I installed Debian Squeeze (using the cd1 image) without an Ethernet cable plugged in, telling the installer to "configure later" the network.

Now, when I boot, I have no network manager nor ifconfig (if I type that command in a terminal it replies: command not found, except as root where I see a lo interface).

How should I enable the network?


First, get the list of recognized interfaces with an /sbin/ifconfig -a.

If you don't see any eth* interfaces, and you have an Ethernet adaptor installed, it wasn't detected. These days this is quite rare unless you have a card needing a firmware image to be loaded.

Assuming you find an eth0 interface, you want to issue an /sbin/ifconfig eth0 up to bring it up. Then a dhclient eth0 to get an IP via DHCP. If you want to set an IP address manually it's /sbin/ifconfig eth0 {ip address} netmask {net mask}; you'll also want to edit /etc/resolv.conf to point to your DNS servers (use and, which are Google's public DNS servers, if you are in a pinch.)

apt-get and all that should work now.

Next, type man interfaces which will explain how to edit /etc/network/interfaces and get Debian to do all this automatically for you at next reboot.

  • 1
    Also, ifconfig is /sbin/ifconfig which isn't in a user's PATH on Debian. You will need to call it with the full path as a user. – Benjamin Bannier Jul 21 '11 at 14:30
  • 1
    You forgot to remove the first sentence as well. – tshepang Jul 21 '11 at 17:41

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