Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total newb

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total newb

Postby pixelpunch » 2017-07-19 06:29

I've been reading the manual, scouring the internet, watching videos... I'm stuck. I'm total newb and would appreciate any help.

I'm using a computer that already has Windows 7 installed and I want to install Debian 9.0 and dualboot both OS's. I've gotten as far as the Debian installation startup screen, but I have missing firmware and can't continue. I think this is the firmware to make my network operable so I don't think the netinstall will work for me. I'm using the complete install image: https://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/cu ... 4/iso-dvd/

I've manged to create a bootable USB drive using rufus but I'm not sure if I did it correctly. I have one .iso file in it but is there a way to merge the other .iso files so they all install together?

I already partitioned one section of the hard drive using Windows7.
Should I leave it unallocated? Or assign a drive letter?
Should I format in exFat?
I saw a video that says I'll probably have to do more partitioning just for Debian but that should all be done within Debian after it's installed right?

I have missing firmware but I think I found it.
Do I put this in the “firmware” folder within the boot files that rufus made? or does the Debian install find it another way?
Should I include the entire missing firmware folder package with all the files that came with that - is that part of it? - or just the file that was in the Debian warning?
The missing firmware file came compressed and I'm assuming I should uncompress the package first or supposed to stay compressed and it's looking for a compressed package?

side note: do you know of a guide somewhere that meticulously explains everything for total newbs? From the very start, I was totally lost on what all these install files are and what they do.

I appreciate any help you're able to give. Thank you!
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Re: Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total ne

Postby dilberts_left_nut » 2017-07-19 07:23

AdrianTM wrote:There's no hacker in my grandma...
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Re: Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total ne

Postby sunrat » 2017-07-19 07:36

So many questions! Most are answered in the manual linked above.
Two important things:
- If you've never installed dual boot before, you will possibly screw it up and wipe out your Windows. Do a full disk backup to an external drive before you start so you can restore if necessary.
- Rufus will only write a Debian image correctly in dd mode.

Debian is not plug n' play. You may get it right as you sound keen to learn. As a beginner you may have an easier time with MX-16 (highly recommended) or Linux Mint.
“ computer users can be divided into 2 categories:
Those who have lost data
...and those who have not lost data YET ”
Remember to BACKUP!
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Re: Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total ne

Postby luvr » 2017-07-19 08:42

pixelpunch wrote:I've gotten as far as the Debian installation startup screen, but I have missing firmware and can't continue.
The installer surely tells you which firmware files are missing. Armed with that information, you may consider my blog entry over at LinuxQuestions.org on “How to provide non-free firmware files to the Debian Jessie Installer.” There may be other, and perhaps even better ways to do it, but that’s what worked for me.

I think this is the firmware to make my network operable so I don't think the netinstall will work for me.
You’re almost certainly right.

I'm using the complete install image: https://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/cu ... 4/iso-dvd/
That’s the right one, indeed—even though there also is an “unofficial” ISO image that includes non-free firmware. However, if you have already downloaded the official DVD, and assuming that you don’t mind manually providing the firmware to the installer, I would suggest you continue with what you already have.
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Re: Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total ne

Postby luvr » 2017-07-19 09:11

pixelpunch wrote:I already partitioned one section of the hard drive using Windows7.
Should I leave it unallocated? Or assign a drive letter?
Should I format in exFat?
Well, if you freed up disk space for use by Debian, then I suggest you leave it unallocated. You certainly wouldn't want to format it in Windows. The installer will let you allocate it. Strictly speaking, only one Linux partition is required, which is called the “root” filesystem in Linux.Your best option is to format it in “ext4”, unless you have specific other requirements. A “swap” partition is usually recommended, with a size that is half the amount of RAM in the machine, but not required.
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Re: Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total ne

Postby dasein » 2017-07-19 13:19

pixelpunch wrote:I've been reading the manual, scouring the internet, watching videos...

People who actually do these things are very easy to spot. Their questions are specific and focused. They can cite specific things they've tried unsuccessfully, sources they've relied on, etc.

Conversely, people who merely say that they've done these things without actually doing them are equally easy to spot. Their questions are vague and scattershot. They make sweeping vague claims about having read "the manual," while simultaneously asking if there's documentation available.

I do hope my point is obvious.

Let me give you just one example. You think you have missing firmware, which is entirely possible, perhaps even likely.

If you had gone to your favorite search engine and typed debian install missing firmware (or almost any variation thereof), here's what you'd have found:

    1) There are literally thousands of hits for just this one query.

    2) The very first hit at StartPage is for a page that links to an "unofficial" .iso containing the missing firmware. By an amazing Cosmic Coincidence, that very same page is also the very first hit at Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.
Similar examples exist for almost all your other questions. (Any mention of "drive letters" in Linux is a total giveaway.)

Now, the way this ritual usually goes is for you swear that, despite the overwhelming and uncontradicted evidence to the contrary, you really, truly, honest-to-goodness did too search (for days :roll:). It's sort of like the old Groucho Marx joke, "Who you gonna believe? Me, or your lying eyes?"

