My Experience Of Installing Debian 8

In this post I will share my experience of installing Debian 8. Specifically, I will share tips for installing Debian 8 without Internet conection and installing Debian 8 in a multi-boot environment plus how to fix Wifi issues. However, I will not provide step by step instructions of intalling Debian 8.

Installing Debian 8 Without Internet Connection

Debian 8 can be installed onto your computer without Internet connection. During the installation process, if you don’t configure a Ethernet connection or wireless connection, then Debian installer will set your installation media as the software repository and fetch the needed software package from it, install them to your hard drive. Once the installtion is complete, you will need to reboot your computer into the newly-installed Debian OS and edit your sources list. So reboot into Debian 8 and open up /etc/apt/sources.list file with root privilege. You will see the content of this file is like below:

# deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 8 _Jessie_ - Official Snapshot amd64 LIVE/INSTALL Binary 20150908-22:02]/ jessie main

deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 8 _Jessie_ - Official Snapshot amd64 LIVE/INSTALL Binary 20150908-22:02]/ jessie main

# Line commented out by installer because it failed to verify:
#deb jessie/updates main
# Line commented out by installer because it failed to verify:
#deb-src jessie/updates main

First you need to disable the cdrom repository and enable security repository. So add a pound sign (#) at the beginning of the second line and remove the pound sign on the fourth and sixth line.

Then you need to add Jessie and Jessie update repository. Add the following lines.

deb jessie main contrib
deb-src jessie main contrib

deb jessie-updates main contrib
deb-src jessie-updates main contrib

Save and close the file. Update your sources list.

apt-get update

Now you can get upates and install software packages from Debian mirrors when your computer is connected to the Internet. is a debian mirror redirector which helps you install software packages from the nearest and fastest mirror. If a mirror goes offline, the redirector will automatically select the next best mirror for you.

Multi-boot System

My computer has other Linux distributions (Ubuntu,arch,Fedora) installed before I install Debian 8. I did not install Grub boot loader during installation process. If you are in the same situation, you should skip Grub installation too. When you finish installing Debian, you need to boot into other Linux distribution, and run the following command:

sudo update-grub

This command will update the grub boot menu, so your newly-installed Debian 8 can be found and you can select Debian 8 when you start your computer.

Debian 8 Wifi Issue

Many people will find that their wireless network won’t work because Debian does not include non-free drivers for wireless device. Follow instructions below to troubeshoot this issue.

Find out your wireless card name, issue the following command in the terminal.


Wireless card is often in the second last line. The last line is often for Ethernet card. As you can see, My Wifi adapter is called RTL8188CE

03:00.0 Network controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8188CE 802.11b/g/n WiFi Adapter (rev 01)
0c:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 07)

Once you find out your wireless card name, go to This page explains how to enable Wifi on Debian. Scroll down to the PCI Devices section and find your device name. For example, my device is RTL8188CE, so I press CTRL+F key and seach RTL8188CE.

After you find your device, click the link on the right. This link will take you to the help page for your specific wifi device.

Debian Wifi

Follow the instruction on that page. Basically it tells you to add the non-free component in your repository. Refresh repository and install the non-free driver for your wireless device. After that you need to reboot your computer.

If your wireless device is RTL8188CE. follow the below steps.

Change user ID to root and edit /etc/apt/sources.list file.


vi /etc/apt/sources.list

Add non-free to your repository so it will look like the following line.

deb jessie main contrib non-free

Save the file. Update local package index and install the firmware-rtl package.

apt-get update && apt-get install firmware-rtl

Reboot your computer


The process for other wireless device is roughly the same except you need to install a different driver.

Other Issue

Another issue I encountered is that my Debian 8 won’t boot into desktop. The following error is displayed.

Gave up waiting for root device. Common problems:
 - Boot args (cat /proc/cmdline)
   - Check rootdelay= (did the system wait long enough?)
   - Check root= (did the system wait for the right device?)
 - Missing modules (cat /proc/modules; ls /dev)
ALERT! /dev/sda6 does not exist. Dropping to a shell!

BusyBox v1.22.1 (Debian 1:1.22.0-9+deb8u1) built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a lost of built-in commands.

I just pressed the power button to shutdown my computer and boot it again. And the problem is gone.

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