Debian on Thinkpad X13s

As of October 11 2023, Debian Trixie can be installed on the Thinkpad X13s using the daily netinst image.

Overall status

Core Components


Boot Standard Kernel:


LAN network card:


Detect CD/DVD:


Detect hard drives:


Extra Features

CPU Frequency Scaling




Sleep / Suspend

/!\ (works, but drains battery in a day)



- OpenGL


- Resize-and-Rotate(randr)


Switch to External Screen



- Built-in (Trackpoint)


- Built-in (Touchpad)








Keyboard's Special Keys

/!\ (only sound and screen brightness keys work)




/!\ (works only over Bluetooth/USB - see: Post-Installation Fixes.Audio)

Legend :
{OK} = OK ; {X} Unsupported(No Driver) ; /!\ = Error (Couldn't get it working); [?] Unknown, Not Test ; [-] Not-applicable
{i} = Configuration Required; X-( = Only works with a non-free driver and or firmware


Prepare a USB stick for installation

Fetch the daily netinst build of Debian Installer and write it to a USB stick. sdX is used in all the examples on this page, replace X with the appropriate letter. You may have multiple sd device on your system, triple-check that you're writing to the right one and not to some other important drive.

$ wget
$ sudo dd if=debian-testing-arm64-netinst.iso of=/dev/sdX

Install Device Tree Blob on the EFI System Partition

This step can be performed either under Windows or from a EFI shell. Given that the next step needs Windows anyways, we're documenting the Windows option here.

Run a command prompt as administrator: StartcmdRun as administrator.

Run diskpart.exe, and list all available volumes:


Microsoft DiskPart version 10.0.22621.1

Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation.
On computer: DESKTOP-778FOAP

DISKPART> list volume

  Volume ###  Ltr  Label        Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info
  ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------  ---------  --------
  Volume 0     C   Windows      NTFS   Partition    465 GB  Healthy    Boot
  Volume 1         SYSTEM_DRV   FAT32  Partition    260 MB  Healthy    System
  Volume 2         WINRE_DRV    NTFS   Partition   2000 MB  Healthy    Hidden

Find the volume corresponding with the FAT32 System Partition, Volume 1 in the example above. Now select it and assign a letter.

DISKPART> select volume 1

Volume 1 is the selected volume.

DISKPART> assign

DiskPart successfully assigned the drive letter or mount point.

DISKPART> list volume

  Volume ###  Ltr  Label        Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info
  ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------  ---------  --------
  Volume 0     C   Windows      NTFS   Partition    465 GB  Healthy    Boot
* Volume 1     D   SYSTEM_DRV   FAT32  Partition    260 MB  Healthy    System
  Volume 2         WINRE_DRV    NTFS   Partition   2000 MB  Healthy    Hidden

As can be seen from the output above, in this case the letter assigned was D.

Now exit diskpart and download the Device Tree Blob for the X13s (right-click -> "Save link as" -> choose the "Downloads" folder)

copy the Device Tree file to the EFI System Partition. Replace d: with the letters you got assigned, if it differs.

copy Downloads\sc8280xp-lenovo-thinkpad-x13s.dtb d:\

Once Debian is installed, you are not going to need to repeat this procedure again. In case you ever need to update the DTB in the future, just copy the new version to /boot/efi/sc8280xp-lenovo-thinkpad-x13s.dtb and that's it.

Note Wi-Fi and Bluetooth mac addresses

This step is needed as currently the addresses have to be set manually under Debian.

Run a command prompt: Startcmd

Run ipconfig /all

Write down the Physical Address of Wireless LAN adapter Wi-Fi and Ethernet adapter Bluetooth Network Connection on a separate media or a sheet of paper, so they can be accessed after installation.

Upgrade system firmware

This step needs to be performed under Windows.

Recent versions of Lenovo's firmware include a setting called Linux Boot (Beta), which needs to be enabled in order to use Debian on the X13s.

Go to the Drivers & Software section of Lenovo's website and download the BIOS Update Utility. Run the program and update the bios.

Create Windows Recovery Drive (optional)

It is recommended to create a Windows recovery drive in case you need it in the future (for example to upgrade the firmware).

To so, follow the steps in this guide: Create a recovery drive.

Disable BitLocker or backup recovery key (optional)

If you plan to keep the current Windows installation, either disable BitLocker disk encryption or backup your recovery key, as disabling the Secure Boot in the next step will prevent you from booting the Windows without it.

BIOS configuration

Reboot, press F1 on system startup, go to: ConfigLinuxLinux Boot (Beta), switch it on. Then, go to SecuritySecure BootSecure Boot, switch this off.


Boot Debian Installer

On startup, press F12 and select booting from the USB.

At the boot prompt type e and replace quiet with arm64.nopauth.

The setting arm64.nopauth is needed to disable Pointer Authentication, a future BIOS update should allow us to run with Pointer Authentication.

By default console fonts are very small, to make life easier for your eyes you can also pass fbcon=font:TER16x32 to get bigger fonts but this is of course entirely optional.

Type CTRL+x to boot the installer.

Install Debian

Install Debian according to your preferences. Perhaps go for Manual partitioning and keep Windows around in case you ever need to update the firmware again.

When asked by the installer Force GRUB installation to the EFI removable media path make sure to say Yes.

