Dell XPS12

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Dell XPS12 Linux installation

Prepare installation medium

The ultrabook is not equiped with CD/DVD ROM. You can use Flashdisk or network installation. This manual describes the instalation from Flashdisk.

WiFi network adapter requires a non-free firmware to be loaded. The easiest way is to download an installation image which contains non-free firmwares by default. This can be downloaded from

To copy the downloaded image to the flashdisc, please invoke this commands in Linux as root:

   cp ~/Downloaded/debian-7.2.0-amd64-netinst.iso /dev/sdX

How to shut down Windows 8

When Shut down is selected in Windows 8, the computer is just hibernated instead of shutted down. UEFI setup is inaccessible then.

If the ultrabook has Windows 8 preinstalled, follow those instructions to be able to enter UEFI setup:

  • Boot to the Windows
  • Shut down Windows 8 (not only hibernate as it does it automaticaly even when the shut down button is pressed)
    • Press WIN+C to invoke Charm panel
    • Select Shut down
    • Press and hold Shift and click on Restart
    • On the screen select Turn Off

UEFI Setup

Power on the computer and hold the F2 key to enter UEFI setup In Boot section:

  • Disable Windows 8 Fast Boot
  • Disable Secure Boot
  • Press F10 and Enter to save and exit setup

Install the Linux Debian Wheezy

  • Plug in your installation USB stick
  • Power on the computer and hold the F12 key to enter boot selection
  • Select the USB flashdisc
  • Boot the Debian installation program and install the OS.

By default, the stable version (Wheezy) is installed. In debian stable the touch screen is not working. An upgrade to at least testing version is advised.

Updating Wheezy to testing and unstable

To update the system copy and paste into your /etc/apt/sources.list file:

   deb testing main contrib non-free
   deb jessie-updates main contrib non-free
   deb jessie/updates main contrib non-free

and run

   sudo apt-get update
   sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

To update the system to unstable version copy and paste into your /etc/apt/sources.list file:

   deb unstable main contrib non-free
   deb Sid-updates main contrib non-free
   deb Sid/updates main contrib non-free

and run

   sudo apt-get update
   sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Fix of the backhlight bug

Do not be surprised when you reset the computer after the upgrade to testing or unstable. The computer boots into the black screen.

Press Fn+F5 several times to turn on the backlight and then you can login.

To resolve this issue add line In /etc/rc.local before exit 0:

   echo 50 > /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/brightness

Virtual keyboard selection

The tested and most usable virtual keyboard seems to be Florence. To install it run

  sudo apt-get install florence