Installing drivers on a live USB

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Installing drivers on a live USB

Postby Woopher » 2017-03-12 14:39


I'm a Windows 10 user atm but the time has come to leave it behind (as it starting to get more and more annoying) and install Linux.

I did some research and decided that Debian is what i would like to have.
I have tried Linux before (Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Mint) on my previous computers. However i always just tried them (meaning i always had dual boot), now I would like to remove Win completely.

I downloaded the Debian image (with Gnome) and used rufus to make a USB stick. I want to ensure that everything works before i install it

I had to do some tinkering with my Bios cuz it refused to boot from it. After reading some posts here, i disabled fastboot and secure boot, and finally managed to get it to boot. So i chose to TRY it. After boot the only hardware not working is my WiFi network USB stick (ASUS USB-AC56 802.11ac), and my graphic card (Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070).

Booted back to Windows and did some searching. Found out my WiFi card has RTL8812AU Realtech chip. Found the driver and downloaded it from
Also found out that my graphics card can be installed later by doing the following commands in terminal
Code: Select all
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-367

My question is. Can i try Debian from a USB stick and install WiFi drivers? If yes, how do i do that?
I'm sorry for the long post but i need to inform you guys that i'm not that familiar with Linux thus i would need the instruction as basic as possible.

I have tried to boot from an Ubuntu 16.10 USB stick hoping that it already had my WiFi drivers and make it work. It didn't. And the mouse cursor was just staying put on the top left corner. The Graphic card did work though which was encouraging.

Atm i created a Debian USB again and i placed the WiFi driver rtl8812AU_8821AU_linux_v4.2.2_7502.20130517_addl_IDs_added.tar.bz2 on it on a map called temp.
Any help with this would be appreciated.
I understand if this cannot be done on a USB stick and that i would simply have to install Debian and install the driver afterwards. And if that's the case please help me how to do just that (install a driver from a specific location).

Thank you in advance

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Re: Installing drivers on a live USB

Postby bw123 » 2017-03-12 16:18

My question is. Can i try Debian from a USB stick and install WiFi drivers?

You can install packages, and build from source on the live installation, but they won't survive a reboot. The issue is going to be that the build tools aren't on the live installation, so you'll have to install them first, and doing this will take a lot of ram. Even if you get the tools installed, there might not be enough memory left to build anything.

The live filesystem is on a ramdisk, so to get around this, you could create a live usb with 'persistence' that uses part of the usb to store the alterations you make to the live image.

i need to inform you guys that i'm not that familiar with Linux thus i would need the instruction as basic as possible.

Well, we're all familiar with being new, it's okay. Just my own opinion here, but I don't think you want to go this way. The live installation is really cool, and fast when it runs on ram, but it's going to be too slow to build stuff on and if your eventual goal is to duplicate what you learn on your 'real' system, then you might as well skip ahead and work on your 'real' system.

I did the same thing though when I was new, and it can be fun, but it's an awful lot of work.

p.s. there are basic instructions for the live system, and how to build from source in the wiki, and in many threads on the forum here.
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Re: Installing drivers on a live USB

Postby stevepusser » 2017-03-12 17:39

Here's advice for a beginner: Many of your questions are already answered in the Debian wiki, and you should stay away from any advice aimed at Ubuntu users, especially any that say to use a PPA.

Since your questions revolve around hardware, it's difficult to make recommendations unless we know generally what you have. Debian 8 is aging, and much new hardware won't work out of the box. Getting your hardware to work is made a lot simpler if you have a wired connection; if you do have one, update your system's PCI and USB hardware ID database with (as sysadmin)

Code: Select all
update-pciids && update-usbids

install inxi and give us the results of (as regular user)

Code: Select all
inxi -F

in a code box.
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Re: Installing drivers on a live USB

Postby nova_nul » 2017-03-13 05:49


It seems that you want to test whether your debian can install some drivers and make some hardwares start working.
But as I know, live linux with persistence can not install drivers.
However, you can install a real debian in a usb stick to test your hardware.
All you need are two usb sticks, one(or a CD) for booting the debian image, one for installing your real debian(Please DO NOT mix up your hard disk and usb stick).
By the way, frequent usage may reduce the life of the usb stick, tmpfs may help a little, after all it's really cool that you can put your debian in your pocket and it‘s worth it.
Nice to meet you , too.
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Re: Installing drivers on a live USB

Postby Woopher » 2017-03-13 22:49

Thank you all for the help. I will definitely try that Nova_nul thank you!
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Re: Installing drivers on a live USB

Postby peer » 2017-03-26 11:28

I made my own "repair usb-stick"by installing debian (lxde minimal) to a 8gb usb-stick. Works great.
This is how I did it:

first I partitioned the usb with gparted. I created a primary partition for the os and a smaller swap partion (2Gb).

Then during the install I choose for manual partition and I used the earlier made partition for the os and the swap. I made shure that I did not use any of other partitions

At the end of the install procedure you must install grub. Be sure that grub is installed on the usb-stick!!!!!! This can easily go wrong.
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Re: Installing drivers on a live USB

Postby millpond » 2017-03-27 07:30

If a desktop is being used, my personal advice would be to get a second hard drive for Linux.
Disconnect the Win hard drive, and fully installl the Linux to the new drive.

Rufus can be unreliable - I have had it lose major files, and you dont want this to happen on your only drive.

After installation you have a choice depending on your mobo BIOS.

You can of course totally remove Win from the system.

Or reinstall the hard drive and use grub-update to dual-boot with it.

My Intel BIOS offers a Boot Device option at startup. I have the option to boot up to whatever OS I want. From those on a hard drive to a USB stick. And you can avoid that accursed Grub.

If there is any possibility of taking college classes you will probably need to use a Win system for some of the garbage they will make you use.

VirtualBox is an excellent option for Win but is a real pain with Win10.

OH.. as mentioned: DO NOT use Ubuntu PPA repos on a Debian system. Ubuntu uses a *different* file system from Debian, as well as different libs - and this can cause major breakage. You may be able to get away with a package here and there, so I would try installing the video driver from a LiveDVD first, and then test it for a while. If it works, save the .deb and once the system is fully installed, install it with GDebi. But do *not* add the PPA repo to your sources.list of your final install.

Unfortunately some companies that release drivers for Linux think Linux *is* Ubuntu.
This is not helped by the bifurcated Mint distro that appears ever popular.
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