. On hibernating, the state of the computer is first persisted on the hard disk and then the devices are turned off. On restarting, once the devices are switched on, the state is restored into the RAM from the disk.

      This suspend is a power saving mode while hibernate is a power sleep mode.

  • Power Management
      • Advanced Power Management (APM) : APM is the raw power management and works directly with the BIOS of the computer. While it sounds good but the disadvantage is that BIOS manages and functions without any understanding of the operating system. This is definitely not what we want.
      • Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI): Now this is what makes life easy and gives us a lot of flexibility to play around with the settings. ACPI is an open industry specification and provides an abstraction layer between the OS and the platform hardware and firmware. Thus it works collaboratively with the OS and the BIOS and provides better control over power management.

Now enough of theory, let’s get onto some practicals:

If you haven’t changed the default settings, Ubuntu Gutsy would most likely be using ACPI. Here’s how I proceeded:

  1. Browse Ubuntu and other forums which you would have already done by now.
  2. Try to hibernate(I know it doesn’t work.) But when you resume look into System>Administration>System Log. It may give an indication of the issue.
  3. Configure AGP
      • On a terminal type: sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf and add the following under the “Device” section:

Option “NvAGP” “1”

4. Prevent the OS from loading the default agpgart and the AGP driver for the chipset by adding the following in the blacklisted modules(type sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist on a terminal)

blacklist intel_agp
blacklist agpgart

5. Modify ACPI settings

On a terminal type: sudo gedit /etc/default/acpi-support and ensure the following:






6. Finally if you’re using compiz (desktop-effects) in conjunction with NVIDIA binary drivers, make sure your “Sync to VBLANK” option in “Advanced Desktop Effects Settings > General > Display settings” is *disabled*. You can set this option to false by running:

gconftool --set /apps/compiz/general/screen0/options/sync_to_vblank 0 --type bool

This is just a compilation of information gathered through various forums/websites. Hopefully hibernate should work well by playing around with the settings as explained above. If it doesn’t, I can just say Good Luck! Keep trying! And please post anything which helped to get your Vostro hibernate 🙂


The Dell Vostro 1500 Review

The Vostro 1500 The Vostro 1500

 I recently got my hands on a Dell Vostro 1500. While detailed reviews can be obtained by a bit of googling, I’ll quickly put my views.

Guys it’s heavy! So if you are planning to buy a pair of dumbbells you can safely drop that idea as you wouldn’t feel the need for it once you get a Vostro! Jokes apart, it is definitely on the heavier side but has a solid, built-to-last kind of feel.

This is what I have:

Processor : Core 2 Duo 1.6 Ghz


Graphics : nVidia Go 8400m (Dedicated)

And the remaining standard features which Dell ships it with.

The performance is pretty good for most of the applications I’ve used so far, which include some demanding development environments. So I would say from a developer’s perspective, it gives a decent performance and should continue to do so for some time to come (till the environments get more demanding!).

I had opted for a glossy screen (Dell calls it True-Life) and I must say it’s better than some of them I’ve seen to far. As in, it is not glossy enough to the point of seeing my own face while working (though you can use it as a mirror if you turn off the screen for a while)! The display is pretty sharp and clear. Also the screen is easy to clean.

The keyboard is nicely laid out and is convenient to use.

An important feature of Dell Vostro is Media Direct, which allows you to play media without having to boot the machine. And to help the cause, the media controls are provided at the front (along with the speakers too!). So without opening the screen, you can listen to your favorite music! Cool isn’t it? Well its not straight out-of-box and you need to configure it esp. if you have played around with the default partitioning and re-installed the OS.

It came shipped with Windows Vista Basic and rather than adoring it myself, I would safely pass it on to:


Now the best part is that I was able to install Ubuntu Linux 7.1 Gusty Gibbon without any fuss and with a little bit of research got the sound and the infamous Hibernate/Suspend working on it. Though I may be lucky to get stuff working relatively easily, but I can safely say that the hardware is supported and you can make things work with Ubuntu 7.1. I’ll try and cover these in separate posts.

Ah, how can I miss this one! It seems that the designers of the Vostro Series were inspired by Forensic Sciences. No matter how clean you make your hands before touching the top panel to open the laptop, your fingerprints are bound to be inscribed on the so called matt finish. And then you have to really work hard if you want those to disappear from there. Probably this is the only thing which irritates me and I’ll have to learn to live with it.

But all in all, I am quite satisfied with what I have. I would rate it 8 out of 10.