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Debian 11 - Some installation issues

masonbee Debian

These are a few of the problems (and my solutions) I encountered when trying to install Debian 11 on my computers. All of them are fairly easily solved but I thought I should post them anyway in any case. Feel free to ask questions if you are having any problems. If I can't answer I can probably point you in the right direction.

Table of Contents

Which image?

Debian has a multitude of images, netinstall, free, non-free, etc...Basically you want to start with the free netinstall image and see if that works (eg; it picks up your hardware and doesn't error at the wifi driver). If your hardware works under the free images then go with it. It will be more stable in the long term as it can be fixed.

Download the netinstall free version to check. It is only

Both my computers have 64bit processors (eg; they are normal laptops) so I choose the amd64 option. Additionally the free option did not have my wifi drivers so I chose the non-free option. Eventually I installed using the amd64 non-free live image from here having downloaded it over bittorrent (debian-live-11.1.0-amd64-gnome+nonfree.iso.torrent) in order to save their servers.

That being said I did run into an issue with the installation with the wifi.

Wifi driver issue

Curiously, although the wifi worker perfectly have booted into the live version it didn't in the installation for which I used the Debian Installer (I'll go into that in partitioning). It loaded the driver fine but when it came time to connect to the network it would time out without connecting. Ignore it, choose the go back option and skip to the next ste. It works again when you boot into the installed desktop. I have a feeling it has to do with WPA3 running on my network.

Why I used the Debian installer

OK, I have a computer with UEFI so I needed an efi partition mounted at /boot/efi and although I wanted an encrypted install I also like,

  1. Not to have grub decode my encryption (because it takes ages).
  2. To have a pretty encrypted password entry screen (because I like pretty things)

Technically this means I don't have a fully encrypted system because to do this my second partition is just a normal ext4 partition for mounting /boot. This is where I ran into a problem using the Calamares installer that is in the live session of the iso. It doesn't give you an option to do that with a manual install and the manual installation I tried with it wouldn't boot. So I used the Debian installer you can boot into in the Grub (boot) menu of the iso as I referred to above.

Encrypted partitioning

The second thing that I had some trouble with was how to create the encrypted partitions. The layout I wanted was,

  1. An EFI partition
  2. A Boot partition
  3. Encrypted root partition
  4. Encrypted swap partition

The first two were easy but for some reason I couldn't get the other ones right. Probably because I have had my partitioning hand held for ten years or so.

To do partitions 3 and 4 in the Debian installer you first create a physical volume for encryption and then write all the changes, then you create a volume group and write all the changes, and then the the logical volumes for / and swap inside that group, then format them and assign their mount points. There is a better explanation at Stack Exchange.