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Unbricking the OLPC XO

I've done it. I've bricked the OLPC XO.

Yesterday, I tried to updated the OLPC XO to the newest version of its Sugar operating system. You can do that in the Terminal by typing the following command:

sudo olpc-update <version>

You'd have to substitute the version you are updating to where it says "<version>".

I chose to install version 767 last night. But the biggest mistake was to update on battery power. When I started the battery was half full. I was for sure it had enough battery power. I started watching TV while it was installing. By the time I looked at the laptop again, it had already shut off.

So this morning, the OLPC XO would not get pass the boot-up screen. That's when I decided to do a "No-fail update".

The "No-fail update" claims that you have to use a flash memory stick for the install. But I've found that a SD Card in the memory card slot works just fine. I prefer the SD Card over the flash memory stick because the SD Card will not poke out of the notebook, causing possible accidents.

In addition, the instruction claimed that the flash memory stick has to be completely empty. I found that to be false as well. The SD Card I used had data on it. I kept it plugged into the laptop so that my children could watch the videos I created for them. I left the data on the SD Card, while placing the update files in the root directory. OLPC XO managed to update itself with the SD Card.

Oh, in case you haven't read the "No-fail update" instruction yet, you have to "hold down all four gamepad keys (on the right side of the screen, above the power button)" to initiate the update from the flash drive.

My XO has just finished updating it as I write this blog entry. I'm off to loading it up with goodies.

Chieh Cheng
Sat, 21 Feb 2009 19:41:54 +0000

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