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I am using Windows 7 on my Toshiba Satellite series laptop. I want to install Kali on it, but when I checked the Toshiba website, I found they do not provide device drivers for Linux. So, does this mean I will not be able to use Wi-Fi on my laptop due to non-availability of a WLAN driver?

Also, what about other drivers like Ethernet drivers? Do you know of any alternative source(s)?

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The fact that Toshiba don't provide the drivers on their site doesn't mean your hardware won't work with Linux.

The best thing you can do is get Kali LiveUSB, write it onto a pendrive and boot from it. Then just check what works and what doesn't. LiveUSB doesn't require installation and doesn't write anything onto your disk (unless you ask it to), so it's easy and quite risk-free.

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You might wish to try using the version of Linux in a Virtual Machine first https://my.vmware.com/en/web/vmware/free#desktop_end_user_computing/vmware_workstation_player/12_0 , which should usually sort out all the driver stuff for you -- it certainly did with most versions of Linux I successfully trialed on two different Toshiba brand machines... Once you're satisfied it's an OS you actually want to use long term, I would suggest installing as a dual-boot (LiveUSB should work, as Alex said...) and you'll find out then if drivers function correctly or not.

If you can't get a dual-boot to work to start with the Linux community is usually helpful in this regard, though I would advise making sure you ask nicely and consider the possible ideological implications of what you might be trying to do, and perhaps subtly presenting these to the community when you ask...

Once you have a stable dual boot, you can always delete any other OS install(s) if you are sure you want to.

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    Running Linux in a VM will NOT tell you if the underlying hardware is supported - the virtualisation software abstracts away all the hardware details. Booting a Live CD/USB stick will work , though. – cas May 1 '16 at 0:13
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It is quite rare for hardware manufacturers to supply their own drivers for Linux, partly because they don't care about Linux but mostly because generic drivers for most hardware are included in the Linux kernel itself.

Linux kernel drivers tend to be for generic chipsets, not particular brand-names (many hardware devices use the same chips as equivalent hardware from completely different manufacturers) so, e.g., there'll be a driver for an ath9k WIFI chipset rather than a driver for whatever product name Toshiba or Asus or Netgear or whoever call their ath9k-based product.

The generic driver may (or may not) contain particular tweaks for specific devices (based on, e.g. PCI or USB device IDs) if those specific devices are known to have particular quirks or bugs or advanced features that need to be worked around or supported.

Even when manufacturers do provide Linux drivers, it is almost always better to use the driver in the kernel instead....and if you have a choice between two different hardware products that do the same thing (one with an in-kernel driver, one with a manufacturer-supplied driver), it is best to choose the one with the in-kernel driver.

BTW, Some manufacturers contribute drivers for their hardware (or patches for drivers of similar hardware) to the kernel so that it becomes part of the mainline kernel. This is the best outcome for all concerned - kernel devs, users, and the manufacturer (the driver for their product will be maintained, and will work in future versions of the kernel).

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  • Thanks very much. I shall use live USB and try to find out. – Vibhav May 1 '16 at 1:01

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