How to install non-free drivers during Debian Installation

As you might know from my previous post, I am a new Debian user. This is the first (and only, actually) “problem” I encountered installing Debian.

The Problem

I was installing on an amd64 architecture, from a live install on a bootable usb. The install required a network connection and I was using my wireless when I saw this notice:

Detect network hardware

Some of your hardware needs non-free firmware files to operate. The firmware can be loaded from removable media, such as a USB stick or floppy.

The missing firmware are: iwlwifi-5000-2.ucode iwlwifi-5000-1.ucode

If you have such media available now, insert it, and continue.

This error describes that the wireless card cannot be installed because some of the drivers used to install it are non-free (which means non-open source), and not present in the installer in order to keep it open-source. This is because my card is an Intel of 5000-series. What to do in this situation? There are two solutions. I would reccomend the first (like many other users), but if you want to play with your installation, give the second option a try.

The Solution

I. Use ethernet instead! You will still need an internet connection to install your Debian system from a live bootable usb/cd, but it is recommended to use the cable during the installation. In this scenario, the wireless card will not be installed at first, but you will be able to install it later in an easier way, following the instructions: here. (ask in the comments if there are unclear steps)

II. You will need to load the firmware files thorugh a media (usb or floppy). You will need to find the required files from a non-free repository and then put it in your usb drive (FAT filesystems preferred) in the main directory or a directory called /firmware, as described here. You can do this by switching workspace on the very same computer on which you are installing Debian.

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