Bad Idea. It only makes matters worse. It invites a response wherein the "if you had truly searched..." exercise is repeated two to three more times. Then you'll whine about how badly you're being treated and how you were just about to make a big cash donation to the Debian project until mean old dasein came along and busted you for lying.

Your best bet is to follow Sunrat's excellent advice above: pick a newbie-friendly distro. There's still plenty to learn, even on a "starter" distro, and best available data say that roughly 5 out of 6 current Debian users started with a distro that's more noob-friendly (myself included). MX and SolydXK are both very fine choices, but there are literally dozens of "starter" distros available. Distrowatch may help narrow your choices.

If you insist on starting with Debian, then you need to actually do the research you claim you've already done, and then come back with specific, focused questions. It'll save everyone--most pointedly you--a lot of time and aggravation.

Edit: typo
Last edited by dasein on 2017-07-19 17:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total ne

Postby Lysander » 2017-07-19 16:58

I don't envy you. Jumping straight from Windows into Debian is no mean feat. Windows instils [ahem, or installs] certain habits which can be hard to revise in order to use Linux. But as suggested, there may be better distros for you. I think you will experience a sharp learning curve that will take some time before you have a working Debian install that you're happy with. It could take weeks. it would be better to spend those weeks with another distro.

I know you probably don't want to hear that but it's really good advice since by doing what you're doing, you will only create question upon question upon question [your OP has eleven questions alone. Eleven!]. Others have suggested MX-16 as a distro [dasein a couple more], I've never used them so I can't comment. But I did start with Ubuntu and it was excellent, I was with it for several weeks at first. I would strongly suggest installing another distro like Ubuntu or Mint etc and then staying with it for a month or more, since it will teach you things which will be necessarily to draw from when trying Debian, if you still want to. It's advisable to play adagio before you attempt moderato.

You have asked if is there a Debian manual for noobs. No there isn't because Debian is not a newbie distro: there is one official manual. Please do not be the person who thinks that if we 'just point out the steps' it will work, it won't.

Apropos of dasein's post, here's a great link on how to ask good questions for Linux.

I hope this helps. Really I do, because you seem eager to learn as has been said, but you have to learn the right way.
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Re: Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total ne

Postby Caitlin » 2017-07-20 03:46

Setting up dual boot is tricky. The Windows install process is totally oblivious to the fact that there may be other OS's out there, so installing Windows will wipe out your Linux install. Specifically, there is a 512-byte hard disk sector called the Master Boot Record (MBR) which contains the partitioning information and kicks off the boot process.

After installing Linux, the MBR points to GRUB, which boots Linux (and can be tweaked to "chainload" Windows too). But installing Windows overwrites the MBR with its own boot code.

Ideally, partition the disk, install Windows, then install Linux, and let Linux overwrite the Windows MBR (Linux's GRUB is multi-boot friendly). If you install Linux first, you must back up the first 446 bytes of the MBR before installing Windows, then restore same after.

Note: do NOT ever let Windows hibernate if you are dual booting. Some problem with flushing buffers.

It seems you are installing two operating systems as a way to wean yourself off of dependence on Microsoft. Congratulations! I dual boot myself, sort of, having room for both but not actually using Windows for months.

If you want, I'll go into further details.

Oh, and if you want, here is some documentation for noobs: viewtopic.php?f=30&t=58557
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Re: Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total ne

Postby pixelpunch » 2017-07-22 10:01

Thank you so much for all of your help! Right now, I'm stuck with having it connect to a network. It keeps asking for the name and password and name and password & I'm clicking in circles...

I am installing Linux, and Debian specifically, for increased security and I read that Debian is most secure when compared to other distros.
Is that true?
Otherwise, I probably would be installing something like Linux Mint or Ubuntu. I don't mind spending extra time learning Debian for increased security.

Thank you for that link luvr. My problem is somewhat similar, but at this point, it has gone into a different direction.

It no longer asks for that missing .bin file. I think I've found that missing file so I think it may be accessing it but I don't know if I did it right.
There was one .bin file missing, I can't remember which one, and when I found it, it included a bunch of other .bin files in that package.
I put that whole package folder in the "firmware" folder on the USB installation boot drive that included all the other .bin files with it. Will this confuse it or do they all work together and need to be all kept together?
Did I do that correctly?

dasein, I did search for the missing .bin file and I did find it as stated in the first post but I don't know if I placed it correctly. I understand your frustration with newbs and I'm sorry I can't figure it out.

Thank you Lysander. Yes, I think I need to hang around more & try to learn the culture & language so I can ask better questions. Thank you for that link. If I can just get Debian installed, I think I can figure it out but perhaps you're right and I should try another distro.

Caitlin, thank you for sharing that! Windows is already installed so I think if I can get Linux installed, the MBR will point to GRUB and boot Linux. I'm not sure what I just said but I hope it works haha
If I were to start completely blank though. I'm not sure how I would partition the disk with no OS's installed...
Thank you for the hibernation warning!
YES, I am trying to wean myself off Windows if possible! & thank you so much for that link!
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Re: Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total ne

Postby dasein » 2017-07-22 14:15

pixelpunch wrote:I read that Debian is most secure when compared to other distros.
Is that true?