Finally, when the system says Installation complete, move to the next step. Don't press continue.

Open the terminal

Open the terminal by running CTRL+ALT+F2 (you may need to use Fn key to use F-keys).

Add missing modules to the initramfs

Edit the /target/etc/initramfs-tools/modules file by running:

nano /target/etc/initramfs-tools/modules

Add the following lines to the end of the file:


Exit the editor by pressing Ctrl + x and press y to save changes.

Run the command below to update initramfs:

in-target update-initramfs -u -k all

Install additional packages

If you selected Debian Desktop Environment during installation (or you want to know how much battery is left) it is necessary to install additional packages. Otherwise system will boot into the black screen.

in-target apt install -y firmware-qcom-soc protection-domain-mapper qrtr-tools acpi

Finish the installation

Now go back to the main screen with CTRL+ALT+F1, choose Continue.

At the time of writing this Debian may not add itself to the boot options automatically. To fix that, on the first boot you will need to manually boot from the SSD.

Post installation fixes

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Currently, the Wi-Fi mac address fallbacks to the random one after each boot. Bluetooth doesn't and it will not work without a proper one. A possible workaround for this is to use udev rules.

Create /etc/udev/rules.d/99-fix_mac_addresses.rules file with the following content (sudo permissions are required). Replace XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX with the Physical Address of Wireless LAN adapter Wi-Fi read on Windows.

ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="net", KERNELS=="0006:01:00.0", \
  RUN+="/usr/sbin/ip link set dev wlP6p1s0 address XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX"
ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="bluetooth", ENV{DEVTYPE}=="host" \
  ENV{DEVPATH}=="*/serial[0-9]*/serial[0-9]*/bluetooth/hci[0-9]*", \
  TAG+="systemd", ENV{SYSTEMD_WANTS}="hci-btaddress@%k.service"

Create /lib/systemd/system/hci-btaddress@.service file with the following content (sudo permissions are required). Replace XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX with the Physical Address of Ethernet adapter Bluetooth Network Connection read on Windows.

Description=HCI bluetooth address fix

ExecStart=/bin/sh -c 'sleep 5 && yes | btmgmt -i %I public-addr XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX'

Run systemctl daemon-reload and reboot.

NOTE: If you hadn't noted the addresses before the installation, you will need to either manually generate valid mac addresses or (if you kept Windows) go back to the #Note_Wi-Fi_and_Bluetooth_mac_addresses section to get them.

Modem (applies to use with physical SIM card that needs to be inserted)


on Windows make sure you have the latest Lenovo Firmware Updates and remove the SIM PIN in Settings -> Network & internet -> Cellular -> Mobile operator settings -> Remove SIM PIN

FCC unlock procedure

identify Modems vendor and product ID

$ lspci -knn | grep -i 'Modem'
0004:01:00.0 Wireless controller [0d40]: Foxconn International, Inc. T99W175 5G Modem [Snapdragon X55] [105b:e0c3]
        Subsystem: Foxconn International, Inc. T99W175 5G Modem [Snapdragon X55] [105b:e0c3]

enable automatic FCC unlock (use the ID you retrieved in the previous step, caution some devices ship with 105b:e0ab make sure you have the right one)

$ sudo ln -sft /etc/ModemManager/fcc-unlock.d /usr/share/ModemManager/fcc-unlock.available.d/105b:e0c3

Connect to mobile broadband

Find your Providers APN Information (APN and your Provider Name in search engine should find you the required info)

In that case

Find modem index and connect

$ mmcli -L
$ mmcli -m 0 --simple-connect="apn=internet.telekom,user=telekom,password=tm"

caution don't confuse with SIM PIN

Delete redundant broadband connections in NetworkManager

$ nmcli con sh

$ nmcli con del 'Prepaid Contracts'

Any further management can be done from NetworkManager GUI

USB throughput and PCIe ASPM

To improve USB throughput and reduce PCIe power consumption add iommu.passthrough=0 iommu.strict=0 and pcie_aspm.policy=powersupersave to the kernel command line. To do it persitently add these to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT in /etc/default/grub file (sudo permissions are required), so it looks like this:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="iommu.passthrough=0 iommu.strict=0 pcie_aspm.policy=powersupersave quiet"

Run sudo update-grub and reboot for the changes to take effect. brightness control

To change the brightness under X11 one has to write the desired value to /sys/class/backlight/backlight/brightness manually. Wayland users are not affected.


The kernel of Debian Trixie (6.5) is not build so that module SND_SOC_WSA883X can be loaded. Therefore the speakers only work with a newer kernel; e.g. the 6.6 one from Debian sid (note that the sound may be quiet and also distorted for now).

The firmware-qcom-soc package is outdated at the time of this writing (January 2024), and it does not include the firmware file needed for audio to work. See Debian bug 1057040. While that's still open, you'll need to manually download audioreach-tplg.bin and move it to /lib/firmware/qcom/sc8280xp/LENOVO/21BX/audioreach-tplg.bin. Then create the following symlink:

$ sudo ln -s /lib/firmware/qcom/sc8280xp/LENOVO/21BX/audioreach-tplg.bin /lib/firmware/qcom/sc8280xp/SC8280XP-LENOVO-X13S-tplg.bin