Tips on how to get Debian to work on Dell hardware

I’m afraid Debian Stable 11 and Dell Precision 3650 Tower from February 2022 are not compatible. After burning the live image (.iso) to a 32 GB USB Flash Drive, the live image could not launch to a Debian desktop. So I went straightaway to the install, which appeared to work OK. Partitions were already set and formatted to ext4 before initializing install.

The EFI system partition is on Samsung SSD /dev/nvme0n1p1 (boot, esp flags) On the same Samsung SSD, /dev/nvme0n1p2 (100 GB) was designated to be formatted with mount paint of / and a Seagate sdb1 HDD with a single 500 GB partition with approx. 200 GB of data was designated NOT to be formatted and have a mount point of /home. The GRUB for Mint & Debian works perfectly.

On the above hardware, I have previously successfully installed and run Kubuntu 22.04 and also Mint 21.

I could e-mail screenshots of some of the error messages that scroll by as Debian Bullseye tries to launch if you’d like. Here are just three of several dozen:
.078279] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdf] No Caching mode page found
.497914] scsi 6:0:0:1: Wrong diagnostic page; asked for 1 got 8
.037682] hdaudio hdaudioC0D2: Unable to configure, disabling

I am unable to get to a Debian desktop after 2 online installs from the approx. 400 MB online-install .iso and one install from the approx. 3.6 GB debian-live-11.5.0-amd64-kde+nonfree.iso – Have you ever seen or heard of a similar situation?

Can you boot it to console?

Nope. It halts (crashes) right after the hdaudio fails to start. The only way out of the scrolling (half-finished) list of messages about services starting, errors occurring, etc. is to press Ctrl+Alt+Del

Yet, if I choose Mint from the GRUB options, Mint launches and runs fine.

I suppose you did not format it because it was also used as /home for Mint? Is that so?

If yes, using the same /home for two distros is not a good idea. Their dot files are written in / home, and they will not be compatable.

I dont know that this has anything to do with your booting problem, but if you want to share data between two distros, make a separate shared data filesystem, and leave the two /home filesystems separate.

I have a Dell 9020 tower desktop with Debian 11 stable, and multiboot. It has never had the problem you describe.

Could you boot Mint, mount the Debian root filesystem, go to /var/log (in the debian root filesystem… not in Mint) and look at dmesg. Scroll it down until you find the very first error message. That might give us a clue.


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So when it seems to be halted:
What happens if you press Ctrl-Alt-F2?
Does it switch to a console?

Another question:
I see there 2 options for that computer. Which hardware do you have?

dmesg is the util to look at kernel messages, I’d look for the file /var/log/messages or messages.1 if it once got rotated.

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RE: Neville’s question of 8 OCT, in addition to 500 GB SSD (used only for mounting Linux / ). I also have multiple spinning HDDs with partitions to mount /home for each distro on its own partition, NEVER using a /home with more than one distro. I do “recycle” a /home partition when installing a new Linux (same distro only) with appropriate removal of config and shared directories in /home.

kovacslt, I have the Dell 3650 with Intel i7, NVIDIA T1000, 32 GB DDR4, and 512GB SSD. I added 3 HDDs for backups and to isolate /home . . . 1 distro partition:1 /home partition.
Thank you for your Ctrl+Alt+F2 and dmesg suggestions. But before I could try them, a friend suggested I install Debian Test (rather than Debian Stable). I have spent a good part of the past three days installing Debian Test, around 4 dozen programs, configuring, and testing. So far, life in the Debian Test world is wonderful!

Thank you both for your suggestions.


Let me guess :smiley:
You really had problem with the nVidia, you’d need the proprietary driver on Bullseye to have it working properly.
The testing (upcoming Bookworm) already contains the noveau driver based on the recently opensourced nVidia drivers… maybe… I guess… :slight_smile:

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Hello László,
In the past, NVIDIA cards gave me big headaches. When I installed Mint 21, I was happy to find NVIDIA support. In fact there was an object in the panel-bar system-tray that allows the user to switch between the built-in Intel video and the NVIDIA T1000 card, whenever is desired.

At How to Install NVIDIA Drivers on Linux Mint 21 LTS - LinuxCapable I found this:

If you use a Linux system for graphical design or gaming, you may want to install the official Nvidia drivers. While most modern Linux Desktop systems come with the Nouveau open-source graphics device driver for Nvidia video cards, this driver is not as fully featured as the official Nvidia driver. The official Nvidia driver provides better performance and more features, making it the better choice for demanding applications. Installing the driver is not difficult, but it does require a few steps.

I think I should install the next Debian Test (Bookworm?) in a newly created/formatted 500 GB partition on one of my FDDs with both / and /home on the same partition . . .as a ‘sandbox’ to gauge overall performance as well NVIDIA T1000, HP printers, plotter, and Bluetooth performance.