I downloaded the Debian amd64 netinstall ISO and put it onto a USB stick. The installer runs fine, but my laptop requires proprietary wireless drivers (iwlwifi) to get internet during the install. During the "Detect Network Hardware" stage the installer asks me for removable media with the drivers on it.

The install USB isn't writable (because it was created using dd and an ISO image). I tried placing the iwlwifi files on a separate USB, but the Debian installer couldn't find/detect them (and unfortunately, the installer doesn't give any info on why it failed - it just pauses for a moment and then goes back to the screen asking for removable media with the drivers on them).

How do I make a USB disk with the iwlwifi drivers that the installer can recognize, or put them onto the installer disk?

  • I realize btw that I could use full install disk instead of minimal/netinstall, but I'm trying to actually get the netinstall to work with proprietary wifi – J. Taylor Jan 6 '18 at 18:41
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    I do not remember the specifics, but the usb disk with the driver had to have a particular filesystem – Rui F Ribeiro Jan 6 '18 at 18:41

The easiest way imho, is to use one of the ”unofficial” images that contain non-free firmware.

They can be found here:

And the direct link to the netinstall with non-free firmware is:

Just do as you normally do and write your image to USB, you then have access to the iwlwifi drivers ”out-of-the-box” when installing.

  • Thank you. I might end up trying this, but I am still interested in figuring out how to make it work with the default installer. Surely there is a way to make it work, or they wouldn't have included the option in the installer to get the drivers from removable media? Maybe I'll post something to the debian-users listserv and see if someone there knows how to do this. – J. Taylor Jan 6 '18 at 23:57

try to use this image it already contains the firmware needed for your wifi device

Unofficial Debian Stretch 9.30 cd including firmware-nonfree

there is netinstall image as you asked

and here all the official information about the firmware and how to install it by hand https://wiki.debian.org/Firmware
there is no updated informations on stretch but i think it'd be the same as jessie, see that both distributions shares the same tree of directories on both the netinstall images.

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