D620 and D630 How-To


Congratulations on the ownership of a Dell Latitude D620 or D630!

The D620s and D630s are business class laptops. They are sturdily built and easy to maintain. They have all the power you need to browse the web, write documents, watch videos and much more.

(The D620 is very similar to the D630. The D620 was was released in 2006, and the D630 was released a year later. The D620 can either be 32-bit or 64-bit. The D630s are all 64-bit.)

What SOFTWARE to expect

The operating system is not Windows. It is a user-friendly version of Linux named Ubuntu Mate (pronounced MAH-tay, like the Argentine drink.) If you are familiar with Windows XP or Windows 7, you should quickly be at home with Ubuntu Mate. This laptop comes with many free programs. You can download many other programs at no charge.

Here are some software equivalents:

Explorer or Chrome browsers -> Firefox web browser (you can also download a version of Chrome)
MicroSoft Office -> LibreOffice
Word -> LibreOffice Write (word processor)
Excel -> LibreOffice Calc (spreadsheet)
PowerPoint -> LibreOffice Impress (presentations)
MicroSoft Outlook -> Thunderbird Mail (email)

Through a Web Browser like Firefox, you can access Gmail and YouTube. (Netflix currently is NOT supported on Ubuntu Mate, unfortunately).


USING the computer

Look for the the big round button above the keyboard, just below the screen. It has a power icon on it (circle with a line through it). Press this button for a second or two to turn the laptop on.

The laptop will take about 30 seconds to load, and you will see a password prompt. Type in the password you have been given (you can change the password later if you want).

Click on the icon in the upper right of the screen. A pop-up window appears. Press the ENTER key, or click on “Shutdown”.

CAUTION: Please do not turn off the computer by pressing the power button (the big round button). Doing so can confuse the computer and cause errors. If you do it by accident, it’s probably not a big problem. But in the long-run, it’s MUCH BETTER not to press the power button to turn the laptop off.

Put your finger on the TOUCHPAD, the big silver rectangle below the keys (about 2 by 3 inches). As you move your finger, the cursor will move.

When the mouse cursor is on an item you want to select, click on one of the four BUTTONS (small square rectangles) above and below the touchpad. The left-most buttons will select an item. The right-most button usually will give you more options about what to do. Normally you will click on one of the left-most buttons. You can click on the top or bottom row of buttons – the effect is the same

You can run some programs, like the Firefox web browser, just by clicking on an icon. The icon for Firefox is an orange-and-blue circle. For some people, I have created new icons on the desktop, for example, for Skype.

You can run all of the many programs with the menus. At the top of the screen, you will see the labels “Applications”, “Places” and “System”. These are pull-down menus. “Applications” is a menu of programs that you as a user are most likely to want.

Move the mouse cursor to the label “Applications”. Left-click on it (click on a left-mouse button). This brings up all the sub-menus. Explore the sub-menus by moving the mouse cursor over the names of the sub-menus. WHen you see the program you want to run, move the mouse cursor over the name of the program and left-click on it.

For example, to run LibreOffice Write (a clone of MicroSoft Word). Click on “Applications”, move the cursor down Office and then to the label “LibreOffice Writer”. Click on that label. We abbreviate those directions by saying:
Applications | Office | LibreOffice Writer.

For example, you run Skype with  the menus:
Applications | Internet | Skype


When you are in a location that has wi-fi for Internet access, move the cursor to the Wi-Fi icon at the upper right of the screen (it looks like a piece of pie). Ckick on the icon to see the names of wi-fi access points. Click on the one you want to use. You will be prompted for a password (if any).

Sound is controlled in several places. Often there is a sound control in the program you are running (YouTube, for example).

You can also control sound using the three little buttons to the left of the big power button above the keyboard. The three buttons will decrease the volume, increase the volume and turn off sound (mute).

Another way to control sound is by clicking on the Sound Icon in the upper right of the screen (looks like a loudspeaker).

A Tour of the HARDWARE  (see online manual)

EARPHONE and MIKE jacks are on the left side. You can also plug external speakers into the earphone jack.

WE-FI switch is on the left side. Leave this set in the position towards you, otherwise wi-fi is disabled.

DVD player is on the right side. Pless on the oval shaped button to make it open.

USB ports are on the right side and on the rear. Normally four USB ports are available (broken ports have been taped over). You can plug many devices into these ports, such as external mice, external hard drives, thumb drives, etc.

VGA port (for an external monitor) is on the rear.

Ethernet port (for a direct wired connection to the Internet) is on the rear.

BATTERY is on the bottom of the laptop. To remove battery, slide both latches and gently take out battery.

Power supply connector is on the rear.
CARE of the Laptop
If you can plug the laptop in, rather than use the battery, you will get a brighter display and the battery will last longer. Right now the battery will probably supply electricity for a couple of hours when fully charged.

Overheating is the enemy of the laptop. Try not to operate the laptop when it is sitting on a blanket, etc. The fabric can cover the vent slots on the bottom.  If the laptop gets really really warm, you might turn it off for a while to let it cool off.

Dropping a laptop or spilling liquids are common causes of damage. If you spill a liquid on the keyboard or drop the laptop in water, turn it off as quickly as possible. Give it several days to dry out before you turn it on again. In many cases, the laptop will continue to work.

Be careful when inserting and removing connectors to the laptop (such as headphones, USB devices and power cable). Rough treatment can cause a loose connection. Try not to trip over the power cord!

When you no longer are using the laptop, please dispose of it properly. You can return the laptop to me, give it to someone who can use it, or have it recycled. Don’t just throw it away, because if the laptop goes into the landfill, it will pollute.
The web has loads of information about the laptop, Linux and the programs that come with it. On Google Search, type in keywords like “Dell D620”, “Dell D630”, “Ubuntu Mate”, “LibreOffice”.

There’s a complete manual for the laptop at

For example, a tour of the hardware:

-Bart Anderson

(An updated version of this page is at
https://transitionpaloalto.org/computers/d620_d630_how_to/  )