Debian & HP 14 Laptop

Debian 12 with Gnome on HP 14 Laptop. Wallpaper provided by extension Bing Wallpaper. Icons provided by icon theme WhiteSur.


I ran into an situation where I needed to wipe everything clean and start over on my HP 14 laptop. I could have done a clean re-install of Manjaro and called it a day but decided to give Debian a try. Running Debian would also mean returning to a familiar territory for me since I already had a lot of experience with Ubuntu, a distro based on Debian.

I went with Debian 12, aka bookworm, not sid (unstable rolling release) nor trixie (testing).


The only issue I encountered here was that the HP 14 laptop failed to recognize the EFI partition created by Debian installer as a proper boot partition so normal boot after installation would fail with the error message “boot drive not found”. The laptop did give me the option to select an EFI file to boot at this point but that solution was just too cumbersome for long term operation. The better solution here was copying file /boot/efi/EFI/debian/grubx64.efi to /boot/efi/EFI/Boot/bootx64.efi. The fix was so simple that I wondered why Debian installer did not handle it.

Post Installation

Here are a few things I took care of right after installation:

  • Add main user to sudo group
  • Update system
  • Install and enable firewall (ufw)
  • Add Mozilla repository and replace Firefox ESR with regular Firefox
  • Install Gnome Extensions Manager
  • Install and enable my favorite Gnome extensions (see below)
  • Install my favorite applications (VLC, GIMP, FileZilla, etc)

Gnome Desktop

I prefer Gnome desktop experience on Debian 12 over both Manjaro and Ubuntu. Everything just works. Both Manjaro and Ubuntu shipped modified Gnome and those changes would break certain things. Debian 12 does not have any of those issues as far as I can tell.

My favorite Gnome extensions are:

  • application menu
  • bing wallpaper
  • blur my shell
  • burn my windows
  • coverflow alt-tab
  • dash to dock
  • frippery move clock
  • grand theft focus
  • hide activities button
  • hue lights
  • removable drive menu
  • snowy
  • user themes
  • weather o’clock
  • workspace indicator

Gnome’s biggest strength is its extensions, pretty much all created by third-party developers. The fact that I have install that much extensions to get Gnome to provide a decent desktop experience also shows stock Gnome is very unpolished to say the least.

The only issue I encountered during day to day operation so far is some, not all, wake from sleep take a long time. The system shows the login screen but does not respond to any keyboard/mouse/touch-pad input for 15 to 30 seconds. The system never crashes though in this situation and it eventually become responsive again after some time. I do not think Gnome or Linux Kernel is the culprit here. Perhaps some hardware component in my HP laptop just takes longer to wake up on occasions and it is holding everything else back in the process.


Geekbench 6 scores in Debian 12 are not all that different from Manjaro.

Geekbench 6 CPU Score on Battery
Geekbench 6 CPU Score on AC power
Geekbench 6 GPU Score on Battery
Geekbench 6 GPU Score on AC Power

After Thoughts

This whole process has become a precursor to replacing Ubuntu with Debian on my home server. Ubuntu has done some “curious” things to its distro over the years but forcing Ubuntu Pro sign-up to receive security update for certain open-source software crosses the line. It only took me a few hours to get Debian 12 up and running on my laptop. I do not think I will need much more time to get Debian 12 up and running on my home server.

In the mean time, I will get some development tools up and running, like Docker and Python, to see how far I can go with Debian 12 on an inexpensive HP laptop.