Troubleshooting Guide

This chapter offers a guide for finding solutions when you have problems with Sugar.

Getting Started

Where do I get support?

Both Sugar Labs and OLPC have support communities that can help you. They have written documentation such as this manual. They also offer live chat support, interactive web forums, and regional user groups. Please refer to and for further information.

Can I print from the XO laptop?

Currently there is no printer support in the Sugar user interface.

How do I access a GNU/Linux command prompt?

Please refer to the chapter on the Terminal Activity.

What does "Register" (in the Home View hover menu) do?

"Register" is for children that are connecting to School Server. It serves no function outside of that context. Please see the School Identity Manager page in the OLPC wiki for further explanation.

Why is there no windowing system?

The Sugar user interface sits on top of the X Window System. Sugar uses a zoom metaphor instead of an overlapping windows metaphor so the presence of the windowing system is less apparent.

How do I learn the XO Sugar Environment?

Sugar differs from traditional PCs and Macs. We hope you not only "learn by doing", but also seek others to collaborate with you in the learning process. You can find an in-person local user group by searching online, or find an online community to help you learn.

How do I change my nickname? my XO's colors?

You can change your nickname and colors from the Sugar Control Panel found on the hover menu on the Home View when viewing the ring view.

How do I set the date and time on my laptop?

You can set the date and time as follows:

  1. Connect to the Internet.
  2. Start the Terminal Activity.
  3. Start a "root" process by typing:
    su -l
  4. At the command prompt, enter the following commands:
    /usr/sbin/hwclock --systohc
  5. In response to the ntpdate command, if it successfully contacts this US government official time server, the system outputs a line displaying the correct date and time.

How do I  set the timezone on my laptop?

You can set the timezone using the Sugar Control Panel.

What are the functions of all the keys on the keyboard?

  • F1 Neighborhood View
  • F2 Group view
  • F3 Home View
  • F4 Activity View
  • Shift-Alt-F Toggle Frame visibility
  • Alt-Tab cycles forward through running Activities
  • Shift-Alt-Tab cycles backward through running Activities
  • Ctrl-Tilde cycles forward through running instances of the current Activity
  • Shift-Ctrl-Tilde cycles backward through running instances of the current Activity
  • Ctrl-c Copy to clipboard
  • Ctrl-v Paste from clipboard
  • Ctrl-x Cut (and copy to clipboard)
  • Ctrl-a Select all (current input/dialog/text box)
  • Ctrl-q Quit Activity
  • Ctrl-Esc Quit Activity
  • Alt-Enter Toggle full-screen mode
  • Alt-Space Toggle tray visibility
  • Ctrl-u View source in Browse Activity (opens copy of source in Write Activity)
  • Fn-Space View source (system wide, although not enabled in all applications yet)
  • Ctrl-Alt-Erase Restart Sugar
  • Alt-1 Screen capture; saved to Journal as a PNG file named "Screenshot"
  • Ctrl-Alt-F1 Open Console 1
  • Ctrl-Alt-F2 Open Console 2
  • Ctrl-Alt-F3 Open X Windows

The OLPC-XO keyboard has a number of keys dedicated to the Sugar interface. Please see for details. 

Internet, Connectivity, Email, Chat

How can I access the Internet?

Our Connectivity Quick Start Guide answers most questions about Internet Connectivity.

What if I cannot get online?

Do you have wireless Internet/WiFi nearby?

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

Have you connected to your WiFi access point?

You can go to the Neighborhood View and click the circle that represents your WiFi access point.  The name of an access point appears when you hover over a circle. After you click the circle, its center should blink. When you are connected, the center blinking stops and a circle icon for the connection appears in Frame bottom right. If your access point is locked, you are prompted to insert a key.  Select the proper key format for your access point from the pull-down menu.  You can confirm that you are connected by hovering over the network status circle in the Home View.  Please see the chapter on Connecting.

How do I disable wireless when flying?

To disable wireless when flying, refer to the Network panel in the Sugar Control Panel and clear the Radio checkbox under Wireless.

