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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
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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
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    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

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