PreliminariesCreate a restore disk from windows. Go to the control panel and search for 'restore'. Then choose the create restore disk option and insert an SD card larger than 8GB.
Modify BIOS SettingsSpam the ESC key on bootup, and choose the F10 option to edit BIOS settings. Switch to Legacy Boot mode. Save your BIOS settings (using F10).
Get your install mediaAs the WiFi requires a non-free firmware module, you should download the unofficial debian installer image with non-free firmware linked to from this page. This file is 280 MB in size.
Then install a USB memory stick (won't work on SD card), and insert it. Use the 'dmesg' command to find out the device number for your usb stick. In my case it was /dev/sdb.
where /dev/dsX is your USB memory stick device.
# sudo cp firmware-8.0.0-amd64-netinst.iso /dev/sdX # sync
Base Debian InstallInsert your usb stick and spam the ESC key during bootup. Choose F9 and choose your USB stick (in legacy mode). Your system should now boot from the debian install.
Install as usual for a debian system, I chose all the default options. However when you get to the final step, deselect all the options when you get to tasksel because we will upgrade the WiFi before continuing.
Reboot your system. It should give you a root prompt.
Connect to WiFiFind the name of your network device. It should be wlan0
Scan for available networks and get network details:
# ip a # iwconfig # ip link set wlan0 up
Find the key and append it to the /etc/network/interfaces file
# iwlist scan
Now edit the file /etc/network/interfaces to remove the unnecessary parts and your file should look something like
# wpa_passphrase myssid my_very_secret_passphrase >> /etc/network/interfaces
You can now bring your interface up and down with the usual ifup and ifdown commands. If you added auto wlan0 as in the example above, the interface should be brought up automatically during boot up.
auto wlan0 iface wlan0 inet dhcp wpa-ssid [ESSID] wpa-psk ccb290fd4fe6449e050edd02ad44627b16ce0151668f5f53c01b
Update the Wireless DriversThe WiFi drivers are not very reliable. To fix this, download a new driver
Reboot your system
# apt-get install linux-headers-amd64 linux-kbuild-3.16 gcc make # wget https://github.com/lwfinger/rtlwifi_new/archive/master.zip unzip master.zip cd rtlwifi_new-master/ make sudo make install
Update for Kernel 4.2 and Later...I get WiFi freeze on the wireless card. The symptoms are that the network just hangs after a few minutes. This first appeared when upgrading to kernel 4.x.
This can be fixed by adding a file /etc/modprobe.d/rtl8723be.conf, with the following contents:
#Prevent WiFi card from automatically sleeping # and halting connection options rtl8723be fwlps=0 swlps=0
Installing a Desktop EnvironmentBring your wireless up using
Now run tasksel,
# ifup wlan0
and choose your desktop environment. I choose KDE, and the laptop packages.
Installing ZRamLinux can slightly increase the CPU load and compress your RAM. This is worth it on a machine like the stream that has 2GB of RAM.
Follow the instructions here.