Zerocat X220 (HPM) + GNU Guix System – Get Started

Copyright (C) 2021, 2022, 2023 Kai Mertens

This file is released under CC BY-SA 4.0 International Public License.
See to get license details.


Your Zerocat X220 is a liberated laptop, which starts with free, trustworthy software right at power-up.

The motherboard’s firmware has been deleted and replaced by free licensed firmware, as much as possible. This liberating procedure is explained in more detail within the project documentation of Zerocat Coreboot Machines:

The firmware replacement itself has been processed by means of Zerocat’s chip flasher, an electronic device that respects and maintains essential freedoms of computer users:

The same applies to the selected operating system, GNU Guix System, which invents new, technical milestones for the GNU System, as founded by Richard M. Stallman. It’s most exciting feature is “bootstrapping from source code only” – The GNU Guix System Core Distribution does not rely on historic binaries!

Hardware Protection Mode

The SPI chip holding the firmware has been set into Hardware Protection Mode (HPM). Content of this chip cannot be altered unless you remove the HPM jumper, located below your keyboard. RAM bars should not be replaced as long as firmware timings cannot be updated. Check block protection bits of chip’s status register!


Within Chip

The GRUB2 console or some entries of the boot menu might be protected by a password. Use the following credentials if being asked for:

This GRUB2 username and its password can be changed by flashing a newly configured ROM image to the motherboard’s BIOS chip. It is not easily changed by software!

Partitions on Internal SSD

The partitions on your internal SSD are fully encrypted via LUKS:

Accounts of the GNU System

Your GNU Guix System might be shipped with three user accounts preconfigured, root account, admin account, and normal user account.

If a normal user account is not yet configured, check the current system configuration file /run/current-system/configuration.scm for an out-commented template entry.

At the graphical login prompt, you might select the admin or the user account, but not the root account. To login as root, a virtual linux console or a user’s terminal is required.

Boot your Machine

Radio Devices

You might want to disable radio devices by using the laptop’s kill switch. It is located at the front left edge of the device.

Enter Passwords

The entry of passwords will not be displayed on screen, thus no characters are to be seen. Enter your password blindly and finalize the entry with the “Enter” key. In case of a typo, you can still use the backspace key for correction.

Power On

Switch your device on and wait until the boot menu appears. Note that your GRUB2 payload is configured to use keymap “us” per default.

Take Ownership

Please change passwords as soon as you are familiar with your system, and before starting to use radio devices.


There should be a simple screensaver available, providing a black screen when active. To unlock, enter your user’s password directly, without any additional key hit.

Suspend Mode

Point and click onto the user menu, top right of your desktop, and select “Suspend” in order to enter suspend mode. Data is located in RAM, which is kept powered, but CPU is halted.

In order to leave suspend mode and awake the machine back again, press the “Fn” button for about one second.

Hibernation Mode

Hibernation Mode has been configured and is available, but should be used with care. Same applies to Hybrid Powersaving Mode. Upon resume from hibernation, you are to undergo the default partition unlock procedure, again.


Point and click onto the user menu, top right of your desktop, and select “Shutdown”.

Buttons and Blue Function Keys

Special buttons and blue (gray?) function keys are configurable. Please check current settings of the Xfce4 Desktop Environment:


Important Manuals

Please read the most important manuals. Open a terminal window by typing “Ctrl+Alt+T” and type the following commands:

GNU Guix Examples


We wish you the best experience and success with your liberated Zerocat Machine and would kindly ask for your supportive feedback for our website. See to stay tuned.