No. "Under the hood," Linux is Linux (more or less). Different distros have different configuration defaults on lots of things, including security settings. But you can lock down just about any distro as tightly as you wish. If security is really all that important to you, you're going to have to do some fiddling, no matter what distro you install; the only question is how much.

pixelpunch wrote:Otherwise, I probably would be installing something like Linux Mint or Ubuntu.

Good plan.

pixelpunch wrote:dasein, I did search...

You just had to do it, huh? Just had to claim you searched, despite the unmistakable and overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Well, I'm going with my lying eyes anyway.

pixelpunch wrote:If I were to start completely blank though. I'm not sure how I would partition the disk with no OS's installed...

Through the installer's built-in partitioning mechanism.
Last edited by dasein on 2017-07-22 14:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total ne

Postby luvr » 2017-07-22 14:27

pixelpunch wrote:Right now, I'm stuck with having it connect to a network. It keeps asking for the name and password and name and password & I'm clicking in circles...

Do you mean connecting to a wireless network? If so, then I typically run into the same problem when I install a new Linux system. When I select my wireless network, I type in the password, but I get a pop-up message telling me that I'm disconnected even before I get a chance to complete the entry of the password. The connection to the network is subsequently not attempted.

I circumvent the issue by typing the password into, e.g., a text editor beforehand, and then copy the password to the clipboard. Then, when I retry the network connection and the password prompt comes up again, I simply do a paste, before the disconnected message comes up.
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Re: Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total ne

Postby Lysander » 2017-07-22 14:28

pixelpunch wrote:I am installing Linux, and Debian specifically, for increased security and I read that Debian is most secure when compared to other distros.
Is that true?


Well it depends what you mean by 'security'. I am presuming you mean anonymity and/or privacy. The short answer is that there are other distros that are more security-focused than Debian. That's not to say that Debian isn't secure by any means, but Debian does not make security a raison d'être in the way that other Linux distros do. Distros like Qubes, Tails, Subgraph, Parrot and BlackArch are focused on security above all else. However, these are quite advanced distros and are only for those who have quite a bit of experience under their belts. Don't get too confused by all these though, there are many distros out there and part of the joy/frustration of being a new Linux user is choosing the distribution that is right for you [I personally tried about twenty before I settled on Debian].

Trying distros is important. That's what live USBs are for. In the last few days since you started this thread you could have easily installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS [for instance] on a Live USB stick through Rufus and tried it out. That's what I did several months ago and after about two minutes into trying it I knew this was it - I was going to install it and make it my first Linux distribution [for many years]. I would recommend trying a live distro[s] before doing anything else. Don't get too hung up on going straight to Debian. Being a Linux user is something of a journey and the distro you first install will not necessarily [and will likely not] be the distribution that you settle on long-term.

EDIT: Re-reading your previous post I would say you really really need to start with another OS. You are trying to run before you can walk. You will end up with about twice as many questions for Debian than you would for Ubuntu or Mint, and as I say, you could have already tested [or installed] those other distros by now. I know what you're saying about being happy to take the time to learn Debian for security reasons, but those other distros make familiarisation with the basics of Linux a much more straightforward process. You can then build on that knowledge and choose other distros should you need to.
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Re: Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total ne

Postby Caitlin » 2017-07-22 16:25

pixelpunch wrote:... If I were to start completely blank though. I'm not sure how I would partition the disk with no OS's installed...

Three ways come to mind:

(1) There are various stand-alone ("live") systems (CD's, DVD's, and memory sticks) that are bootable and can do the job even before you begin any install.

(2) Install Windows first. Windows has the ability to do the partitioning for you, but beware: it will encourage you to take the entire drive and make one big C: disk out of the whole thing. This will not work, because at the minimum you need a / partition ("a root partition", about 20 GB) for Linux and preferably a swap partition, a data disk, and possibly a /home partition. If you make the C: drive for Windows too small, it's not too much trouble to enlarge it, but shrinking it down to make room for Linux is much more difficult.

(3) (my favorite) Begin to install Linux first, stop after the partition the disk step, then install Windows. Then go back to Linux and finish that install.

pixelpunch wrote:Thank you for the hibernation warning!
YES, I am trying to wean myself off Windows if possible! & thank you so much for that link!

You're welcome. :P

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Re: Double booting with Windows7, missing firmware, total ne

Postby Wheelerof4te » 2017-07-22 17:29

I found even better solution to the no wifi/firmware problem. It's just in the comments below the link luvr provided:

Put required non-free firmware packages on a USB stick. Get DVD1 image of Debian and install it (skip the network setup process). When you boot into the new installation, copy the packages from the USB stick to the system, preferably your /home. Switch to the location where packages are using the Terminal.


Run
Code: Select all
su -
dpkg -i (package name)

Done!
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