Troubleshooting guide

Troubleshooting guide

As a non-profit association, OLPC is unable to provide much direct technical support beyond guides like this. One goal of the project is that children will learn to troubleshoot the XO themselves and subsequently use their experiences to help others. This support process is already underway in our international deployments—we encourage you to participate in this support network.

This guide was written to help people with XO-1s and XO-1.5s. However, it focuses more on issues and teminology relating to XO-1.5s.

Information, support, and help can be found online on our Support wiki, the website, email lists, and IRC channels. The Support wiki has walkthroughs and guides on diagnosis and more specific problems. Through e-mail and IRC, you can ask others for help with problems not covered elsewhere. Many of these sources are maintained by users and enthusiasts of XOs.

If you have a question about your XO that is not addressed in the list of questions below please goto our Support FAQ to see a rapidly expanding knowledge base; if you are unable to find an answer online, please send us an email at help at

What if my laptop does not turn on?

Is the power adapter plugged in both to the wall and to the laptop?

battery light on battery light off
Is the battery light illuminated? (The battery light is in the shape of a battery; it is to the lower-right of the display. It should be on—green or orange—whenever the laptop is plugged in.)

power on
Did you press the power button? (The power button is in the lower-right corner of the display unit.)
Note that you only need to press the power button; you do not need to hold it down.

power on power off
Is the power light illuminated? (The power light is right of the battery light, to the lower right of the display. The power light should come on—green—after you press the power button. If the battery light flashes red, the battery is critically low and needs to be recharged.)

How do I turn off my laptop?

You turn off the laptop in two ways. The best way is to go to the Home View and hover over the XO icon in the center of the screen. Click the right touchpad button with the o on it. From there, a menu will appear. Click on "shut down." You can also shut down by holding down the power button for 10 seconds. You can also use choose Shutdown from the hover menu of the "XO" figure at the center of the Home View in Favorites ("ring") view.

What if my battery does not work?

Is it properly inserted into the laptop?
Did you allow for a full charge?

What does the battery indicator-light color mean?

The different colors on the battery indicator-light stand for different things.

battery light on/fully charged Green means the laptop is plugged in and the battery is fully charged;
battery light on/charging yellow/orange means the laptop is plugged in and the battery is charging;
battery trickle charging a pattern of 4 yellow/orange flashes followed by no light means that the battery is trickle charging. Trickle charging means your battery was very, low, and normal charging will start when trickle is over;
battery light off/running on battery power no light when the laptop is powered on means it is running on battery power;
battery light off/not charging no light when the laptop is powered off means the battery is not recharging;
battery light red/battery power low red means the battery is low; it should be recharged;
battery trickle charging an alternating pattern of red/yellow means that the laptop battery has reached the critical level and can shut off any moment.

How long should a fully charged battery last?

With standard operation, the battery should last approximately 3–5 hours. Certain applications, such as video, may reduce overall battery performance. Turning the backlight off saves battery power. Please note that future software releases are expected to improve battery life.

What if I cannot get online?

Do you have wireless internet/Wi-Fi nearby?

Is your Wi-Fi access point locked? If yes, you must have the password in order to connect.

Have you connected to your Wi-Fi access point?

You need to go to the Neighborhood View and click on the circle that represents your Wi-Fi access point (the name of the access point is displayed when the cursor is placed over a circle). Once you have single-clicked on the circle representing your access point, the center should blink. When you are connected, the rim of the circle turns white; the center blinking stops. If your access point is locked, you will be prompted to insert a passphrase. (Be sure to select the proper passphrase format for your access point from the pull-down menu.) You can confirm that you are connected by returning to the Home View and hovering over the network status circles. (Please see the Connecting Guide.)

For more information about connecting, please see the Support FAQ in our wiki.

How do I save my work?

Your work is automatically saved for you in the Journal.

How can I backup my work?

You can backup your work onto a USB storage device. When you insert a USB storage device into any one of the three USB slots, it is automatically mounted and appears as an icon in the Journal (at the bottom of the screen). You can drag and drop Journal entries onto the icon in order to transfer them to the USB device. When you are finished, use the hover menu to unmount the device.

How can I add new programs and content to the laptop?

OLPC and Sugar Labs maintain lists of Activities with links to many additional programs for your XO. You can install new programs directly from the web browser. Activities are "bundled" in files ending with the ".xo" suffix. Clicking on a bundle will cause it to download from the Internet into the Journal. Launching the bundled activity from the Journal will install it on the taskbar. Similarly, you can download content, such as .pdf or .doc files, videos, and music into the Journal.

You can also install software and content from a USB storage device from within the Journal.

Finally, you can install software and content from the Terminal activity, which gives you access to the Linux command shell.

How can I add proprietary software such as Adobe Flash® to my XO?

OLPC advocates the use of free and open source software; however, there are situations where one may want to use a proprietary alternative. General instructions on how to load many popular proprietary packages can be found in our wiki. Additional information about software and system customization can be found here.

The laptop comes preinstalled with Gnash, a non-proprietary Flash player. If you would like to install Adobe Flash, please refer to these instructions.

How do I upgrade the software on my laptop?

Please see the Release Notes for our lates software builds.

How do I change the color of my XO, in the middle of my screen? How do I change my nickname?

There are many user settings that can be changed from the My Settings, including your colors and nickname. Instructions can be found in the wiki.

What do I do if my XO becomes slow?

If the laptop freezes or is slow to respond, Stop some activities from their Activity menus or from the Frame. You can restart the Sugar UI by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Erase. If that doesn't work, turn off the laptop and power it back on.

Are there any keyboard shortcuts for navigating the user interface?

The system-wide keyboard shortcuts are listed in our wiki. There are additional shortcuts assigned by individual activities that are documented on their pages in the wiki.

I am an educator. Is there more information about how I can participate?

We have numerous pages in our wiki dedicated to our educational mission. A good starting point is here.

I am a software developer. Is there more information about how I can participate?

We have numerous pages in our wiki dedicated to software development. A good starting point is here.

How do I get a developer key for my laptop?

Please follow the instructions in the wiki for information about developer keys.

I would like access to the source code. Where do I go?

Source code unique to the project can be found in our git repository.

New Software Releases

Please see the very latest software's Release Notes.

(Much has improved since 2007 on the XO-1! And continues to improve on the XO-1.5! We encourage you to check back regularly, and to contribute yourself!)

How do I report a bug?

We are very interested in bug reports. Please report bugs by sending email to help at Developers, please continue to file bugs in our tracking system.

We are also interested in your suggestions for enhancement to our system.

Community input and collaboration is vital to the success of OLPC. Thank you for your participation.