What is a mesh network?

A mesh network allows nearby laptops to talk to one another directly (wirelessly) without the need for a traditional Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Is there an email program?

There is not a native email client for Sugar. You can use the Gmail Activity to access your email, if you have a account; or you can simply use Browse to access most web-based email programs.

Can I install other software, such as Flash, Java, AIM, MSN Messenger, or Skype?

Please refer to the chapter on Installing GNU/Linux applications.

File Access

How do I save my work?

Your work is automatically saved 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, 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 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 maintains an Activities page with links to many additional programs. You can install new programs directly from the web browser. Activities are "bundled" in files with a .xo suffix. Clicking a bundle causes it to download from the Internet into the Journal. Launching the bundled Activity from the Journal installs it in the List View of the Home View. 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 do I load a file on the disk into the Browse Activity?

Open the Browse Activity. In a window in the middle of the top of the Browse Activity page you see the words OLPC Library. Click that and you see the url: file:///home/olpc/.library_pages/search/bundle__index.html in the window and the contents of the file: .library_pages/search/bundle_index.html are loaded in the browser. If you replace that filename in the window with the name of the file you want to load, and have it display, let us say: file:///home/olpc/upload-file.html and press enter, the file upload-file.html is loaded from your home directory into the Browse Activity.

How do I save or retrieve files from a USB drive or SD (Secure Digital) card?

Please see the complete instructions for using a USB storage device (sometimes known as a flash drive or USB key or USB stick).

How do I delete a file?

Go to the Journal, which you can access from the Frame. Click the notebook icon to open the Journal. Find the file to be deleted by scrolling up and down the list. Open the detail view for the entry by clicking the name of the file. From within the detail view, press the "minus" button at the top of the screen to delete the entry.


How do I close an Activity (program)?

Most Activities have an "Activity" tab with a close button found at the top-right of the display; select the Activity tab and click the close button to close the Activity. For most Activities, the keyboard shortcuts ctrl + q or ctrl + esc can also close the Activity. Alternatively, on the Frame, hover the pointer over the Activity icon to bring up a menu; click "Stop" to end the Activity.

How do I download and run Activities (programs)?

There are many Activities the community has developed for download. From the Browser Activity on the XO laptop, go to Activities and click an .xo file you find there.  This downloads and installs the Activity to your laptop. When it is finished installing, click OK. Press the Home key (fifth key from the upper left) to see the Home View. Click the List View icon in the upper right of the Home View to see all the Activities. Scroll the list down if necessary until you see the icon for the Activity you just installed. Click the Activity's icon to start it.

All Activities on the laptop have been developed in the open-source community by volunteers. OLPC encourages all laptop owners to contribute to this effort.

How do I use a camera?

A camera can be used with the Record Activity.

How do I take a screenshot?

Press alt + 1 (hit the 1 key while holding down the alt key at the same time). Go to the Journal. The screenshot should be the first item in the Journal. You can then copy the screenshot to the clipboard and open it with the Browse, Paint, or Etoys Activity, or drag it on to an inserted USB memory stick for transporting it to another computer. This quick screenshot hack also makes it easier to capture and upload multiple screenshots to a web server.

Read: How do I read PDF files?

Click on a PDF file to automatically launch the Read Activity, either through the web browser (Browse Activity) or from a USB storage device (Journal Activity).

Browse: How do I bookmark a website and browse it later?

Click the star in the upper-right corner to bookmark the website. The website is saved in the Journal Activity for future use.

Browse: How can I protect my children from objectionable content?

The best thing you can do to keep your children safe is to participate in their education. For example, explain to them the kinds of threats they may encounter online and appropriate behavior, don't give out personal information such as an address, phone number, or other personally identifying information over the Internet.

There are possible third-party solutions, such as available.

Activity Development

How do I begin to write programs for the XO laptop?

You can find information on how to create your own programs for the XO at Getting started programming, and look for details at For those already familiar with both Linux and Python, the Activity tutorial is a step-by-step guide to building a Sugar Activity.

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.