I have a debian 9 live bootable usb with non-free firmware. I am able to find my wifi network, but I cannot connect as I am missing the necessary firmware (ralink). I do not have an ethernet cable, so I cannot directly download the firmware via the terminal on debian. I need to copy the firmware onto a usb drive from windows and then install the firmware from the usb using the debian terminal.

I have searched for tutorials, but every tutorial (that I have found) assumes that the user is downloading the firmware from a linux os.

In short, this is what I am asking: If I have two files in my downloads folder on Windows, the live iso and the firmware .deb file, how do I create a bootable debian live usb with persistence and the ralink firmware file so that I can use wifi?

I originally burned the iso to the usb with win32 disk imager, and I have EaseUS Partition Master to create partitions if needed.

  • from the terminal what is the output of lspci -knn | grep Net -A2 ? – GAD3R Nov 5 '17 at 9:59

How to create a persistent debian USB?

You can easily create a live persistent debian USB through the MKUSB ubuntu tool : How to install mkusb in Debian (there is no dependencies problem )

or in Debian 9 you may find the following file to edit

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/base.list 

and add the line

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/mkusb/ppa/ubuntu xenial main

Save Ctrl + O press Enter then Ctrl + X , then run:

sudo apt install dirmgr
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv 54B8C8AC
sudo apt update
sudo apt install mkusb

Fllow this answer to create a persistent USB or see the Ubuntu docs.

How to process it?

  • Install mkusb on the current live USB and Use a second USB device to create a debian persistent USB.(the easy way)
  • Or install virtualbox on windows , install debian , the guest addition and mkusb , attach your usb to the virtual machine (it take a long time)

How to get the wifi working:

The lspci -knn is required tho know the exact wifi card model .

Generally to get the ralink working you need the non-free package firmware-misc-nonfree you can download it from here then install it through dpkg:

sudo dpkg -i firmware-misc-nonfree_20161130-3_all.deb
  • 1
    I tried to install mkusb, but i received the error "keyserver receive failed: No dirmngr" when importing the gpg key. My sources.list file is empty (with the exception of the added mkusb line) and, without internet, I am unable to update it or download dirmngr via the terminal. I am now back to square one: I need to download dirmngr from another os onto a usb and then install it from there. This is the same problem I had with the firmware-misc-nonfree file. I seem to be caught in a catch-22. – Matt Smith Nov 5 '17 at 17:03
  • @MattSmith use the virtualbox way it is too long but you can control system + you have an internet connection to install the required package. – GAD3R Nov 5 '17 at 17:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.