Finishing Windows installation and shrinking Windows

I started the HP and finished the Windows installation procedure there. After that deinstalled a couple of programs under Windows that I had found unecessary in order to reduce the size of the Windows installation:

  • McAffe Antivirus tools -> replaced by Microsoft’s Windows Defender
  • VPN Software

I launched the partitioning tool and reduced the Windows partition to 100G. Which freed about 700G for the Linux partition.

Making sure the laptopo boots from the USB stick

I restarted the HP machine went with “Escape” to the BIOS and made sure that the machine will boot from the USB Stick/“hard drive”.

Diversion: finding which kernel supports the NVMe system disk

In a first attempt I had booted from a Debian buster live stick only to find that the kernel would not recognize the NVMe SSD system disk.

So I changed to a terminal with CTRL-ALT-F2 and issued a lspci and went through the devices. All the devices were unknown to lspci so I looked them up in the PCI ID Repository.

The one device of interest was the:

9a0b  Volume Management Device NVMe RAID Controller

I went to Github and searched the linux kernel sources for the 9a0b PCI ID. It seems it was added in this commit, that first appeared in the kernel release v5.5-rc1.

I checked whether Debian has a 5.x linux kernel.

Then a kind person on the #debian IRC channel named Lyberta let me know that the Debian bullseye live images should have 5.10 kernels.

Creating a boot stick

Since at the time of writing the Debian “bullseye” release was not finalized yet, I downloaded a live boot image including non-free firmware from here

I took the “standard” image, because it’s the smallest.

I made myself a USB install stick by copying the iso image onto it:

dd bs=4M if=debian-live-10.9.0-amd64-standard+nonfree.iso of=/dev/sdX status=progress oflag=sync

where /dev/sdX is the device that lsblk shows you as being your USB stick. I did all of that on my old laptop.

Debian Installation

After booting into the stick I progressed with the text based installer. The only problem I encountered afterwards was the installer not succeeding at installing grub.

The problem and the workaround are described in this ticket.

Finally the installation succeeded and I have a working laptop with a functional desktop, touchscreen, audio and WiFi.

The overall status of the installation can be found here.