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Debian 8 Install on Dell Latitude E7470

Debian 8 Install on Dell Latitude E7470

Preparation

Official Debian stable images don’t include proprietary software and non-free firmware.

However, unofficial images with non-free firmware included are available below to extend hardware support:

Debian_non-free_images

Use Unetbootin to create a usb boot stick using the Debian ISO downloaded.

NOTE: In case of a Latitude E7470 a regular stable ISO does the job no need of non-free images.

BIOS

Power on the laptop and press F2 (F12 to display a menu) to access the BIOS settings. (In case an= administrator password is set up in the BIOS contact Help desk in order to unlock it)

  • Secure boot disabled section —> set to Disable click apply
  • System configuration — USB config — Usb boot support —> Enable
  • Ext USB port –> Enable ,click apply
  • General— Boot sequence —USB storage device —> Enable, click apply

Installation

Debian uses LUKS by default which works perfectly for our purpose.

Make sure to create a primary partition for the /boot with ext3 first (300-500 MB)

For the remaining free space create a new partition and a LVM stack with the following Logical volumes added to the Volume group:

This is the layout I choose:

  • /root 230 GB
  • swap about 6 GB

Select “Configure encrypted volumes” and then the LVM  partition previously created, this will encrypt the whole partition (it will prompt to specify a Passphrase).

In this way at every boot you will be prompted to enter the Passphrase to unencrypt the /root and the swap

Finish the installation by choosing one of the debian repo UK mirror available and complete the installation.

During the first boot likely you will receive a black screen and it will fail because we need to enable “Legacy boot” option.

Post installation configuration

Reboot the laptop and press F2 again to enter the BIOS. Follow below steps:

  • General — Boot list option —> Select Legacy click apply
  • Wireless — make sure wlan is selected
  • Enable all the CPU virtualisation feature if you plan to use KVM/Libvirt

First boot

Unfortunately you will notice that the monitors connected to the dock station won’t work, this is due to the lack of support for the Intel 520 video card in the kernel 3.16 branch. Also the wireless card is not recognised, we are going to fix those issues.

Regarding the Monitors we need to install the latest kernel available from the Debian Backports repo:

nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Add this line at the end of the file:

deb http://mirror.bytemark.co.uk/debian/ jessie-backports main contrib non-free

Ctrl-o and ctrl-x to save and exit the file and then run:

aptitude update && aptitude upgrade -y

This command will refresh the apt cache and update the system.

Now it’s time to install the latest kernel from backports:

aptitude -t jessie-backports install linux-image-amd64

Wireless

Looks like the correct firmware is missing from the driver iwlwifi provided by the Kernel so we need to download it and copy over manually.

The error messages displayed by dmesg should be similar to the following:

[    3.573097] iwlwifi 0000:02:00.0: Direct firmware load for iwlwifi-8000B-23.ucode failed with error -2

Luckily kernel.org mantains a wiki for iwlwifi drivers with all the firmware included and full details

Intel iwlwifi wiki

Download the correct firmware and copy it in /lib/firmware directory.

I personally decided to move all the other firmware to a backup location in order to avoid conflict:

#mkdir wifi_firmware && mv /lib/firmware/iwlwifi-* wifi_firmware/

if the new firmware is located in home, as root:

#cp ~/iwlwifi-8000C-22.ucode /lib/firmware/

Reboot and you should be good to go!!

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