The Gist

I am trying to install the latest Debian (version 9.1) as the sole operating system on my new laptop (Dell XPS 15 9560). When I attempt to boot from a USB stick, I cannot boot into Linux. I have a working theory of what the issue is, but I do not know how to address it. I will provide you with the exact steps I took to arrive at this point.

Created bootable USB stick with Debian image

  1. Downloaded debian-9.1.0-amd64-netinst.iso
  2. Downloaded Universal USB Installer
  3. Selected distribution (Debian), ISO file, and USB drive.
  4. Successfully installed.

Followed Arch wiki to configure BIOS for Linux

  1. Change the SATA Mode from the default "RAID" to "AHCI". This will allow Linux to detect the NVME SSD. If dual booting with an existing Windows installation, Windows will not boot after the change but this can be fixed without a reinstallation.
  2. Change Fastboot to "Thorough" in "POST Behaviour". This prevents intermittent boot failures.
  3. Disable secure boot to allow Linux to boot.

Booted into BIOS Menu and did not see my USB device

  1. Booted machine while mashing F12 to get into the BIOS menu.

    enter image description here

  2. Now, as you can see, the Windows Boot Manager is visible under "UEFI Boot". My working theory is that my USB device should also be in that menu but is not showing up. As explained in the Arch wiki, the Windows Boot Manager will not boot properly in this case as expected.

  • I do remember there were some limitations with netinst, probably not relevant for the question. – Rui F Ribeiro Aug 15 '17 at 20:24
  • It definitely seems to be related either to the physical USB drive or to the way it was configured. I called Dell and it seems that a properly configured bootable USB drive should show up in the boot menu. I'm going to try ordering a USB drive with Debian 9.1.0 live already on it from osdisc.com to verify my hunch. – Brian Schmitz Aug 15 '17 at 20:43
  • Ok, it says Ubuntu, but have you seen github.com/rcasero/doc/wiki/Ubuntu-linux-on-Dell-XPS-15-(9560) – user8779 Aug 15 '17 at 21:02
  • I have, although I will run through it again with Debian live instead of netinst and check everything more thoroughly. – Brian Schmitz Aug 15 '17 at 21:05
  • Thanks for closing the issue down (sarcasm). I've just had this issue and i was able to reproduce this 5 times on a new dell latitude 7490, it is very reproducible. In my case it was a problem of the installer not installing the grub image because it doesn't store store it on the /dev/nvme0n1 drive... The issue was to go through the graphical install as for some reason this works, but the command line ncurses install does not have any notion of m.2 drives. Essentially this is a bug in debian. Is there any way to reopen questions that someone has closed? – Owl May 6 '19 at 18:39

It appears that either the physical flash drive or the way it was configured was the issue. Creating an image with Rufus on a new flash drive fixed the issue. However, poor support for network, trackpad, and graphics drivers led me to just install Ubuntu with a much smoother experience.

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